BRegs Blog

A blog to debate the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BCAR): The BRegs Blog presents an opportunity for free expression of opinion on BCAR and their implementation. The blog is not representative of any professional body or organisation. Each post represents the personal opinion of that contributor and does not purport to represent the views of all contributors.

World Bank Rankings, Ireland & SI.9 – Look Back 1

by Bregs Blog admin team

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This is the first in a series “Look Back” Posts which will re-publish older papers and opinion pieces that are still relevant  to the  evolving situation post-implementation of BC(A)R SI.9. Some of our more recent followers and readers of the Breg blog and may have missed some previous posts of interest in our 500+ post archive.

In this first post we look again at Ireland and the World Bank Rankings.

The rankings are due to be updated in September 2014 and we wonder whether Ireland’s international ranking for “Dealing with construction permits” has improved from 115th place out of 189 countries surveyed.

The post below was first published on Breg blog on 9th January 2014.

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World Bank rankings & BC(A)R SI.9

World-Bank-Headquarters

The World Bank “Doing Business” Report 2014 was mentioned by Minister Richard Bruton in January of 2014 (Irish Times 5/01/14). The construction industry was specifically mentioned as one key area for improvement. Currently we rank 115th out of 189 countries in “Dealing with construction permits”. The UK ranks 27th. Based on the World Bank example of a 1300 SqM production/warehouse building, the cost of statutory permissions (planning and building control) in the UK are less than 15% the cost of our system here. A key cost of an integral component to our recovery, foreign direct investment and job creation (warehouse & manufacturing space) is over 5 times more expensive here than across the water.

The cost to obtain all relevant statutory permissions for this one building type in the UK is a little over €19,000 and takes much less time. This cost includes 100% independent building inspections by a licensed building inspector. The cost for a similar building in Ireland is over €130,000 (incl. planning levies) and takes considerably longer.

In 2012 the UK looked into improving their building control system, already frequently quoted in the World Bank report as being one of the better examples in the world. The “Communities and Local Government: Proposed changes to the building control system – Consultation stage impact assessment” (download and read here) produced in 2012, comprehensively examined several options to revise and change the UK building control system. Their existing system, unlike ours, already has comprehensive local authority independent inspections (with 80% of housing backed by warranty). Our own regulatory impact assessment was quite inadequate in comparison (see post ” Inadequate Regulatory assessment for SI.80″ here).

The UK report also examined the Irish 100% self-certification system as a option but discounted this due to considerable extra cost to the consumer and to the wider industry over their existing system of independent local authority (and licensed private) inspections.

Rather than improving efficiency and reducing costs, the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulation, SI9 may delay projects by up to 21 more days on completion, cost significantly more and give no added benefit to the consumer. (See previous posts on costs here). One wonders where our ranking will slide to by 2015.

UK- cost and time to get permits or warehouse: detailed breakdown

IRELAND- cost and time to get permits or warehouse: detailed breakdown

The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 9th January 2014. 

 

Other posts of interest:

BREGS Blog Archive 4- FEBRUARY 2014

BREGS Blog Archive 3- JANUARY 2014

BREGS Blog Archive 2- DECEMBER 2013

BREGS Blog Archive 1- NOVEMBER 2013

 

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Framework for Building Control Authorities – Version 1: July 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The BRegs Blog received a copy of a document ‘Framework for Building Control Authorities’ that was circulated earlier this month by one of the professional bodies involved with S.I. 9 to its members. The document appears to have been prepared by the County and City Management Association (CCMA). The  CCMA is the “representative voice” of the local government management network. Its  members are Chief Executives of the County and City Councils and the Assistant Chief Executives of Dublin City Council .  It is a non-statutory body that works to ensure that the influence of local authority Chief Executives is brought to bear on the development and implementation of relevant policy.

The document had been scheduled for issue in September 2014 (Q3). It is described as Version 1 and has not yet been uploaded onto the CCMA or Department of the Environment’s websites so the BRegs Blog is unsure of its official status and whether it is a draft document being circulated for comment. However it may be of interest to anyone involved with the Building Control Regulations as to how the CCMA is thinking about the issues. The BRegs Blog Admin. Team would welcome any comments our readers may have on this document (Link:)

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FRAMEWORK FOR BUILDING CONTROL AUTHORITIES – VERSION 1.0 JULY 2014

The purpose of the Framework is to provide guidance for Building Control Authorities (BCAs) with respect to undertaking their functions under the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2007 and the Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2014. In particular, the framework provides guidance in respect to:

(a) standardisation and co-ordination nationally;

(b) processing and validation of commencement notices and associated documentation;

(c) inspections and assessments during construction;

(d) processing and validation of completion certificates and associated documentation;

(e) Fire Safety Certificates; and

(f) Disability Access Certificates

Beyond their statutory function under the Building Control Acts, BCAs are also the designated enforcement authorities for the purposes of ensuring compliance with other legislation as follows:

  • Marketing of Construction Products in line with EU (Construction Product) Regulations 2013 (SI No. 225 of 2013); Appendix I
  • Building Energy Rating Certificates for buildings in line with the EU (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2012 (SI No. 243 of 2012); Appendix II
  • Registration of multi-storey buildings for the purposes of the Local Government (Multistorey Buildings) Act 1988

PDF version: Framework for Building Control Authorities July 2014

Other posts of interest:

ALERT: Cork CoCo guide to BC(A)R SI.9

A scenario that would leave thousands of homes ruined | Irish Examiner

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following letter to the editor by Lester Naughton MRIAI was published in the Irish Examiner on Wednesday 20th August 2014. Link to original letter here:

Extract:

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A scenario that would leave thousands of homes ruined | Irish Examiner

“New housing starts at zero and unemployment up 100,000”. This is the headline that your paper may well be printing in the future and I will explain why with a story.

Mary and Paraic are celebrating outside the High Court popping champagne. The judge has just found against the architect who certified their new house. At first, they thought pyrite was causing the structural problems and the architect thought he would not be found liable as he had demanded certificates confirming the absence of pyrite. However it turned out the problem was the steel reinforcing bars used in the concrete. The architect hadn’t thought of seeking certification from the supplier and the judge found the architect had certified the building and was therefore responsible. Mary and Paraic are paid out by the architects’ insurers.

In such a scenario, if such problems turned out to be widespread and thousands of houses are ruined, people will take their cases to the courts and will receive similar judgments. But due to the judgments, it will prove impossible for professionals to renew their insurance. Many professionals will be bankrupted and many homeowners will receive little or no compensation.

Sir I doubt you will find a single architect or lawyer who will not agree this is a plausible scenario. You will only perhaps find disagreement as to its likelihood. Our legislators have let us all down once again.

Lester Naughton BArch MRIAI
Drimmavouhaun
Moycullen
Co Galway