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.

Month: September, 2014

RIAI AGM | Full Report “On Hold”

by Bregs Blog admin team

on-hold

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland held their Annual General Meeting (AGM) in the Alexander Hotel last night (29th September 2014). By all accounts it was a well attended (80+) and lively event.

The BRegs Blog Admin. Team have received a great deal of feedback on the AGM that lasted three hours. However much of this seems to be of a contentious nature.  The BRegs Blog Team have decided to seek legal advice before publishing its  scheduled report of the proceedings.

We hope to be in a position to post a full account on the proceedings  later this week.

BRegs Blog Admin Team

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The Ghost estate problem and BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The difficulties that Local Authorities have in getting developers to complete estates or in getting their hands on the money to do the work (where a bond was in place) are repeated all around the country. This article from The Irish Examiner on Monday 16th June highlights the plight of residents but also the powerlessness of the Local Authorities who have all of the responsibilities and very limited funds. (Link to article here).

Minister Alan Kelly- ” I also wish to state that NAMA has made available virtually all of its housing stock to local authorities for social housing. However, not all of it was deemed suitable.” See Dáil exchange here.

The issue of the quality of construction standards is also often raised. Gradually, the Government is coming to grips with dealing with the absolutely dreadful legacies of unfinished estates and poorly built, substandard homes and buildings, with examples being the progress being made under the Priory Hall resolution framework and by the Pyrite Resolution Board, not to mention the resolution of a significant number of unfinished estates, in which very significant progress has been made.

See numbers here.

There is nothing in the new building regulations to ensure that this does not happen again. As we can see the Local Authority can’t do much about these estates without expensive legal action, which can take years to resolve. Under S.I.9 the Local Authorities may have a list of names but without taking legal action against someone,  who can pay out for the problem, they will be no better off.

Extract off article:

_____________

Special report: Nationwide look shows slow progress on ghost estates

By Eoin English, Conor Kane, Donal Hickey, Gordon Deegan and Jimmy Woulfe

Visits to ghost estates last year revealed nightmare conditions for home owners. One year on, work is finally beginning to make residents’ lives much better, though others are still stuck in limbo.

Ballinagree, Co Cork
By Eoin English

A GOVERNMENT TD who has been trying to resolve problems in one of Ireland’s worst ghost estates has called for an overhaul of the planning process.

“We must learn lessons from this situation,” Fine Gael’s Michael Creed said.

“We should look at the priority of planning conditions when it comes to the construction of estates. I would suggest we should make it a condition of planning that developers put in roads, footpaths, sewers, pipes, public lighting and public green areas first, then lodge a bond, before any house building takes place.”

This would ensure that when houses are being sold, the basic infrastructure would already be in place, he said.

It would also ensure that if development companies collapse, the state and local authorities wouldn’t have to foot the bill to bring unfinished estates up to standard, he added.

Mr Creed was speaking as work finally begins to end the six-year nightmare for the residents of Carrigrua Estate, near Ballinagree in Co Cork.

The Government has sanctioned a €160,000 grant to help fund remedial works in the unfinished estate near Macroom. Some minor health and safety works have been undertaken in recent weeks.

But residents’ spokesman, Michael Cummins, said it is vital that the momentum which has built in recent weeks continues, to ensure that the major work is done, bringing this sorry tale to an end.

“They put a lip of tarmacadam around the manholes to stop them damaging the suspension on our cars,” he said.

“They also gave us a lip of tar up to the driveways of the occupied houses, and they cleared the overgrown area. But we’re still waiting for the clearance of overgrowth in the large green area, and for street lights.

“While we’ve seen some action on the ground, negotiations are ongoing on an overall site resolution plan for the estate.

“So while we wait for that, we’re still effectively in no man’s land. We’re just hoping and waiting to see when they’ll do the major stuff.”

The 22-house estate was developed from 2008 on by Old Friary Developments. Of the six houses bought initially at the height of the boom, four are privately owned by owner occupiers.

The ownership of four more is understood to be linked to individuals associated with the development company.

Cork County Council bought four of the houses, but withheld the payment of up to €70,000 pending completion of the estate.

But the development company collapsed during the crash and the estate was left unfinished, with the remaining eight houses left unoccupied.

The collapse of the firm triggered a litany of serious issues with the unfinished estate.

The street lights were stolen about three years ago. The unoccupied properties were burgled for copper piping.

Earlier this year, the residents commissioned chartered engineer, Kevin McDonnell, to conduct a preliminary engineering report on the estate.

He found a litany of chronic structural issues with the unoccupied houses, including subsidence and cracked gables — and deemed the houses unviable and said they should be demolished.

Some cold water storage tanks collapsed the underlying bearing joists, which suggested that inadequate floor joists were used.

External plaster-work was found to be “wholly under specification or that pyrite was present, or a combination of both exists”.

He found trip hazards from elevated manholes, trip hazards at all driveway entrances, open excavations, exposed live electrical wiring, electricity pole support-stays bolted directly to the centre of footpaths, unprotected electricity transformer stations, no street lighting, vermin infestation, and retaining walls at risk of collapse.

He also found incorrect and faulty wiring on the electrical installation and heating systems, a 225mm diameter foul sewer not working correctly, and driveways built at too steep an incline.

A receiver has been appointed to work with AIB to resolve the issues.

It is hoped that through negotiation, the estate will be brought up to a standard that would allow the county council take it in charge.

Mr Creed, who has been working to resolve issues in the Carrigrua Estate for some time, and who is working to resolve similar issues in another ghost estate in Tarelton said no two ghost estates present with the same difficulties.

“The challenge is to find a way through in each case and prepare a site resolution plan. It has taken time in these two cases, but we are no getting there,” he said.

A vast dump in the centre of one of Cork city’s worst ghost estates, the Meadows in Hollyhill, which was highlighted by the Irish Examiner last year, has been cleared.

But residents said while there has been some progress, it has been painfully slow, and a lot more needs to be done.

Cashel, Co Tipperary

‘Can’t fault houses but place is an eyesore’
By Conor Kane

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Part of the unfinished estate, at Longfield Park, Boherlahan, Co Tipperary. Just seven of the houses are occupied. Picture: Denis Minihane

LONGFIELD Park in Boherlahan is a fine example of 40 or so well-built houses, nicely designed and placed in a peaceful village setting.

However, only seven of those homes are occupied.

Last year, the few residents there are in this picturesque corner of western Tipperary, a few kilometres from the heritage town of Cashel, were angry about the prospect of having to pay the Government’s new household charge when they’ve been left in a development of mostly empty houses, replete with rubble, unfinished roads, and without street lighting.

“A year on, nothing has changed, except that the initial property tax of €100 was waived,” says Marcella Kennedy who moved into a lovely three-bedroomed home in Longfield Park back in 2009.

“Going forward, we have to pay every other tax.”

Along with the 40-odd houses which were constructed in this estate by a builder who has since died, there are four sets of foundations laid which are unlikely to ever see a concrete block.

Four of the houses here are owner-occupied while another three are rented but with so few tenants in all, they don’t have sufficient people to form a decent residents’ association to try and improve things themselves and club together to pay for some services.

“We haven’t even got the grass cut. There’s not enough of us to form a committee or anything.”

According to Marcella, those few like she and her husband Seán who bought houses in 2009 were assured there was a bond in place from the development company responsible for Longfield Park.

However, there’s been no sign of that bond being released by the council to allow some completion work to be carried out. The houses consist of three-bedroom semi-detached, three-bedroom semi-detached with sunroom, and four-bedroom detached properties.

“We moved in five years ago and it’s the same now as it was when we moved in. The same amount of houses. The work had just stopped.”

Like many in similar unfinished estates around the country, where site works stopped in late 2008 or sometime in 2009 following the collapse of the economy, the residents here have been in limbo ever since.

“Until it’s handed over to the council, they can’t work on it and as far as we know the property company haven’t handed it over.”

She says that, with the development basically being allowed go to seed since 2009, “it’s got to the stage where it’s dangerous” by now.

“I don’t have children, but if I did I couldn’t leave them out. There’s rubble, concrete blocks, rocks, the grass is overgrown. They don’t even know where they’re walking. It’s very dark at night. It’s OK now in the summer but in winter, you could be coming home at five o’clock in the evening and it’s totally dark because we don’t have street lighting. I can’t fault the building of the houses themselves, it’s fantastic, but the place is an eyesore.”

Lismore, Co Waterford

False dawns, broken promises and potholes
By Conor Kane

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Looking at an unfinished part of The Mills, Lismore, are residents, from left, Ray Murphy, Anna Kunert and Kevin Landers. Picture: Denis Minihane

THE flurry of excitement and joy when residents moved into The Mills in Lismore, Co Waterford, in the latter years of the Noughties turned to a near-nightmare in the subsequent months — and now, in mid-2014, dashed hopes and broken promises are all they have to show for plans to complete their development.

A year ago, residents spoke of their despair at the dangers of their unfinished estate as a result of uneven roads, rubble, the possibility of vermin, antisocial behaviour and even fires started at empty houses.

In the meantime, there’s been little more than a “false dawn”, according to Ray Murphy who has lived at The Mills, just a few minutes walk from the centre of the famously attractive town of Lismore, for four and a half years. “I came in at the top end of the market, like everybody else, and was screwed. Screwed a number of times.”

A tender was put out by Waterford County Council to finish the estate but, as far as the residents could see, little if anything resulted from that process and they’re still no better than they were a year ago.

“Apparently there’s a bit of movement now with the properties, they think. Nama are considering this as an asset so they’re going to try and finish the estate. That’s what we hear. But things haven’t changed on-site since last year. We purchased a ride-on lawnmower to keep the place tidy — that’s about it.”

About 30 of the estate’s 40-odd houses are occupied and the residents’ association is “pretty good”, but there’s only so much they can do.

Because there is space in the middle of the development which was originally earmarked for houses, but has remained empty, the residents are likely to end up with a bigger green area than they ever expected.

An unexpected bonus, perhaps, if things ever get moving again.

“It’s going to be massive. It’s never going to be built on. There’s two houses down the back of the estate and they’re going to be finished. At least they think they’re going to be finished. But after that, the whole thing is going to be a big green area. Maybe we can have the grassy area and set up a little bit of a park on it?”

For now, however, the residents consider The Mills to be in “lethal” condition, Ray says. “It’s still dangerous. There’s potholes there and young kids going around on bikes. I’m surprised one of the kids hasn’t come off a bike yet… The main problems are the road surface, the potholes, craters all over the place [and] there’s a possibility of vermin and rodents in and around the unfinished areas because there’s a big waste area.” All it needs to turn The Mills into a completed development is “a bit of a kick”, according to Ray Murphy but while there’s been much talk lately about the council or Nama making a move after more than four years of waiting, nobody is holding their breath.

“We’ve heard it before.”

Call to ‘get tough’ to finish Kerry estates
By Donal Hickey

GhostEstateRadharcNahEaglasieArdfert_large

A LARGE amount of work still remains to be done in unfinished estates throughout Kerry, where more than 50 such locations were listed, in 2013.

While there have been calls for “tough and firm action” in relation to completing work on estates, Kerry County Council says getting money released from bonds lodged by developers now in liquidation is a slow and difficult process.

Forty bonds have been paid up and all estates have been surveyed on more than one occasion by the council’s estates unit.

“We know what needs to be done, but in some cases getting money from financial institutions can be painstaking and incremental at times,” said council spokesman Padraig Corkery.

Clearing up the mess left behind by developers involves, primarily, work to make estates safe and includes road repairs and surfacing, footpaths, drains and sewers, public lighting and general tidying up. Sewage treatment plants have to be provided, or replaced, in some cases.

The distressed estates can be found in towns and villages and, sometimes, in rural areas. The council hopes to have a lot of the work carried out by the end of this year.

At the height of the boom, people paid up to €230,000 for semi-detached houses in these estates, but some of these houses have been resold for a fraction of that price due to the condition of the estates.

One of the stand-out eyesores is just outside Castlemaine, on the main tourist route from Killarney to Dingle, and 14 houses there were sold at an auction of distressed property in Dublin, in 2012, for €235,000.

The property is on a 1.22 hectare site at Annagh Banks, Castlemaine, and planning permission had been previously granted for a 12-bedroom hotel, apartments and a restaurant on the site.

Ongoing problems in the Killarney area are being highlighted by county councillors in response to complaints from residents frustrated with the lack of progress.

Estates in the Castleisland, Kilcummin and Firies areas are being singled out, amid concerns about inadequate sewers and sewage treatment systems, especially, and delays in getting work finished to the standards required under planning conditions.

The small village of Firies, in the heart of the county, saw huge housing development during the boom, but local services are inadequate to meet the demands of the resultant population increase, according to local councillor Brendan Cronin. “I’m looking for tough and firm action by the council to resolve these matters,” he said.

He is dissatisfied with a €185,000 offer to the council to complete work at Greenfields, in Firies, which, he pointed out, was considerably less than €300,000 bond lodged by the developer.

The council is involved in protracted negotiations with banks, receivers and Nama in relation to several estates.

Residents vow not to give up the battle
By Donal Hickey

SINKING FEELING: The council has undertaken work at Radharc na hEaglaise, Ardfert, Co Kerry, but residents are “finding it difficult to make further progress”. Picture: Domnick Walsh

RESIDENTS of an unfinished housing estate near Tralee, Co Kerry, have vowed to continue their seven-year battle with a local authority to have works completed.

Though Kerry County Council maintains it has carried out “significant works”, including the replacement of a sewage treatment unit and pumping station, the residents of Radharc na hEaglaise in Ardfert are not fully satisfied.

Conditions at the neatly planned, seven-house estate, 1km outside Ardfert village, were highlighted in the Irish Examiner a year ago and, since then, the council has done work to resolve storm water drainage and finished the access road to a high standard.

The estate, made up of detached houses on spacious sites, looks much better, but is still without public lighting — though poles have been erected — and residents also want a proper boundary fence. The stone-faced houses were purchased for prices ranging from €350,000 to €430,000 during the boom, but are now worth substantially less.

Residents’ Association chairman Aidan Walsh said they were happy with work on the access road. From their point of view, there should be no obstacles to completing work and they had signed over the estate to the council.

“But, we’re finding it very difficult to make further progress with the council. We regard public lighting as a security and a health-and-safety issue. We’re left in pitch darkness at night and it’s terrible during the winter months,” he added. “We were told some time ago that whatever money was left after work on the road and drains was done would go towards lighting and the boundary fence, which was never put in properly.

“An old drain which poses a danger to children also needs to be filled in.”

Mr Walsh, who said they were now “totally frustrated” in their efforts to maintain contact with the council and were finding it difficult to reach officials, commended local Ardfert councillor Toireasa Ferris for her ongoing efforts on their behalf.

According to the council, the developer left significant works outstanding in Radharc na hEaglaise, including the sewer network and sewage treatment unit.

After long negotiations with a financial institution, the bond was finally released and significant works carried out, which included replacement of the treatment unit and pumping station.

“This has now resolved a very significant health issue,” said a spokesman.

He said the process had been extremely slow, with the council’s housing estates unit pressurising AIB over a number of years to try and release the bond to allow the council bring the estate up to an acceptable standard for the residents.

“In some instances financial institutions have been exploring the possibility of carrying out the works themselves, but this did not happen in this case,” he said.

Crucially, the issue of public lighting does not apply as the estate is in a rural area, he went on.

As it was the council’s policy not to install public lighting in rural, cluster estates such as Radharc na hEaglaise, the council was not in a position to maintain public lighting in such rural estates.

The spokesman also said that, in relation to the fencing, what remained of the bond after carrying out the significant works already mentioned would not allow for new boundary fencing.

Killaloe, Co Clare

‘We’re hoping to move in next September’
By Gordon Deegan

RESIDENTS of one former Co Clare ghost estate are looking forward to moving into their homes in September.

Michele Burke and William Buck, along with the owners of two other homes at the Ard na Deirge estate in Killaloe, have endured an eight-year-long nightmare that prevented them from moving into their homes.

The builder constructing the estate went into receivership. AIB took possession of the estate through the receiver, but with no electricity, water services nor street lighting, the residents were unable to move in.

However, after Limerick building firm, Cherryfox Developments purchased the homes from the receiver for a knock-down price earlier this year, services to the houses are now being connected.

“We never wanted to live in a ghost estate. At the moment with the work done by the developer, John Walsh, the estate is looking amazing,” said Ms Burke.

She revealed that all of the built homes that were recently put up for sale in the estate have sold.

“The 14 were sold in a week-and-a-half, so we are delighted that we are going to have lots of neighbours and there is a very good mix of people as well.”

Ms Burke said the homes sold rapidly “because the developer wasn’t greedy”.

She said that the three-bed semi-detached sold for €145,000 with the four-bed detached selling for €160,000.

“Work is ahead of schedule so we are looking to move into our home in September and the rest of the residents will be able to move in a month later.”

She said Clare County Council had played a very prominent role in resolving issues around the bond that has allowed Cherryfox Developments complete the estate.

The couple had been in a legal limbo concerning the home they purchased in September 2006 when both were aged 27.

However, in spite of being unable to move into their home, the couple had to maintain mortgage repayments and Ms Burke confirmed that since 2007, they have spent €273,000 on their mortgage, along with €46,000 on renting a nearby apartment. Ms Burke said they have paid €1,400 per month between mortgage payments and rent all that time giving a total spend of €319,000.

“The whole thing has been horrendous, but it has made us very tough and very strong and it has also made our marriage stronger. Also, the support from the community has made our lives much more positive.

In April of last year, 80 supporters joined residents at the site to protest at their plight where the protesters heard Ms Burke say that “we have been to hell and back” over the home.

Kilfinane, Co Limerick

This troublesome ghost has been banished
By Jimmy Wolfe

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Coming up roses: All is well on the Glenduff Estate in Kilfinane, Co Limerick, with outstanding issues resolved and residents undertaking work themselves.Picture: Kieran Clancy

THE ghost which lurked over the Glenduff estate in Kilfinane, Co Limerick, has been banished. Tony Clancy, one of the residents, says he and his wife were lucky in that they bought their detached house for €200,000 in 2009.

“It was priced at €360,000 when it was built,” he says.

But they were left with unfinished roads and footpaths.

A year on, all has changed and for the better.

“We have gone from the Third World to the First World. Everything has been sorted out. We have got a new road in the estate, the footpaths have been repaired, and all four houses in the estate are occupied.”

Problems in the estate, he says, mainly centred on the roadway which was not properly laid. “It was in the same rough condition as when the estate was being built. The footpaths were not fully finished.”

Tony says the residents took steps to improve the place. “Myself and neighbours did our own work to clean up the place. We also cut the grass and this was the best we could do and put an effort to keep the place.”

Local postman Peter O’Sullivan was the first resident to move into the estate in 2008. “Two of my children are very young and I couldn’t allow them out because there was rubble. We tried to maintain the road ourselves with a load of gravel we bought,” he says.

But now the estate has been sorted out and residents are happy that outstanding issues have been resolved.

Residents confident dialogue will yield results
By Jimmy Woulfe

WHILE things have not changed very much in the Cluain Dara estate on Limerick’s Ennis Rd, residents are confident that ongoing dialogue with Limerick City and County Council will yield results.

The estate has a temporary sewerage system, although the homeowners were guaranteed a full gravity-fed arrangement was contained in planning permission. All houses have been completed.

The residents are hoping the council will take the estate in charge and resolve issues such as inadequate public lighting and poor fencing of an open area which adjoins a main road, and where children play.

A builder’s bond has been handed over to the council and discussions are ongoing about how much work can be done with this insurance cover.

Pat O’Neill, who works in the engineering department at Analog in Raheen Industrial Estate, bought a detached house in Cluain Dara six years ago for almost €500,000. Continuing efforts to replace the temporary sewerage system have failed and he says it is now unlikely they will get the system specified in the planning. Mr O’Neill said the relocation of the sewage pump house to a more secluded location would be of great help and he is confident that things are moving in the right direction.

“The council have been very positive in their dealings with us and have been very forthcoming with information as to where things stand. I understand they are in talks with the insurers on the bond and how much work can be done with this.

“Over the past year things have moved on and dealing with the council is not like dragging teeth. They are very open and we are keeping pushing. If the estate was taken in charge we have a list on sewerage, signage, lighting, and proper fencing of an open area.”

Mr O’Neill said they are not very confident that they will get the sewerage system as set out in planning, but if the estate is taken in charge they will have an agency, the council, to turn to.

“We need clarity on who to go to if a problem arises and things have moved on due to the better communication between the residents and the council.

“Things have slowed down, and we need to keep pushing, but we are very encouraged by the approach of the officials we have been dealing with. Things are moving in the right direction in getting the estate taken in charge by the council and we expect to get results.”

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

RIAI News Alert | AGM Reminder

by Bregs Blog admin team

In case any architect readers missed it there is an RIAI EGM this evening at 6pm in the Alexander Hotel in Dublin 2

BRegs Blog

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The 175th Annual General Meeting of the RIAI takes place

on Monday 29th September 2014

at 6 p.m.

in the Alexander Hotel, Fenian Street, Dublin 2.

A larger than usual crowd for an RIAI AGM is expected following the recent Extraordinary General Meeting and the subsequent discussions between the RIAI CEO and President with the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D.

RIAI members are likely to seek clarification on how the meeting went with the Minister regarding the problems that most RIAI members are experiencing with S.I. 9 legislation.

The BRegs Blog have also been requested to point out that the Irish Architects Benevolent Society will be having its AGM at the same venue at 5 p.m.

Posts of interest to attendees:

RIAI meet Minister Alan Kelly | “mind the gap” 

A Profession Divided? Reflections on an RIAI EGM 

‘All Ireland’ | BC(A)R Boycott

Opinion: “the architectural profession is…

View original post 64 more words

SI.9 to Cost €168m in 2014 | Non-Residential Sector

by Bregs Blog admin team

burning-money2-300x199

SI.9 to Cost €168m in 2014 |  Non-Residential Sector

Based on current information for non-residential projects,  SI.9 could cost the economy €168m per annum. To put it another way thats a 9.7% surcharge on every shop, warehouse, office, production facility completed, school, hospital bed for which the consumer has no tangible benefit.

Towards the end of February 2014 we did an overview of the possible cost of SI.9. In a recent post we tabled a revised cost estimate of €532m per annum for residential projects. We have drawn on recent information from the industry, current market rates for construction and the additional workload estimated by construction professional bodies and specialists. Given recent input regarding implementation the following costs excludes the minority non qualifying works in accordance with Building Control Management System (BCMS) data to date. Information suggest most small non-residential projects qualify under SI.9.

SI.9 ANNUAL COST FOR PRIVATE NON-RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS (€606m qualifying)

  • Increased costs for private non-residential (€606m @ 7%)=   €42.4m
  • Cost to private non-residential- delays(€606m @ 4%) *=         €24m
  • SUBTOTAL  PRIVATE NON RESIDENTIAL =                      €66.4m

SI.9 ANNUAL COST FOR SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS (€753m qualifying)

  • Increased costs for social infrastructure (€753m @ 7%)=         €52.7m
  • Cost to social infrastructure projects- delays (€753m @ 2%)=  €15m
  • SUBTOTAL  SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE=                            €67.7m

Previously we completely discounted qualifying buidings and structures that come under SI.9 associated with Infrastructure.

SI.9 ANNUAL COST FOR PRODUCTIVE INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS (€374m qualifying)

  • Increased costs for productive infrastructure (€374m @ 7%)=  €26.2m
  • Cost to productive infrastructure- delays (€374m @ 2%)=        €7.5m
  • SUBTOTAL  PRODUCTIVE INFRASTRUCTURE                    €33.7m

The above figures, when added to the costs to residential, suggest a cost to the economy every year of €700m for SI.9. Do the benefits of SI.9 outweigh the costs?

_________

Assumptions in compiling the above figures:

  • Commencement figures verified with the Building Control Management System (BCMS) to date indicate completions will be at best similar to 2012 (optimistic)- this is dependent on current levels improving significantly.
  • Figures are based on 2012 construction outputs from Forfas report (table 2.12 (p16) Value and volume of construction output, 2012-2012E; Source: DKM Economic Consultants analysis for Forfás, 2012). See link below.
  • We have discounted non-residential and social infrastructure sector outputs by 10% (we assume €1.359bn qualifies under SI.9 ) to take into account minor works that are exempt from SI.9 as registered on the BCMS to date.
  • We have not factored in any projects abandoned and postponed  due to SI.9, or capital budgets not spent. This will have a significant impact.
  • A minimum 3 week delay is assumed on all projects due to increased administration and paperwork, lack of Local Authority resources, invalidations at completion and commencement etc. Delays for non residential projects have further turnover/ trading costs for SME’s, offices, manufacturing etc. in addition to 3-5 week delay noted above and we have factored in 4% for this figure.
  • We have excluded extra costs for all sub-certifier roles, ancillary certifiers and sub-contractors, other insurance costs etc.
  • SI.9 cost: Professional sources indicate 2-3% for certifier roles (DC, AC, Ancillary Certifiers), 3-5% for defensive specifications; total average increase of 7% on capital cost.
  • Non residential projects comprise Industry (324m), commercial (207m), agricultural (90m), tourism (31m), worship (21m); subtotal is 673m. We are discounting output by 10% to exclude minor works where SI.9 does not apply along with simple repair and maintenance works to give €606m as qualifying under SI.9.
  • Social infrastructure includes education (€492m), health (€266m), public buildings (€79m), other social (€63m), totaling €900m. For this exercise we have excluded other social (assumed exempt public sector projects) and reducing the net total by 10% to allow for projects exempt from SI.9, and simple repairs and maintenance work. This gives €753m which qualifies under SI.9.
  • Productive infrastructure is all qualifying new buildings associated with this sector: roads, water services, airports/seaports, energy, transport, communications. In line with total new-build costs in the Forfas report we have discounted this heavily down from a total spend of €2.878bn to €415m. This figure is further discounted to assume 10% projects do not come under SI.9 giving a qualifying total of €374m. This number when added to previous figures corresponds to a cumulative total of €4.3bn quoted in the Forfas report for total new build output excl R&M construction.
  • The above estimates are non-exhaustive and are based on a number of assumptions. As more exact figures become available we will refine costs further.

Link to Forfas report here:

Extract off Forfas report table 2.12 p 16

forfas report table 2.12 p16

RIAI AGM – Topics of Interest

by Bregs Blog admin team

weekly-review

RIAI AGM – topics of interest

As background information to the RIAI AGM to be held in the Alexander Hotel at 6 p.m. this evening, Monday 29th September,  we have assembled a summary of issues and posts relating to recent policy, opinions, RIAI council members posts and issues associated with an earlier EGM held on 12th August 2014. These will give readers, unfamiliar with the issues, a good introduction to what is currently being discussed by members of the architectural profession. The RIAI appears to be the only stakeholder representative body discussing and debating whether the new regulation is of benefit to the consumer and industry.

The posts below include:

  • A post on a recent meeting between new Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D. and the RIAI- this gives a clear insight as to how the profession is being represented at senior government level.
  • A series of opinion pieces and reflections by architects and architectural technologists regarding the recent RIAI EGM and building control issues.
  • List of opinion pieces and posts received from current RIAI Council members.
  • An account of messages to RIAI members from the EGM signatories regarding timing etc. We note there was some discussion between members as to the timing of the event during the holiday period.
  • An account compiled from a number of attendees at the EGM that give a general impression of the discussion.
  • Posts of some of the topical issues occupying the minds of architect readers in the run up to the AGM. These include the current collapse in commencement notices post implementation, costs of SI.9 for a typical house, an estimate of the cost of S.I.9 to the residential sector, and finally a discussion on the cost of an alternative system of independent local authority inspections.

If you are Tweeting from tonight’s AGM please use the hashtag #RIAItalk

Current RIAI BC(A)R Policy:

Conclusion and thoughts – post EGM reflections:

Current RIAI Council Members’ Posts:

Open letters and background posts, note from signatories:

Topical issues:

RIAI News Alert | AGM Reminder

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The 175th Annual General Meeting of the RIAI takes place

on Monday 29th September 2014

at 6 p.m.

in the Alexander Hotel, Fenian Street, Dublin 2.

A larger than usual crowd for an RIAI AGM is expected following the recent Extraordinary General Meeting and the subsequent discussions between the RIAI CEO and President with the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D.

RIAI members are likely to seek clarification on how the meeting went with the Minister regarding the problems that most RIAI members are experiencing with S.I. 9 legislation.

The BRegs Blog have also been requested to point out that the Irish Architects Benevolent Society will be having its AGM at the same venue at 5 p.m.

Posts of interest to attendees:

RIAI meet Minister Alan Kelly | “mind the gap” 

A Profession Divided? Reflections on an RIAI EGM 

‘All Ireland’ | BC(A)R Boycott

Opinion: “the architectural profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9″

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus 

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

S.I. 9 and Insurance Claims: Deirdre Lennon MRIAI

S.I. 9 and Construction Products: Orla Hegarty MRIAI RIBA

Vivian Cummins MRIAI: Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

Shrapnel and Spin – Caomhán Murphy MRIAI

Eoin O’Cofaigh: missed opportunity? BC(A)R SI.9

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

Dáil questions: Mica in Donegal – 17 September 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

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In the following Dáil exchange the ongoing plight of home-owners affected by Mica in Co. Donegal is put to the new Minister for the Environment,  Alan Kelly T.D. The Minister is asked if he has met with the Donegal Mica Action group and if he would consider establishing a scheme for affected consumers affected by defective materials similar to the Pyrite Resolution scheme already in operation. The Minister states that he does not intend to amend the Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 or extend the Pyrite Resolution Board powers to investigate the alleged use of defective blocks in the construction of the houses in Co. Donegal.

He suggests that “In general, building defects are matters for resolution between the relevant contracting parties…and in the event that the parties cannot reach a settlement by negotiation the option of seeking redress in the Courts can be considered. It may also be the case that some of the homes affected are covered by a structural guarantee / structural insurance and homeowners may wish to pursue this avenue for redress.”

We wonder is the point being missed?

What builder, professional or homeowner has €200,000 at hand to rebuild a house that has defective blocks? The parties may be honest and diligent but they have no option when the insurer does not cover a claim (as happened with pyrite). It is either very uncertain and costly litigation or a plea to the Minister in the Dáil. That is why we need to make sure that this problem does not arise in the first place with adequate policing of materials by Local Authorities.

We note at the time of writing that there has been no industry alert from the Department of the Environment or Local Authorities regarding Mica in blockwork or any other concrete product or element. Local Authorities are the designated policing bodies for construction materials nationwide and remain seriously under-resourced.

____________

Dáil Written answers – Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

Pyrite Issues

All Written Answers on 17 Sep 2014

Pádraig MacLochlainn (Donegal North East, Sinn Fein)

1489. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 559 of 27 May 2014 to outline the contacts he has had with the Mica Action Group in County Donegal; if he will consider meeting with the group; if he will consider the establishment of a redress scheme similar to that established under the auspices of the Pyrite Resolution Board; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33131/14]

Charlie McConalogue (Donegal North East, Fianna Fail)

1563. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he will permit the Pyrite Resolution Board to consider the emerging situation in County Donegal with respect to defective blocks; if not, the plans he has to address this problem in County Donegal; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34188/14]

Charlie McConalogue (Donegal North East, Fianna Fail)

1564. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he has given consideration to the issue of defective blocks in County Donegal; his Department’s advice on the way affected householders might be able to proceed in engaging with his Department on this issue; the financial supports available for people who find themselves in this situation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34189/14]

Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1489, 1563 and 1564 together.

At the outset, I wish to acknowledge the stressful situations which individuals face when building works are not completed to the required acceptable standard.

In November 2013, my Department was made aware through reports in the media of a potential problem with concrete blocks in County Donegal. In addition, in recent months, my Department has received correspondence from Donegal County Council, from public representatives and from the Mica Action Group itself in connection with the alleged use of defective blocks in the construction of the houses in north Donegal which appear to be giving rise to structural problems in those homes. I also understood that the Mica Action Group met with a representative of the Pyrite Resolution Board earlier this year.

From the information provided, my Department understands that claims have been made which suggest that between 1,000 and 2,000 dwellings are affected in north Donegal. It is also suggested that the affected dwellings were constructed between 1999 and 2006. However, no evidence has been supplied to substantiate these figures nor is there definitive information as to the cause of the problem.

In general, building defects are matters for resolution between the relevant contracting parties, i.e. the homeowner, the builder, the supplier and/or their respective insurers and in the event that the parties cannot reach a settlement by negotiation the option of seeking redress in the Courts can be considered. It may also be the case that some of the homes affected are covered by a structural guarantee / structural insurance and homeowners may wish to pursue this avenue for redress. While I fully understand the extremely difficult and distressing situations that the affected householders in Donegal face, I believe that the responsible parties should take appropriate actions to provide remedies to their difficulties.

The Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 provides the statutory framework for the establishment of the Pyrite Resolution Board and for the making of a pyrite remediation scheme. However, the provisions of the Act apply only to dwellings affected by significant damage attributable to pyritic heave consequent on the presence of reactive pyrite in the subfloor hardcore material and not to damage arising in any other circumstance. The Pyrite Resolution Board has no powers to investigate the alleged use of defective blocks in the construction of the houses in County Donegal and I have no proposals to amend the Act in this regard.

Other links of interest:

Mica Action Group: Latest News

Newstalk – Donegal Homes Crumbling

DECLG on Pyrite and Mica: October 2012 

Are Design and Assigned Certifiers risking professional suicide with Pyrite and S.I.9?

The €64,000 question: How big is the pyrite problem?

Was pyrite discovered in concrete blocks in 2013?

Pyrite blocks in Donegal- October 2013. 

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks 

10 ‘must-read’ posts for Certifiers | S.I.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

3e7ea90By Bregs Blog on 26th September 2014

Following readers’ requests we have assembled a number of ‘must read’ posts for those approved professionals who have to implement S.I.9 legislation.

The first seven of these are critiques of recent industry draft documentation issued by the RIAI, the representative body for architects. As these documents are described as still being in ‘draft’ format, professionals are advised to consider the informed critique of each of the respective documents before using them.

‘Final’ versions of these documents have not yet been issued. We note that the RIAI President, Robin Mandal, promised to have these issued by August 2014. Quote:  “BC(A)R…Work in finalising Guidance documents and assessment methodology is being advanced and final documents should be available by the end of August 2014.” (See RIAI Annual Report / President’s Outlook, Page 9 below).

  1. Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion)
  2. Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) 
  3. Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) 
  4. Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion  (by others) 
  5. Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts 
  6. Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) 
  7. Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect) 

8Recent revisions to GCCC form of contract.

We posted the revised GCCC form of contract also. This form of contract has been the subject of much industry criticism and was mentioned by leading contractor BAM recently as the main reason for changing their focus to private sector projects (see Irish Times article on BAM below):

9. Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates

At the time of writing we have not seen any certificates from EI or ACEI. Cormac Bradley of EI (key stakeholder representative) referred to Ancillary Certificates in an article (see link below):

10. Framework for Building Control Authorities – Version 1: July 2014

This Code of Practice for Local Authorities would appear to be a draft version. This was issued not by the Department of the Environment but by the RIAI in August 2014. At time of writing we have not seen a final version.

It is understood that the revisions required to incorporate new roles and duties under SI.9 to the standard forms of contract for non-public projects has yet to commence. 

Other posts mentioned and useful “must read” posts

BAM to switch focus from State-funded projects

RIAI Annual Report

5 Posts every builder must read- BC(A)R SI.9

Summary of building regulations changes posts 

Summary of Legal Posts- BC(A)R SI.9

SI9- where do I start? 

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9

3 must-read posts for employees

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

Architect’s Overview of Regulations for a Dwelling

ACEI + EI | S.I. 9 Your Questions

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The BRegs Blog Admin. Team posted a call out recently for your questions for Engineers Ireland (EI) and the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI), two of the five stakeholder groups involved in negotiating BC(A)R S.I. 9 with the Department of the Environment  (Link here:). This followed the highly successful similar exercise with the BCMS and the SCSI. We have already published the response of the BCMS (see below) and the SCSI have written to confirm that your questions are being dealt with by Andrew Ramsey, Chair of its Building Surveying Committee. We hope to publish the SCSI response soon.

There was a certain overlap between the questions for the two engineering associations and we have set these out below as submitted in open letters to Ms. Regina Moran, EI President and Mr. Brian Homan, ACEI President respectively.

Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland | 10 Questions

Q.1 For the average person/building owner how would you differentiate between members of your organisation and Engineers Ireland?

Q.2 How many registered chartered engineer members does the ACEI have that are qualified to undertake the roles of Design and Assigned Certifier as specified in BC(A)R S.I. 9?

Q.3 Does the ACEI differentiate between any of its members’ as to their competency to undertake the role of Design or Assigned Certifier or issue any guidance on same?

Q.4 Has the ACEI provided any advice on fees or required resources associated with undertaking the roles of Design and Assigned Certifiers?

Q.5 Has the ACEI provided a typical Preliminary Inspection Plan or Inspection Notification Framework to its members?

Q.6 It appears that many building owners are appointing third parties certifiers to undertake the roles of Design and Assigned Certifiers where design team members have declined to undertake these roles. Does the ACEI have any specific advice for its members undertaking such roles where they are not otherwise appointed on the Design Team?

Q.7 Has the ACEI got a policy on Latent Defects Insurance in relation to BC(A)R  S.I.9 and consumer protection?

Q.8 What is the current position of the ACEI regarding the legality of self building?

Q.9 Does the ACEI have any views on the assessment procedure for building contractors being listed on or removed from CIRI?

Q.10 Has the ACEI raised or does it intend to raise any issues about BC(A)R S.I 9 with the recently appointed Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D.?

Engineers Ireland | 12 Questions

Q.1 How many registered chartered engineer members does the EI have that are qualified to undertake the roles of Design and Assigned Certifier as specified in BC(A)R S.I. 9?

Q.2 Has EI provided any advice on fees or required resources associated with undertaking the roles of Design and Assigned Certifiers?

Q.3 It appears that some building owners are appointing third parties certifiers to undertake the roles of Design and Assigned Certifiers where members of the design team are declining to undertake these roles. Does the EI have any specific advice for its members undertaking such roles where they are not otherwise appointed on the Design Team?

Q.4 Has EI a list of their members who are available to act as Design or Assigned Certifier on projects where they are not retained otherwise on the Design Team? If EI has not drawn up such a list would they consider doing so and make this list available to the public?

Q.5 Have EI members reported any specific implementation problems with BC(A)R S.I.9?

Q.6 Has EI got a policy on Latent Defects Insurance in relation to BC(A)R  S.I.9 and consumer protection?

Q.7 What is the current position of EI regarding the legality of self building?

Q.8 Would EI consider surveying its membership to establish whether they would support calls by other stakeholders for further DECLG action in relation to S.I. 9?

Q.9 Does EI agree with the CIF interpretation of S.I. 9 that the Assigned Certifier takes over all responsibility for defective workmanship by the building contractor by signing a Completion Certificate?

Q.10 Does EI have any views on the assessment procedure for building contractors being listed on or removed from CIRI and is there any conflict of interest perceived between sitting on the Boards of both EI and CIRI?

Q.11 Has EI raised or does it intend to raise any issues about BC(A)R S.I 9 with the recently appointed Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D.?

Q.12 Does EI have an opinion on the adequacy of building owners’ understanding of BC(A)R S.I. 9? Does EI feel that there is a need for a comprehensive publicity campaign by the DECLG and/or other stakeholders?

BCMS Q+A:

Post 1: General Issues: 

Post 2 – I.T. Issues:

Post 3 – Process Issues:

SCSI 20 questions: Link here:

 

 

RIAI meet Minister Alan Kelly | “mind the gap”

by Bregs Blog admin team

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by Bregs Blog admin team on 26th September 2014

Over the past six months the BRegs Blog has catalogued a multitude of implementation issues and concerns of self-builders, legal advisors and consumers since the implementation of S.I.9 in March 2014. Of particular focus has been the consensus view, as expressed by RIAI architects and architectural technologists, that they consider S.I. 9 to be defective. This view was clearly re-stated at a recent RIAI EGM on 12th August 2014.

It will be surprising therefore for ordinary RIAI members to read below of the discussions held earlier this month between the RIAI CEO John Graby, President, Robin Mandal and the new Minister for the Environment,  Alan Kelly T.D. These are extracted from a notice sent to RIAI Practices on 24th September 2014. It would appear that quite a number of members’ concerns were not on their agenda.

PDF of document BETTER BUILDING STANDARDS- PAPER 1 final

From reading this account it would appear that Minister Kelly could well assume that all is well in the construction industry, that the new systems have not caused serious disruption or delays and professionals are happily undertaking the new Design and Assigned Certifier roles without any reservations. Indeed one could infer from the report of the meeting that most architects, architectural technologists and their clients are not experiencing any problems on live construction projects.

We wonder is the Minister aware that some of the largest architectural firms in the country are currently not undertaking the new S.I.9 duties? On independent legal advice these companies are sub-contracting out the new roles to specialist certifier firms. Have his officials told him  SI.9 is impacting on housing construction, competitiveness and job creation? Was the Minister told of the current Competition Authority complaints regarding joint appointments in public contracts?

For those trying to implement S.I.9 there are numerous concerns that are not listed in the above notice: industry readiness, no new consumer protection, no code of practice for Local Authorities, inadequate staffing of Building Control Sections, inadequate Local Authority resources to police materials and quarries, liability concerns, no revised guidance as to the scope of the new roles to name but a few.

There would appear to be a divide between what architects as practitioners are saying about S.I.9 and what the RIAI administration is portraying. If this situation is repeated by the other key stakeholder groups (SCSI, ACEI and CIF) the new Minister may not be getting accurate feedback on what is happening ‘on the ground’. Central Statistics Office and Building Control Management System data relating to falling commencement notices, declining residential planning applications and depressed housing completions may be more objective and appropriate indicators for the new Minister that all is not well in the industry.

This information gap is likely to become a point of discussion at the upcoming RIAI AGM scheduled for Monday 29th September next.

_________

Extract from RIAI Practice Note of 24th September 2014

RIAI MEETING WITH RECENTLY APPOINTED MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT, COMMUNITY AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT, ALAN KELLY TD
The RIAI President, Robin Mandal, and CEO, John Graby, were invited to meet with the new Minister to discuss issues of concern to the RIAI.

Below are links to documents on Planning, Housing and BC(A)R that were discussed at the meeting:

  1. Maximising the efficiency of the planning system
  2. Housing
  3. Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (pdf BETTER BUILDING STANDARDS- PAPER 1 final)

BUILDING CONTROL (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 

1. BETTER BUILDING STANDARDS 

  • While BC(A)R has an important role in delivering better building standards consumer redress can really only be provided by an effective system of Latent Defects Insurance. The commitment in Construction 2020 to a working group is welcomed.
  • RIAI should be in a position to announce by year end a much enhanced, in comparison with what was available on the Irish Market, system of Defects Insurance, backed by some of the largest re-insurance companies in the EU.
  • RIAI welcomes the commitment in Construction 2020 for the Heads of Legislation to be prepared for the registration of builders in preparation for legislation in 2015.
  • The Register should address the question of build quality which is a major factor in legacy building problems.
  • The provision in SI9 for builders/developers to have employees act as Design Certifiers has the potential to undermine the credibility and independence of the system.

2. REVIEW 

  • The commitment by the Department to review, with all the stakeholders, of the operation of SI9 in late March, early April 2015 is welcome. Any new system needs review. There are operational and transitional difficulties which need to be addressed, in addition to possible new initiatives.
  • Delivery of Commitments While RIAI welcomes commitments on Latent Defects Insurance, the builders register and review, it is critical that these commitments are delivered.

3. SINGLE HOUSES AND SELF BUILDING 

  • RIAI would welcome the opportunity to discuss with the Department and the Housing Agency a possible system of inspection and compliance with building regulations, on a simplified basis, for single houses, not speculative housing.
  • While the regulations do not prevent self-building, the RIAI would be interested in discussions with Officials and possibly with the Housing Agency as to methodologies for dealing with this issue.

4. BUILDING CONTROL AUTHORITIES 

  • With construction out at 6% of GNP Building Control Authorities can possibly deal with BC(A)R but any increase in construction as foreseen in Construction 20/20 will place considerable strain on building control.
  • Consideration should be given to legislation which would allow cease work orders to be issued by building control, as is the case in Safety and Health legislation.
  • A small re-allocation of Property Tax could be used to provide the limited number of building control staff needed to provide an appropriate level of oversight and inspection as output increases. This one measure would signal and confirm Government.
  • Architects have an expectation of an increased level of oversight and inspection by Building Control Authorities.

5. TRAINING 

  • 1,000 architects and architectural technologists had attended RIAI Information Meetings and CPD beginning December 2013.
  • By end of this week 520 architects would have attended RIAI CPD on acting as a Design Certifier.
  • The next CPD will be held on the Assigned Certifier.

Other posts of interest:

A Profession Divided? Reflections on an RIAI EGM

‘All Ireland’ | BC(A)R Boycott

Architectural Technologists: Are you on the right bus? 

Opinion: “the architectural profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9″

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus 

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

S.I. 9 and Insurance Claims: Deirdre Lennon MRIAI

S.I. 9 and Construction Products: Orla Hegarty MRIAI RIBA

Vivian Cummins MRIAI: Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

Shrapnel and Spin – Caomhán Murphy MRIAI

Eoin O’Cofaigh: missed opportunity? BC(A)R SI.9

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

Part L- is compliance worth the paper its written on?

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Part L independent certification and inspections

Given that the Taoiseach is currently discussing carbon emissions in the UN Climate Summit, many specialist thermal modellers have highlighted deficiencies in our current building regulations. The Taoiseach told the summit  that Ireland is a ‘world leader in carbon-efficient agriculture and food production’ (see link here); unfortunately the reality on the ground would appear to be quite different.

In article in Passive House magazine from 23rd May 2014  “Two thirds of new Irish homes fail energy efficiency rules” By Lenny Antonelli & Jeff Colley (see link), it was noted that “Less than a third of new Irish homes meet energy efficiency and carbon emissions regulations, according to new figures. The number of new homes meeting the rules has also declined dramatically since 2005, according to data released by the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.”

The article goes on: “Only 32.5% of new homes built to the 2008 version of Part L of the building regulations — which deals with insulation and energy — met all of its main energy and carbon requirements: the minimum renewable energy contribution, U-value (insulation) requirements, heating system efficiency and airtightness requirements, plus the energy and carbon performance coefficients, figures that measure a dwelling’s overall level of energy efficiency and carbon emissions…

The figures show that individually 50% of homes fail to meet the energy performance coefficient, 40% fail to meet the carbon emissions standard, and 39% don’t generate enough renewable energy to meet regulations…[emphasis by Blog]

Of the 3,595 BER assessments carried out on houses built to the 2008 version of Part L of the building regulations, which deals with insulation and energy, 2,426 — or 67.5% — fail at least one of the main standards…”

The article notes that Part L was updated again in 2013, but few homes have been built to this new standard.

Last year Construct Ireland revealed that in an unpublished SEAI survey, none of the houses examined complied fully with energy efficiency regulations (the survey was of Irish housing built between 1997 and 2002). Over 90% of of homes with oil boilers failed to comply with rules on reducing the risk of fire spread and pollution from oil tanks, while over 40% failed to meet ventilation standards. This is an extraordinary finding.

Many industry specialists now are discussing the need for independent inspections for Part L, and/or a separate submission for a “Part L certificate” to Local Authorities similar to those required for fire and disabled access (Parts B and M). The Local Authorities have the necessary staff and infrastructure for these at present and there would be minimal staffing required.

Recent Central Statistics Office figures (see link here) suggest that compliance with this section of the building regulations appears to be ‘on paper only’, given the definitive evidence of widespread non-compliance in completed buildings.

Recent figures would appear to demonstrate that self-certification simply does not work when it comes to Part L compliance and that we cannot beat climate change (and meet energy and carbon emission targets) without independent inspection of all new buildings/ retrofit projects.

Other posts of interest:

Design Certifiers – 3 things about certifying Part L… 

Why the design certifier and architect need third party building fabric assessments

Opinion piece: new building regulations and materials risk analysis

SI.9 and Part L | Specialist ancillary certifiers Part 2

SI.9 and Part L | Are specialist ancillary certifiers needed? Part 1 

Dispensations and Transition Arrangements

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance – BC(A)R SI.9

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 

Summary of building regulations changes posts

by Bregs Blog admin team

buildingregs

Summary of building regulations changes posts

Bregs Blog has posted some useful information regarding current and upcoming changes to the building regulations for professionals and home-owners. We have assembled these posts here on one list for you to bookmark, and will add-to as more information becomes available.

Other summary posts:

SI9- where do I start?

Summary of Legal Posts- BC(A)R SI.9

SI.9- Everything you wanted to know Part 3: ACRONYMS

SI.9- Everything you wanted to know Part 2: who’s who

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9

BRegs Blog Archive 4 – FEBRUARY 2014 

BREGS Blog Archive 3- JANUARY 2014

BREGS Blog Archive 2- DECEMBER 2013

BREGS Blog Archive 1- NOVEMBER 2013

DECLG on Pyrite and Mica: October 2012

by Bregs Blog admin team

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With Mica making the headlines in Donegal and being debated once more in the Dáil, we take a look back at an Oireachtas Joint and Select Committee discussion from October 2012, when senior Department of the Environment, official, Aidan O’Connor, discusses the problem of pyrite in the construction sector. O’Connor is the Chief Architect Adviser at the Department of the Environment and one of the senior officials involved with developing BC(A)R SI.9.

Many politicians who were at the Committee discussion may be wondering why nothing has happened in the intervening period to remove the problem of pyrite from the construction sector. The liabilities for Assigned Certifiers should pyrite / mica be encountered on a building project could be enormous in the absence of mandatory certification at the quarry.

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht

Building Regulations: Discussion

DECLG on Pyrite and Mica: October 2012

Aidan O’Connor October 16th 2012- quote:

“There should have been a red flag system. As far as I am aware I do not think there was a red flag procedure. We are required to conduct a market surveillance for Europe and we are setting up a red flag procedure. When we become aware of a material that is known to be problematic, we red-flag it to local authorities. We have done that on a number of different materials, such as plaster board, hollow steel sections and so on”

Link to Oireachtas Committee transcript here.

Recent headlines:

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Other posts of interest:

The €64,000 question: How big is the pyrite problem?

Are Design and Assigned Certifiers risking professional suicide with Pyrite and S.I.9?

Was pyrite discovered in concrete blocks in 2013?

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now?

A Profession Divided? Reflections on an RIAI EGM

by Bregs Blog admin team

Open Letter RIAI

The following opinion piece was one of several received from attendees of the recent RIAI EGM. The author’s identity has been verified but has has not been published for reasons respected by the BRegs Blog Admin. Team. It makes for interesting reading in advance of the RIAI AGM in the Davenport Hotel at 6 pm on Monday (29th September 2014). 

A Profession Divided? 

Reflections on an RIAI EGM

The context of the EGM held in the Davenport Hotel on 12th August 2014 was strange. The scene appeared to be set between the ‘sides’. The debate, for the most part, was reasoned and intelligent. So how could such illustrious opinion be so divided on such an important matter as new building control legislation? The answer is simple; it isn’t.

The near unanimous view among the architects attending the EGM, and any with whom I have spoken on the subject, and any opinion I have read on the subject, think that SI.9 is a terrible piece of legislation. The failings are numerous and egregious. No offence to the Department of Environment, but this is a bad piece of legislation.

Attendees at the previous EGM, held in October of last year, voted overwhelmingly to call on ‘…the President and Council to urge the Minister to amend the Regulations…’ The minutes subsequently circulated didn’t record the exact vote, but to suggest 500 to 1 would not be a wild exaggeration. This is NOT a profession divided.

So I was very surprised and, frankly, greatly annoyed to read the State Architect’s address to Council in June of this year. The BRegs Forum is destructive and unhelpful? The Profession is seen as divided and incoherent?

Among Architects, the only area where opinion is divided is how best we should proceed as a profession to have this very bad piece of legislation changed. That’s not a profession divided.

And now to my own tuppence worth; Unfortunately, I believe the reality to be very close to what the State Architect, and others, described at the EGM. The perception of architects, divided or otherwise, among legislators and the general public is not heroic. Justly or otherwise we are associated with the boom and bust and are guilty by association. We are seen as an elitist minority, if we are seen at all. If we characterise our plight as a fight against unreasonable and intolerable liability we will be seen as a self-serving elitist minority.

Pardon the cynicism for a moment; legislators will not change the law because it is the right thing to do, nor because it needs to be done, nor even because it might actually save money; legislators will change the law if that is a popular idea. I believe we need to make that idea popular.

I voted at the EGM to defer the motion because I did not want to see it narrowly defeated or narrowly passed. I do not want to give any succour to the idea that we are, in fact, divided and incoherent. The 1st reason given in the motion is the only reason we should contest this legislation; because it fails to protect the consumer and fails to ensure better building. This is the message that we should promote in a unified and, yes, coherent manner, unashamedly and unafraid of reprisal.

Other posts of interest:

‘All Ireland’ | BC(A)R Boycott

Opinion: “the architectural profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9″

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus 

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

S.I. 9 and Insurance Claims: Deirdre Lennon MRIAI

S.I. 9 and Construction Products: Orla Hegarty MRIAI RIBA

Vivian Cummins MRIAI: Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

Shrapnel and Spin – Caomhán Murphy MRIAI

Eoin O’Cofaigh: missed opportunity? BC(A)R SI.9

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

5 Tips for Completion Certs

by Bregs Blog admin team

helpful-tips

5 Tips for Completion Certificates

1. Start as early as possible- agree the Ancillary Certificates, relevant drawings and specifications that will be needed at the start of the contract.

2. Make the Ancillary Certificates a condition of payment to avoid delays.

3. Keep good files with contact details, the description of the relevant works, the competence of the person signing off, insurances etc.

4. Upload all of the Ancillary Certs to the Building Control Management System (BCMS) website as you go (however, keep in mind that you cannot delete anything from the BCMS) as this will save you time at the end.

5. Advise your client that the Local Authority can delay by up to 21 days or return the certificate as invalid, in which case the clock starts on the 21 days again. The building cannot be opened, occupied or operated until this is completed.

Other posts of interest:

Press: RIAI fearful Local Authorities will start “finding something to invalidate as a method of workload control”

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better”

8 Questions for Professional Insurer

4 tips for sub-contractor Ancillary Certifiers

5 Posts every builder must read- BC(A)R SI.9

5 POPULAR MYTHS ABOUT BC(A)R SI.9 

4 tips for Design Certifiers… 

4 tips for assigned certifiers

4 things I am putting in my fee agreements

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read 

 

Watch live coverage of Environment Committee’s focus on property supply + demand

by Bregs Blog admin team

Alan Kelly

Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government, Alan Kelly T.D.

Watch live coverage of the Environment Committee’s focus on property supply and demand today!

It looks like the newly appointed Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D., is coming under pressure from several sectors of the construction industry with regard to headline housing issues in advance of next month’s budget. However, judging by the glowing report from Michael Clifford in yesterday’s Irish Examiner, Minister Kelly is his own man on this issue and was described as a “possible hero of affordable housing intent on tackling the crisis” (Link: here).

Supply and demand in the commercial and domestic property markets will be on the agenda of the Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht today, Tuesday 23rd September, when it meets with Dr Peter Stafford, Director of Property Industry Ireland. Representatives of various vested property interests will be at the meeting.

Michael McCarthy TD, Chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht, said: “There has been much commentary recently on housing demand and supply in Ireland with some warning of a housing shortage, coupled with sharp price rises, particularly in large urban areas, due to the low rate of housing construction since the property and construction crash.  [Today] we will have an opportunity to focus on supply and demand in both the domestic and commercial property markets when we meet with Dr Peter Stafford, Director of Property Industry Ireland. Established in 2011, Property Industry Ireland is a representative organisation with almost 90 member firms drawn from all of the main sub-sectors of the Irish property industry. It’s a chance to engage with an organisation representing many sections of the property sector to get the industry’s perspectives on the current state of the Irish property market and discuss the key issues affecting the property market.”

This meeting will take place at 2.15 p.m. on Tuesday, 23rd September 2014 in Committee Room 4. Committee proceedings can be followed live from 2.15 pm here.

About Property Industry Ireland:

Membership of Property Industry Ireland (PII) is open to all professional firms across the property industry. These include:

  • Developers and contractors
  • Engineers, architects and planners
  • Surveyors and project managers
  • Professional service firms, including legal and consultancy experts
  • Auctioneers and property advisory firms
  • Financiers, including stockbrokers and banks
  • Building materials companies
  • Business with a significant property portfolio

PII was established in 2011 and  its membership totals almost 90 firms. The organisation is already actively engaged in discussions with Government, decision-makers, agencies including NAMA and investors to help achieve a better future for the property sector.

About the Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht

Deputies: James Bannon TD (Fine Gael); Noel Coonan (Fine Gael) Leas-Chathaoirleach; Ruth Coppinger (Socialist Party); Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD (Fine Gael); Barry Cowen (Fianna Fáil); Robert Dowds (Labour); Michael McCarthy TD (Labour) Cathaoirleach; Peadar Tóibín (Sinn Féin); Tony Mc Loughlin TD (Fine Gael); Michelle Mulherin TD (Fine Gael); Catherine Murphy TD (Independent); Éamonn Maloney TD (Labour); Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD (Fianna Fáil);  Brian Stanley TD (Sinn Féin).

Senators: Senator Cáit Keane (Fine Gael); Senator Denis Landy (Labour); An Seanadóir Fiach Mac Conghail (Neamhspleách); Senator Hildegarde Naughton (Fine Gael); An Seanadóir Labhrás Ó Murchú (Fianna Fáil): Senator Ned O’Sullivan (Fianna Fáil).

 

Top 7 for 7- 19th September 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

Number-7-books

Top 7 for 7-  21st September 2014

Here is a list of the 7 most popular posts for last week on the Bregs Blog. An opinion piece by David McHugh on the consensus for change at a recent EGM of the representative body for architects (RIAI) was the the most read post.

  • An opinion piece by Architectural Technologist Kevin Tyrrell from the Irish Architectural Technology Graduate Network (link here) calling for more robust representation against SI.9 was also very popular- quote “...Until politicians face a real threat of lost votes they will happily ignore us all and keep S.I.9 on the statute books...”
  • The ongoing question of whether the 40sqm exemption for residential extensions in SI.9 was cumulative or not was the subject of an opinion piece by Registered Building Surveyor Nigel Redmond, where the wording of SI.9 was examined in detail.
  • An article by Cormac Bradley  in Engineer’s Ireland Journal supporting SI.9 was thought provoking, and we summarised main points of the article in our post.
  • With the industry still grappling with recent changes to the building regulations we highlighted more Planning and Construction Legislation due to be published in the coming weeks.
  • As a follow up to a previous post on a Fine Gael expert committee opposition to SI.9 (see link here), we noted that Fine Gael members of the expert committee included the newly appointed Minister for Housing Paudie Coffey TD, new Junior Minister for Housing.
  • In contrast to the Engineers Ireland piece we noted an article posted by the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI) in the Surveyor’s Journal from Summer 2012 where author Kevin Hollingsworth outlined deficiencies in proposed changes to building control legislation that are still very relevant to the current situation.

Posts listed in order of reader popularity. Enjoy!

  1. Opinion: “the architectural profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9″
  2. ‘All Ireland’ | BC(A)R Boycott
  3. “Dangling Participles” and why all extensions may now require compliance with S.I.9: 2014
  4. Engineers Ireland Journal | S.I.9 “is an opportunity to enhance the reputation of the building sector”
  5. New Planning and Construction Legislation | due September 2014
  6. Fine Gael Report opposed new building regulations- 2013
  7. SCSI “A Bad Act”| S.I.9 

Other top posts:

top 7 for 7- 12th September 2014

https://bregsforum.wordpress.com/2014/09/14/top-7-for-4-12th-september-2014/

Top 7 for 7- September 5th 2014

Top 7 for 7- August 30th 2014

Top 7 for 7- August 23rd 2014

Top Posts for July 2014

Top 20 Breg Blog posts for June 2014.

Top 10 for June 7th | BRegs Blog

Top 12 posts- week ending 31st May

TOP 10 for the week ending 17th May 2014

Top 7 posts for the week-10th May

The new Part K of the Building Regulations

by Bregs Blog admin team

 

cover.pdf [Converted]
The following contribution was sent by Isabel Barros MRIAI on 16th September 2014. 

The new Part K of the Building Regulations

The new Part K of the Building Regulations will come into effect on 1st of January 2015.

In general, Building Regulations apply to the construction of new buildings and to extensions and material alterations to buildings. In addition, certain parts of the Regulations apply to existing buildings where a material change of use takes place. Otherwise, Building Regulations do not apply to buildings constructed prior to 1 June, 1992.

Part K of the Building Regulations provides technical guidance for Stairways, Ladders, Ramps and Guards and can be downloaded here.

The new Part K does not have major changes, the main one is probably the (small) increase in the handrail height.

The following notes provide an overview of the changes I observed:

  • Par. 1.1.4  – Table 1 – Rise, going and pitch

The Optimum going for Semi-public stairs was increased to 300 mm (Part K, 1997 required 275 mm). The rest of the table remains unchanged.

  •  Par. 1.1.6 – Tapered steps

Method for measuring remains unchanged but the benchmark changed to 1000 mm (from 900 mm in Part K, 1997).

  • Par. 1.1.17 – Handrails

The height of the handrail was increased and the underlined text was added:

“The top surface of the handrail should be between 900 mm and 1000 mm measured vertically above the pitch line, and between 900 mm and 1100 mm above the landing. Handrails should give firm support.”

(Part K, 1997 required a height of between 840 mm and 900 mm).

  • Par. 1.1.19 – Guarding

Horizontal railings are clearly discouraged (also in Par. 2.6).

Note the new (quite restrictive) addition if using cut strings:

“The triangular space formed by the tread and riser is not allowable to stairs in dwellings and common stairs in blocks of flats.”

  • Par. 1.1.20– Diagram 6 – Guarding design

The height of the guarding for stairways and ramps in single family dwellings was increased to 900 mm (Part K, 1997 required a height of 840 mm).

Part K_Fig 1

 

  • Par. 1.2.1 – Ramps

Length of individual flight of ramp between 1:12 and 1:20 increased to 10 m (Part K, 1997 required 9 m).

  • Par. 1.2.5 – Handrails in ramps

The height of the handrail is now required to be between 900 mm and 1000 mm (Part K, 1997 required handrail height to be between 840 mm and 900 mm).

  • Par. 2.4 – Pedestrian Guarding

A new diagram was included to assist in understanding the requirements.

Part K_Fig 2

  • Par. 2.7 – Prevention of falls from windows (NEW SECTION)

This is a new section and requires the provision of Safety Restrictors in dwellings where a window has an opening section through which a person may fall, and is more than 1400 mm above external ground level.

Part K_Fig 3

Disclaimer

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only. It is not a definitive legal interpretation of building control law. For more information, you should consult your technical adviser or Local Authority Building Control. No responsibility for loss or damage caused to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the material included in this article can be accepted by the author. Read more by the author on her blog “Isabel Barros Architects – Blog | design + energy + excellence ¦ Wexford Architects

Other posts of interest:

Part J (2014): Carbon monoxide detectors mandatory 1 September

Design Certifiers – 3 things about certifying Part L…

Practical Post 24: New Part K & J of Building Regulations

SI.9 and Part L | Are specialist ancillary certifiers needed? Part 1

Design Certifiers – 3 things about certifying Part L… 

Why the design certifier and architect need third party building fabric assessments

Opinion piece: new building regulations and materials risk analysis

Dispensations and Transition Arrangements

Practical Post 10: No retrospective compliance – BC(A)R SI.9

Practical Post 13: Duties & conflicts- BC(A)R SI.9 

 

 

‘All Ireland’ | BC(A)R Boycott

by Bregs Blog admin team

sam-maguire-cup-

 

The following post appeared on the Facebook page of the Irish Architectural Technology Graduate Network, posted by Wexford-based Architectural Technologist, Kevin Tyrrell (see link here) on 19th September 2014. With the GAA and S.I.9 references the BRegs Blog Admin. Team felt it was a good one for All-Ireland Football final day!

To all Architects, Engineers, Chartered Surveyors and fellow Architectural Technologists.

Of  S.I.9, Politics and the Game of Junior B Hurling.

There are a few things that I think escape the view of the population of construction professionals out there who are opposed to S.I. 9. These regulations were brought into force by a Department and a Minister who care little to nothing about how we might feel about these regulations or how they affect us and our livelihoods. These regulations were brought into effect for one reason and one reason only i.e. to remove responsibility from the Local Authority and foist it squarely onto the construction professionals. They faced the potential of being blamed for Priory Hall by the Public…so they made the construction industry, the fall guys for their slip ups instead. In the court of Public Opinion it was “unscrupulous builders” and “incompetent Architects” who were all to blame, and as such it was Builders and Architects who needed tighter regulation. And thus the Minister and the Department played the age old political game of “Pass the Buck” or in Junior B hurling parlance……”Playing the Man”.

Now…we as professionals operating in the real world see this as acting irresponsibly, unfairly, unjustly, and with no regard for anyone else but politicians saving their own skins. But that is the game of politics. That is all you need to know about politics and politicians. Avoid fixing the problem. Find somebody else to blame, and make it their problem. Save your Dail seat and keep your votes. That is it. And that is the game we have been dragged into playing here. In the professional world we play Championship Hurling. Its challenging, its fast, its full of skill and daring and generally the best team wins. Why? Because the rules are there to protect everyone, and give everyone the best chance of succeeding if they have the required skills, determination and have a little luck too. Everyone plays to the same set of rules and generally everyone plays fair…and if you don’t you get a free or a penalty against you. If you cheat or blatantly disregard the rules then you get sent off. There are consequences and strict rules that try to give everyone a level playing field, so that the best team with the most skills comes out on top. The best team more than likely wins.

But that is not the game we are playing here. This is Politics. This game is played on a wet Sunday morning in a field in the middle of nowhere. Gentlemen welcome to Junior B hurling! And you may well laugh, but it’s not funny when your shins are skinned and your knuckles are bleeding and you have a black eye….and the referee is waving play on. Because the rules of this game are…you look after your own self first. The referee isn’t interested. He is a Home Town referee and will play to the crowd. A free is only a free if the crowd can see it and they complain. After that it’s a free-for-all. The burly opposition guy standing beside you is a wily old political fox. He knows his best chance of winning the ball is by hurting you first making sure you can’t get to it. There is no skill. No best man wins. It’s nasty, dirty, every man for himself and in politics your own team-mates are just as willing to pull across you as the opposition are. If you want fairness and protection from the referee then I am sorry…you are playing hurling in the wrong field.

If you want the Department and the Minister to change their minds and act fairly then you are missing the point. That is not how this game is played. If you want to play like a gentleman and rely only on your skills to win the ball then you are going home in an ambulance. If you want the referee to take notice and call a foul then you will be waiting a long, long time. We as professionals are too polite. And appealing to the referee to get the other team to play fair does not work. The crowd on the sidelines are the true arbiters here. They are the only people who count. The referee plays to them. They call the fouls. They decide.

Public Opinion. That makes the rules in this game. It might be a blunt instrument and by God is it fickle and contrary and is bound up more in the illusion of fair play than in actual fair play itself. Politics and playing it is illusory. What happens in the shadows, never happened. All that matters is that you hide your dirty play and if you can walk away from a challenge with the ball in your hand then you won, how you got it does not really matter as long as you could disguise any foul play well enough.

Architects, Engineers, Chartered Surveyors all writing letters, blogs, signing petitions, having meetings, etc. That is just a bunch of broken up team mates in a huddle moaning at why the referee will not give them a fair game to play. It does not change the game, it does not affect the opposition and it leaves you wondering why you bothered to turn up in the first place. Your coach is scratching his head and crying on the side lines over the fact the referee is not playing fair. You need somebody to tell you how to at least compete in this game. And here it is:

Shake yourself off. Get stuck in. And most of all understand that anything goes, it is winning by any and all means…and the crowd call the fouls. And a note to all fellow Architectural Technologists out there. We do not even have a team!! Some guys in the next County over might be willing to join the league, but the Home team do not like people outside the parish playing on this field! So we are the younger brothers showing up with our gear bag and hurley hoping that we can maybe get picked by the bigger boys to sit on their subs’ bench. Do we really want to be showcasing our undoubtedly silky skills out there on that field? Because out there we are less than inconsequential to the opposition and our team mates alike.

Construction Professionals need to get out of the little insulated huddle we are in and move away from moaning to each other about how unfair the system is. The system does not care. It’s a dirtier game than we have ever played. We are too polite and being polite is seen as being weak and inconsequential. It’s laughed at and derided by the opposition. The only way this game is won is by making sure the public start calling the fouls and sees the fouls taking place. That is what politicians and civil servants fear most. That means they have to start playing hurling and playing fair. Remember how the senior citizens pulled that off? Remember the Medical Card debacle? They knew how to Play Junior B Hurling! They understood the rules of the game. They got fouled. They made damn sure the foul was called and seen for what it was – Dirty Play. Politicians could not any longer play the man there. And the court of public opinion was going to be watching closely after that.

But that takes us as a body of professionals to get out of our own huddle and get out on the streets to protest this, make the public aware and start hurting the politicians and civil servants who are trying so hard to protect their own skins. Jab your hurley into their ribs for a change. Get off the ground and shake off the muck. Stand up for ourselves. For instance….if as a group of bodies, the RIAI, Engineers Ireland and the Chartered Surveyors directed their members that, as and from a mutually agreed date,(e.g. 1st October) they should flat out refuse to be Assigned Certifiers, refuse to lodge any Commencement Notice under any terms, then the outcry would be massive. Yes it is dirty. Yes it is ugly. Yes it is even playing the man, not the ball. It would grind the system to a halt. No client anywhere could build a house. Yes the backlash would be ugly and architects, engineers and surveyors would be potentially in the firing line for abuse by the public. Yes, it would even hurt our pockets too. But at least the game would be visible for what it is. Not hurling…just every man for himself. And we do not want to play that game. Let the Public see the reality of the injustice and how it directly affects them too. Most of them came to see a game of hurling. Show them it is not what you are being allowed to play. Let the crowd see the blood on your shins and your broken knuckles. Let them call the foul. And get off your knees, stop crying, and start doing it now. Because like every game there is a time limit. We are playing to a clock here and we are running out of time.

I feel that if this legislation is not seriously challenged and fought in a very public way with the Public on our side, and done within the next 6 months then we might as well give up now, because the Regulations will be here to stay. RIAI EGM’s, drawing up alternatives, bitching to the opposition about how dirty they are WILL NOT WORK. WAKE UP AND UNDERSTAND THIS NOW!!! The Public hold the key. Get everyone involved and point the blame back squarely at the Minister, Government and Civil Service…they won’t stop fouling us unless we do. As Michael Collins best put it, our best weapon is our refusal. Our refusal to be participants in a situation where our collective professional lives are at the whim of a political game of pass the buck. Do not engage. Do not play their game. With every Commencement Notice that we lodge we strengthen their resolve and give them solace that they have won, we are cowed, beaten, and yes we may be giving out, but they are not losing any votes or any sleep over this.

Until Politicians face a real threat of lost votes they will happily ignore us all and keep S.I.9 on the statute books.

iPetition into the Oireachtas Committee – S.I.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

OirCommittee

Dear Bregs Blog Team,

I would appreciate if you could post this Petition plea on the Blog for the very last time – although we did not reach our signature target (500), I have every confidence that the 352 (and counting) people who did sign our Petition would want us to go ahead and lodge it on their behalf.

Looking at self building in Ireland this year, we note that some self builders are anxiously seeking certifiers to work alongside them, some have gone ahead risking legal issues etc.. and some, like ourselves, have postponed / abandoned our project until such time as Minister Alan Kelly rectifies the terribly unjust S.I.9.

Assuming self-builds are 1/3 of 8,600 completions for the year (same  level as 2013 optimistically-  2900 self builds) –  a total of 25% postponed or abandoned this year equals 725… so, our petition total (6 months into SI.9) represents half of the total self-builds abandoned this year- this is enough reason for us to lodge our Petition into the Oireachtas Committee.

This will be carried out on Monday next 22nd September 2014.  I would appreciate if readers of your blog who have not done so already to please consider signing this important petition. We would also kindly ask your readers to give this plea one last share or re-Tweet.

There have been some interesting comments from signatories of the petition (which I hope the Minister ponders) – here are a taste of some:

…a person can be prohibited from making their own shelter, while hundreds are forced to live on the street..’

‘As someone who is just exploring the possibilities of self build I am already tied up in knots..’

‘I may have to buy a second rate Celtic tiger house now because of these new regs.’

‘So all tradesmen must now keep their contractors sweet. The only gig in town for them. Low pay and bad conditions and no Union’

‘A simple change of wording in one line would restore people’s right to build’

Link to Petition: ipetition self-build-rights-Ireland

Many thanks to all!

Amanda Gallagher

Other posts of interest:

IAOSB Letter to Minister Alan Kelly 

S.I. 9 | Self-builders – 6 months’ update

The self build world has been thrown into disarray

Eoin O Cofaigh FRIAI- A changing landscape?

SI.9 costs for a typical house

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

Law Society response to self-builders

Self building, self-regulation & the consumer

Senator Mooney- BC(A)R SI.9

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents 

RIAI EGM | Opinion: “…the liability we carry must be sustainable”

by Bregs Blog admin team

Open Letter RIAI

The following opinion piece was sent to us on 17th September 2014 by Michael O’Neill in relation to David McHugh’s piece earlier in the week.

I would like to commend David McHugh  on his recent post (link below) and for having the courage of his convictions both in relation to calling the EGM and publishing his views. I wholeheartedly endorse his position.

My background on this is as follows:

I am not a member of the RIAI yet, I am applying for Registration through Option C and am awaiting a call to interview. However, between 27th  June 1990 when I qualified from Bolton Street [now D.I.T.] and 1st May 2008 when the restrictions of the Building Control Act 2007 came in, I inspected and issued Opinions as an Architect for many buildings.

  • I have attended in Court as an expert witness in matters of non-compliance. I have undertaken remedial work for clients in conjunction with Building Control Inspectors and I have issued Opinions on the buildings I helped bring into compliance.
  • I have therefore a reasonably competent working knowledge of the legal system as it pertained to issuing Opinions – Prior to the current Building Regulations.
  • I do not recommend anyone issues Certification as either Design Certifier or Assigned Certifier under the current draconian Building Regulation system.

Even when this system is remedied, I would strongly advise consultant designers – architects, engineers, etc – to limit their Opinions to their design work.

I was one of those in the profession who did not welcome the inclusion of Main Contractors “certificates” under the Schedule A assurances in the Opinion wording. In my opinion, it opened up the Designers to being included in claims against contractors where the built work was not in compliance.

  1. I am of the view that designers should certify design only.
  2. Main contractors together with their sub contractors and suppliers should certify the built work.
  3. All Opinions and Builders Certification should be issued in the context of a properly insured and registered Sole Tradership or Limited Company.
  4. There should be a Statue of Limitations in force, not the current wide-open and eternal liability for Certifiers that is covering someone in a distant factory not assembling a hidden component correctly.

We should not be hounded into our graves nor our families’ beggared in our retirement.

The professionalism we practice must be competent and the liability we carry must be sustainable.

Other posts of interest:

Opinion: “the architectural profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9” David McHugh

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus 

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

S.I. 9 and Insurance Claims: Deirdre Lennon MRIAI

S.I. 9 and Construction Products: Orla Hegarty MRIAI RIBA

Vivian Cummins MRIAI: Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

Shrapnel and Spin – Caomhán Murphy MRIAI

Eoin O’Cofaigh: missed opportunity? BC(A)R SI.9

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

Minister Hogan’s departure- Does this mean somebody can now shout STOP?

SCSI “A Bad Act”| S.I.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

iStock_000031422784_Medium

SCSI “A Bad Act”| S.I.9 

As a contrast to yesterday’s pro-S.I. 9 piece from Engineers Ireland the following article was posted by the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland (SCSI) in the Surveyor’s Journal from Summer 2012. In it,  Kevin Hollingsworth, outlined deficiencies in proposed changes to building control legislation. The issues outlined in the article are still relevant and it suggests  S.I.9 would appear to have been introduced by the Department of the Environment without regard to the objections of the SCSI.

Quote: “The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012 is the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s attempt to attend to the deficiencies in the current system, and is widely regarded by property professionals to be ill-conceived, uninsurable and unworkable.

This is alarming given the objections of Fine Gael’s own Oireachtas committee, along with the other key stakeholder involved in the formation of S.I.9, the representative body for architects (RIAI). The RIAI called on Ministers Hogan and Bruton to defer the legislation earlier this year (see links below).

Given the grave reservations both representative bodies had to the new regulations it will be interesting to see if recent developments post implementation e.g. the evolved form of S.I.9 , the acute fall-off in commencement notices, delays in capital spending, self-building ban etc., will inform SCSI and RIAI policy post now, 6 months post-implementation.

We are still awaiting a response to the questions submitted to the SCSI on 22 August 2014 and it will be interesting to get an update on their views.

Link to the Surveyor’s Journal article Here

Extract below:

___________

A Bad Act

KEVIN HOLLINGSWORTH outlines serious deficiencies in proposed changes to building control legislation.

A change to the way in which the building control system in Ireland is administered has been needed and requested by all property professionals for a considerable time. The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012 is the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government’s attempt to attend to the deficiencies in the current system, and is widely regarded by property professionals to be ill-conceived, uninsurable and unworkable.

So great is the concern regarding this Act, that prior to making the Society’s submission to the Department on the specifics of the legislation, the Society, the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, the Construction Industry Federation and the Association of Consulting Engineers in Ireland met and wrote a joint letter raising our concerns and requesting an extended consultation period and further round table discussions on the matter.

A parallel process for the preparation and agreement of the proposed code of practice referred to in the draft legislation should also be undertaken during the extended public consultation period, so that the code of practice can be in place prior to finalisation of certification requirements envisaged under the draft amendment regulations. Not having a completed code of practice prior to endorsing new mandatory inspection and certification obligations is inconceivable and unworkable.

Why the proposed legislation doesn’t work

Some of the specific issues regarding the legislation are outlined below:

The legislation requires full design drawings to be submitted at Commencement Notice. Full sets of detailed construction drawings are not and will not be available at Commencement Notice stage. The construction detail of many building elements is not finalised at Commencement Notice stage, nor is it practical to suggest that they can be finalised at this stage.

The current draft legislation does not allow for partial/phased completion certificates. Many buildings are completed to shell and core stage and then handed over to a prospective tenant or new owner to undertake their fit out. The legislation needs to account for this common occurrence in the construction industry.

Mechanism for Change of Inspector/Certifier for Project must be included in the legislation or code of practice. Even with the best will in the world, sometimes a change may be necessary due to accident, illness or disagreement. A mechanism must be established that will enable the appointment of an alternative certifier for a development, and specifiy how any new appointee can carry on the work of the previous certifier.

Domestic extensions are currently exempt under this draft legislation. Domestic work will most likely form a considerable sector of the construction industry for some time and the general public are the people who require most protection. We believe that any regulations should cover all construction work over carefully considered minimal thresholds and not just new buildings.

Certificate of Compliance

Of greatest concern to would-be certifiers is the statement on the draft Certificate of Compliance (at both Design and Completion stages):

“I certify… that the proposed design/building or works as completed is/are neither defective nor contravene any requirements of the Second Schedule of the Building Regulations”.

This statement implies strict liability, which is unworkable and uninsurable. If any registered surveyor, architect or chartered engineer signs a certificate with this statement included, he/she is stating that they have inspected all sections of the works. This means that they must be present at all times to ensure that there are no defects in the works. This will result in a massive cost to any client. It is also highly unlikely that any professional indemnity policy would cover such a far-reaching scope, and if it did it would most likely cost more than the building is worth.

As stated in our previous submission on The Building Control System Review and Recommendations 2011, milestone inspections will need to be undertaken by the certifier, such as:

  • Prior to pouring foundations.
  • Prior to pouring the ground floor slab.
  • Upon reaching wall plate level.
  • Prior to lining/closing up the walls internally.
  • Upon completion of finishes.

On completion of the works, a Certificate of Compliance will be issued and should include the following:

Fire Safety Certificates: inspection by the fire safety consultant who prepared the Fire Safety Certificate application should be required during the construction stage, and sign-off when construction is complete;

Air Tightness Certificate; and,

BER Certificate.

Conflict of interest and local authority involvement

The proposed new building control system also retains one major flaw from the current one: conflict of interest. The building owner will still be the paymaster of the certifier. This is an inherent flaw of any such self-certification system. On a similar point, throughout this legislation there is one notable absence: a strong role for the local authority apart from as a recipient of information. At present the building control officer is only required to inspect 15% of developments. It is a common perception among professionals that this requirement is not met, and it is hard to see how it could be met with some local authorities only retaining one employee to act as building control officer on a job share basis, e.g., half an employee.

We propose that building control officers should have a far greater role, carrying out, on up to 100% of developments, at least one of the milestone inspections. The cost of this could easily be borne by a reasonable increase in the Commencement Notice charge.

Having a building control system without an active role for the building control officer is not wise. There are some things that a government should retain an active role in, and ensuring that the inhabitants of the nation have safe and functional buildings is one of them. It is not a coincidence that the move away from the days of the bye laws inspections to self-regulation has coincided with the drop in the standard of construction.

The Society has now submitted its view on the draft legislation to the Department of the Environment, outlining the above and other views in more detail. Following on from this, the Building Surveying Professional Group will also be making a separate submission on recommendations to the Central Bank that they should compel all lending institutions to ensure that all of their lenders comply with any new building control legislation. In my opinion it is essential that the purse strings of this country play a leading role in building better homes and a better future for the people of this country.

Kevin Hollingsworth
Kevin is a Chartered Building Surveyor with McGovern Surveyors and Chairman of the Building Surveying Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.

Other posts of interest:

Fine Gael Report opposed new building regulations- 2013

DAVY Research: surprising fall in residential output Q2 2014

Commencement Notices | 6 months after S.I. 9

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus

Eoin O Cofaigh FRIAI- A changing landscape?

RTÉ Radio 1 Clip: RIAI confirms call for deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 

The compelling case for Deferral of BC(A)R SI.9 (2014) 

“Dangling Participles” and why all extensions may now require compliance with S.I.9: 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

dangling_participle

The following opinion piece was submitted on 16th September 2014 by Nigel Redmond, a Registered Building Surveyor. It is a follow-up comment on a previous post “ALERT | Owners may need Certifiers on porch extensions?“. Concerns continue to be raised about possible ambiguities in the wording of S.I. 9 and their implications for floor area calculations. Varying interpretations have already arisen between different Building Control Authorities. The writer sought a determination on this issue from the BCMS and a BCA but without success to date.

Why all extensions may now require compliance with S.I.9: 2014

Here is a quote from page 5 of S.I.9: 2014

(2) The requirements of paragraph (1)(b) shall apply to the following works and buildings-

(b) an extension to a dwelling involving a total floor area greater than 40 square metres,

I wish to point out that part (b) lacks complete clarity and can be interpreted in two different ways and possibly three.  The issue is the word ‘involving’. It is a ‘dangling participle’.  A ‘dangling participle’ modifies the wrong noun.

I give two examples of this:

“I saw the trailer peeking through the window”.

Presumably, this means the speaker was peeking through the window, but the placement of the clause “peeking through the window” makes it sound as though the trailer were doing so. The sentence can be recast as, “Peeking through the window, I saw the trailer.”

Similarly, in “She left the room fuming”, it is possibly the room, rather than “she”, that was fuming. It may be preferable to write “Fuming, she left the room”, to avoid any ambiguity.

In the case of the aforementioned part (b), the participle ‘involving’ could refer to (a) the dwelling, (b) the extension, or (c) both together after construction and it is not immediately obvious that total floor area of 40 square metres refers to one in particular.

It is acknowledged that the most likely intention of S.I.9: 2014, was to refer ‘involving’ to the extension itself, however a simple comma would had make this legally absolute:

i.e. an extension to a dwelling, involving a total floor area greater than 40 square metres,

or better still

an extension, involving a total floor area greater than 40 square metres, to a dwelling.

Part (b) has left the subject implied and Assigned Certifiers are taking for granted they know what it means.  This has clearly occurred due to the word ‘involving’, and is caused by the poor writing strategy to this part of the statutory document.

S.I.9: 2014 stands on its own two feet and Assigned Certifiers cannot rely upon the Code of Practice for its LEGAL clarification.  Extraordinarily, part (b) has now wrote into Law, that if the dwelling is over 40 square metres, any extension constructed to it, regardless of the extension size, requires compliance with S.I.9: 2014.  This beggars belief.

It is also important to point out that the wording to this section changed when amending S.I.80, so there is nowhere to claim it was overlooked.  It is what it is.

Assigned Certifiers now must turn to their respective professional bodies for clarification on this matter as well as the BCMS and the Department of the Environment.  It must be pointed out there is no retrospective compliance for illegal developments. Therefore, until this matter is clarified, a view could be taken that it is inadvisable for professionals to issue Commencement Notices, supervise and certify any extensions constructed to a 40 square metre plus dwelling house after March 1st 2014.

This now throws any extension planned to a dwelling house into complete disarray until part (b) is legally amended. Amending part (b) would confirm that hundreds of extensions have indeed been constructed since March 1st 2014 illegally. However this clarification  can instead be avoided by abandoning S.I.9: 2014.

__________

While this interpretation may leave many Assigned Certifiers “dangling” until it is resolved we would like to hear the views of our readers on this item.

Other posts of interest:

ALERT | Owners may need Certifiers on porch extensions?

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

SI.9 costs for a typical house

Fine Gael expert group opposed the introduction of new regulations

Bank of Ireland | Confusion over S.I.9 Building Regulations

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9? 

The self build world has been thrown into disarray

Dispensations and Transition Arrangements

New Planning and Construction Legislation | due September 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

hurricaneisabel

Despite the BRegs Blog’s best efforts, it is proving difficult to get the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) to focus their attention on the shortcomings of the S.I.9 Building Control Regulations. It appears as if all hands on the DECLG decks are currently focused on drafting new construction and planning legislation and a possible ‘Statement of Strategy’ for the recently appointed Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D. These are scheduled to be published later this month.

An indication of the possible new legislation being considered was given an overview in the ‘Activities + Structures’ document published in July 2014 by the DECLG. It is likely that the following matters will now be addressed:

Minister Kelly is scheduled to address the Irish Planning Institute’s (IPI) Autumn Conference ‘Planning in a Time of Change’ being held on 10th October 2014 when more may be revealed. The IPI President, Mary Hughes, blogged earlier this month:

“We have new legislation to look forward to in the next few weeks, including a Construction Bill and a Planning Bill (which delegates at the Autumn Conference in Dublin will learn more about next month).

That is a lot of new legislation for the newly appointed Minister of the Environment, Community & Local Government Alan Kelly to get his head around.

It is also a lot of new legislation for construction professionals to get their heads around as they struggle to get to grips with the ongoing fallout from S.I. 9. The BRegs Blog is not aware of any detailed bulletins from other professional bodies or any indications of their involvement or submissions on the upcoming new legislation at the time of writing.

Link is to IPI blog published on 1st September 2014:

Link to IPI Autumn Conference programme:

Other posts of interest:

Inadequate Regulatory Impact Assessment for S.I.9

Recent revisions to GCCC form of contract.

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read

For Practical Post Series 1-20

3 must-read posts for employees

Summary of Legal Posts – BC(A)R SI.9

Engineers Ireland Journal | S.I.9 “is an opportunity to enhance the reputation of the building sector”

by Bregs Blog admin team

Cormac-620x350

After many unsuccessful ‘shout outs’ for pro-S.I. 9 articles to post over the past ten months the BRegs Blog has, at last, uncovered a relatively pro-S.I. 9 piece published on 15th September 2014 on the Engineers Ireland Journal’s website.

The piece was written by Cormac Bradley, who with two others, represented Engineers Ireland in the consultation process initiated by the Department of the Environment for the BC(A)R. He was the single Engineers Ireland representative on the Working Group that drafted the associated Code of Practice and the subsequent smaller working group formed by the ACEI, EI, RIAI and SCSI to draft and agree a common suite of Ancillary Certificates for BC(A)R for the design professions.

The piece as published is almost 3,000 words so we have extracted a few quotes below. Bradley describes advising on a self-build project which makes for interesting reading particularly in view of the “almost constant contact” the self-builders had with the Building Control Authority. Here is a link to the full original piece: (LINK:).

Don’t forget to submit your questions for Engineers Ireland (and ACEI) for tomorrow.

Quotes from Engineers Ireland Journal:

  • Introduction

“No précis on the consultation process would be accurate if it did not record the fact that the new regime of building control has not been greeted with universal accord…“

  • Ancillary Certificates

“Since the 1 March introduction of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R), the four ‘design’ institutions have continued with meetings to develop the Ancillary Certificates that go with the Building Control Regulations and the associated Code of Practice. As with the original consultation process, not all the parties agreed initially, but ultimately the wording and format for the Ancillary Certificates to be used by design professionals was signed off by the four institutions with a further undertaking that no changes to these certificates would be made without the agreement of all four bodies. In parallel, the CIF has developed its own Ancillary Certificates to be used by the contracting fraternity”

  • Self –build

“In one case on which I was asked to advise, the Building Owner and Builder were the same person and shared the same surname as the Design Certifier and the Assigned Certifier, who again were the one individual. The four roles were, in fact, being shared by two brothers. The latter individual (DC & AC) could not understand why the local authority was in almost constant contact with him on the details of the building project and, further, did not understand why the local authority had chosen to visit the site without reference to him in his PSDP capacity.

In the Code of Practice, it is stated that the Assigned Certifier will be the principal point of contact for the local authority. There is no reference to a PSDP in the Code of Practice. This undertaking is from a completely separate suite of legislation.

There had been much voiced protest by potential self-builders that the new Regulations would prevent owners doing their own building works and the Minister went to great pains to explain that this practice was not being outlawed, but that there were additional responsibilities attached to this undertaking under the new regime of building control.

The example cited here is indicative of the confusion that potential self-builders generated…”

  • Employees

“For design practices, the appointment of employees to the Assigned Certifier position will require a review of the Professional Indemnity Insurances to ensure that the actions of an Assigned Certifier, when his/her appointment is approved by the practice, are covered by PII. For the individual appointee, there will be the requirement to have their appointment confirmed in writing by their employer so that PII cover is not questioned in the context of a subsequent action for negligence.

Likewise, design practices will have to decide on how Assigned Certifiers and Ancillary Certifiers are qualified to take on these distinct roles – an Assigned Certifier will be expected to sign a Certificate of Compliance on Completion in an individual capacity but with the sanction of their employer, whereas an Ancillary Certificate will be prepared by a designer but signed by a Director or Principal of the company employing the designer”

  • Building Control Authority

“In an era of reduced inspection resources, Building Control Authorities (BCA) will conduct their on-site inspections of building projects on the basis of risk analysis. Thus, where the information in the Commencement Notice or the statutory appointments required by the new Regulations or the information submitted to the Building Control Authority is deficient, ambiguous or incomplete, or the progressive submission of information and certification is not appropriate, the project can expect to come under the microscope of the BCA”

Other posts of interest:

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates 

S.I.9 Stakeholders | Your questions please for Engineers

Who should be a Certifier- Part 3: Chartered Engineers + Building Surveyors?

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June 

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read

The Engineers Journal: how BC(A)R SI.9 works in practice

The Engineers Journal: Building control regulations key features

The Engineers Journal- CIF’s new register of builders 

Practical post 26: Design changes on site?

by Bregs Blog admin team

26wall

Practical post 26: Design changes on site? 

Our recent post from Building Control Management System  (Part 3 Link) says that:

“Design changes are notified in the Annex to the Certificate of Compliance on Completion and may be notified to the Building Control Authority after submission of the valid Commencement Notice during the Construction process by the Assigned Certifier”. [emphasis by Bregs Blog]

The Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Works says:

“Where elements of the Design have not been completed, these should be clearly set out with an undertaking that when complete, these too will be certified and submitted to the Building Control Authority”. [emphasis by Bregs Blog]

So that’s clear. At the end. Maybe not?

The Framework for Local Authorities says that when Technical Assessment is carried out by Building Control it “may be appropriate to request the updating of this documentation to include such changes as may have occurred subsequent to Commencement” (Link )

So that’s a maybe.

Advice from the professional body for architects, the RIAI, suggests that design changes have to be certified before the change is built. The wording on builder’s undertaking confirms this.

Are design changes are to be uploaded by the Assigned Certifier at completion or uploaded during the job by the Design Certifier?

Where one person is undertaking the role of Design and Assigned Certifier this may not be an issue. However where there is a separate appointment of an Assigned Certifier, as per current RIAI policy, this may be an issue. Also given that currently there is no way for a Design Certifier to access the BCMS it would appear that the Design Certifier is unable to upload design changes in advance of construction at site stage.

Confused? …We are! 

Answers on a postcard please…?

________

Other Posts in this series:

Practical post 25: Septic Tanks | Waste Water Treatment 

Practical Post 24: New Part K & J of Building Regulations

Practical post 23: Design Build contracts- need a barge pole?

Practical post 22: Change of Owner

Practical post 21: Variations 

For Practical Post Series 1-20 

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working under the new regulations. 

Opinion: “the architectural profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9”

by Bregs Blog admin team

Open Letter RIAI

The following letter was sent to the President of the representative body for architects (RIAI) by David McHugh MRIAI, one of the signatories of the recent RIAI EGM motion debated on 12th August 2014. The letter was forwarded on to us here on 15th September 2014. 

______________

Dear President,

As one of the proposers of the motion that the Institute should adopt as its first priority a policy that S.I. 9 be revoked and be replaced by better legislation, I fully respect all the members’ right to support or oppose the motion as they see fit, and the postponement /adjournment of the recent EGM has in effect frustrated the democratic right of the membership as a whole to decide this important matter.

So, please, publish the date for the reconvened EGM and let the members decide.

On the issue of the motion, I need to point out that this is not an “either or” motion, but is a “both and” strategy.

Publicly pointing out the need for replacement of a deeply flawed piece of legislation is not inconsistent with promoting a replacement. It is, in my view, being honest and consistent.

I believe there is a need to tell the truth here: it is clear that the Department of the Environment is promoting the position that it is all fine, and that there are just a few cranks and troublemakers within the profession opposing the system, when in fact an unprecedented attendance at both EGMs clearly shows that the profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9, and the RIAI executive has, by its public silence, aligned itself with the Department’s strategy.

I know that I speak for a significant number of members who feel completely betrayed by the Institute in their secretive conduct in negotiating and ushering in and even welcoming S.I.9.

I was shocked to be told by the Practice Director that the RIAI has no function in advising the members on whether and on what terms they should accept or refuse appointments as DC [Design Certifier] or AC [Assigned Certifier], all in the face of clear legal advice from several quarters of the very serious risks associated.

Is it any wonder that , as your recent column in Architecture Ireland says, there is a perception abroad now that the RIAI no longer represents its members’ interests ?

If it is indeed the case as you infer in your article that “policy and other maters in our members interest are decided at that Council table and not elsewhere”, one wonders what is the point of having any EGM or AGM, if  the membership cannot direct the Council policy.

On this much I hope we can agree, let the members have their say now and let the Council and executive listen .

Regards

David McHugh

Other posts of interest:

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus 

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

S.I. 9 and Insurance Claims: Deirdre Lennon MRIAI

S.I. 9 and Construction Products: Orla Hegarty MRIAI RIBA

Vivian Cummins MRIAI: Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

Shrapnel and Spin – Caomhán Murphy MRIAI

Eoin O’Cofaigh: missed opportunity? BC(A)R SI.9

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

Minister Hogan’s departure- Does this mean somebody can now shout STOP?

IAOSB Letter to Minister Alan Kelly

by Bregs Blog admin team

letter5

The following letter was sent to the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly T.D., by the representative body for self-builders (IAOSB) on 15th September 2014. 

________

Dear Minister Kelly,

I am writing to you regarding Building Control (Amendment) Regulations: S.I.9 of 2014 which came to effect on 1st of March 2014.

This new regulation was the answer by then Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D., to ensure properties are safe and compliant with Building Regulations. According to Mr. Hogan, this Amendment would stop situations like Priory Hall and Pyrite problems and give extra protection to home owners against bad workmanship by Building Contractors. The idea sounded great but like all his other policies it has done nothing but make life more difficult for the people of Ireland.

Self-building has been a major sector of all the house’s built in our country in the past decade and I am sorry to tell you that since the commencement of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I.9 it has denied many of us the centuries old Irish tradition of building a house for ourselves and our families.

Under the rules of S.I 9, self-builders will have to employ a certified professional (Architect, Engineer, Building Surveyor) to design the house for them and then an Assigned Certifier to sign off each section of the build to confirm that it has been built according to the Regulations. Perfect, a supervised build under the eyes of the professionals. However, like other thousands of self builders in Ireland we would be grateful if you could let us know the contact details and locations of these Certifiers as they are almost non-existent. From the feedback that we have been receiving, as soon as your so called Design and Assigned Certifiers hear the word “Self-Build” the conversation ends as none of them are prepared to endanger their business by signing off the certifications needed for the build in case something goes wrong. Before the commencement day of S.I.9, the RIAI President, representing the Architects of Ireland, protested to Minister Hogan and raised concern about the possible consequences this amendment might bring but this was ignored by the Minister.

According to Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Building Control (Amendment) Regulation: S.I.9 of 2014 was needed to give protection to self-builders should something go wrong. However, by not having any professional committed to the build, all that S.I.9 has done is to make it a lot more difficult for them to build and make the dream of owning their own house a thing of the past. What S.I.9 has done is like giving a man a brand new car with all the extra safety features designed for the protection of the family but then ruining it by putting a clamp on all four wheels. There is no point having this car if it does not go anywhere.

Self-builders of Ireland have been let down by your department and this government. Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014 is a joke and not even a funny one. It needs to be revoked or revised otherwise the option of Self-Building will be gone for many families in Ireland.

Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I.9 of 2014 has failed and you need to take action now.

I would be grateful to you if you do not reply with false promises and politically correct answers like the ones we have had in the past two years from Mr Hogan.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of Self Builder

www.iaosb.com

Other posts of interest:

S.I. 9 | Self-builders – 6 months’ update

The self build world has been thrown into disarray

Self Builder petition- BC(A)R SI.9

Eoin O Cofaigh FRIAI- A changing landscape?

SI.9 costs for a typical house

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

Law Society response to self-builders

Self building, self-regulation & the consumer

Senator Mooney- BC(A)R SI.9

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents 

 

Fine Gael Report opposed new building regulations- 2013

by Bregs Blog admin team

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Pictured Paudie Coffey TD, new Junior Minister for Housing

As a follow up to a recent post noting Fine Gael’s expert committe opposition to SI.9 (see link here), we table more background information on this. The official 57 page report was submitted in July 2013 on the registration of the title of architect under the new regulations. There is no mention of Senator Cáit Keane’s early warning to Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the defects in the new building regulations, subsequently introduced by former Minister Phil Hogan in March 2014. Download report here (link)

PDF of report here: Report-on-the-Title-of-Architect-2

Minister Phil Hogan’s answer in the report to concerns raised by the Committee:

I am satisfied that the reforms proposed including the lodgement of drawings, inspection by registered professionals and statutory certification will result in the necessary improvement in the quality of buildings ….

The merits of a designer overseeing the implementation of their design cannot be overlooked…. Enforcement powers under the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2007 continue to be vested in the local building control authorities and it is here that independence is called for and in place.

Former Minister Hogan’s answer on 28th February 2013 to Clare Daly (referred to in Report) in full can be seen here (Link:)

I am satisfied that the reforms proposed including the lodgement of drawings, inspection by registered professionals and statutory certification will result in the necessary improvement in the quality of buildings and ensure that homeowners in particular are delivered the quality of homes they expect and deserve.

It is not clear what useful purpose would be served by imposing a requirement for independent design, construction and certification along the lines suggested. The merits of a designer overseeing the implementation of their design cannot be overlooked. Neither is there any intention to constrain the capacity of all-in service delivery models in key sectors of the industry. Enforcement powers under the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2007 continue to be vested in the local building control authorities and it is here that independence is called for and in place

We note, on the last page of the report, that Fine Gael members of the expert committee include the newly appointed Minister for Housing includes Paudie Coffey TD, new Junior Minister for Housing.

We wonder have any representative key stakeholders made any formal representations to the new Minister for Housing on the problems associated with SI.9 since implementation?

The new Minister for Housing may be in a position to influence matters now in his new role.

Here is a list of members of the Committee:

Appendix 3. MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE

  • Mr James Bannon TD (Fine Gael)
  • Mr Paudie Coffey TD (Fine Gael)
  • Mr Noel Coonan (Fine Gael) Leas-Chathaoirleach
  • Ms Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD (Fine Gael)
  • Mr Barry Cowen TD (Fianna Fáil)
  • Mr Luke Flanagan TD (Independent)
  • Mr Kevin Humphreys TD (Labour)
  • Mr Michael Mc Carthy TD (Labour) Cathaoirleach
  • Mr Tony Mc Loughlin TD (Fine Gael)
  • Ms Michelle Mulherin TD (Fine Gael)
  • Ms Catherine Murphy TD (Independent)
  • Mr Gerald Nash TD (Labour)
  • An t-Uasal Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD (Fianna Fáil)
  • Mr Brian Stanley TD (Sinn Féin)
  • An t-Uasal Peadar Tóibín TD (Sinn Féin)
  • Senator Cáit Keane (Fine Gael)
  • Senator Denis Landy (Labour)
  • An Seanadóir Fiach Mac Conghail (Neamhspleách)
  • Senator Catherine Noone (Fine Gael)
  • An Seanadóir Labhrás Ó Murchú (Fianna Fáil)
  • Senator Ned O’Sullivan (Fianna Fáil)

Practical post 25: Septic Tanks | Waste Water Treatment – BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

GTO Septic System Picture

Practical post 25: Septic Tanks & Waste Water under the new Building Control Regulations

Septic tanks come under Part H of the building regulations. Anyone constructing a new house (or extending by more than 40m2) after 1 March 2014 which has a septic tank or other waste water treatment systems will need to comply with new requirements.

Part H is here:  Publications Development and Housing-BuildingStandards.pdf

The EPA Code of Practice is at http://www.epa.ie/mobile/

Under the new regulations, the design of the system will have to be certified by a competent person before the Commencement Notice is lodged. This construction of the system will have to be inspected during construction and certified at completion.

Design and Assigned Certifiers for these projects need to make sure that ‘competent persons’ sign these Ancillary Certificates at Commencement and Completion and that the installer has PI insurance for any defective design.

Anyone replacing an existing system (who is not building or extending a house at the same time) is exempt from these new controls.

________

Other Posts in this series:

Practical Post 24: New Part K & J of Building Regulations

Practical post 23: Design Build contracts- need a barge pole?

Practical post 22: Change of Owner

Practical post 21: Variations 

For Practical Post Series 1-20 

NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these practical posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working under the newregulations. 

RIAI S.I.9 CLIENT GUIDANCE NOTE – 1 Sep 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

advice

The representative body for architects (RIAI) issued the following updated Client guidance note on BC(A)R S.I.9 on 1st September 2014.

THE BUILDING CONTROL (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS, S.I. 9 

CLIENT GUIDANCE NOTE 

What are the Building Regulations? 

The Building Regulations are a set of legal requirements for the design and construction of new buildings; and extensions, material alterations and certain changes of use of existing buildings.

What are the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations? 

In March 2014 the Government introduced new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R) that set out new procedures for the control of building activity. The regulations apply to most building works (including new houses, house extensions over 40m2, and any building works which require a fire safety certificate) and may affect the cost of projects and their duration.

Who is the Building Owner? 

The “Building Owner” is the person who has commissioned or paid for the works and who has legal entitlement to have such works carried out on their behalf.

What are the Building Owner’s New Obligations under BC(A)R? 

Building owners will be required to appoint, for almost any building or works starting from March 2014 onward, a Design Certifier and an Assigned Certifier as well as a competent Builder. The building owner’s obligations include:

-Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Design Team to design the new building in accordance the Building Regulations

-Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Builder to construct the new building in accordance the Building Regulations

-Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Assigned Certifier who will prepare an Inspection Plan, inspect and certify, with the Builder, that the new building, when complete, is built in accordance the Building Regulations

-Ensure that adequate resources are made available to design, construct, inspect and certify the building works

-Where the Assigned Certifier or Builder withdraws from the project, for whatever reason; promptly appoint a replacement Assigned Certifier or Builder and give notice to the Building Control Authority of the new assignment

-Maintain records

What is a Competent Person? 

A competent person must possess sufficient training, experience and knowledge appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken, taking account of the size, nature or complexity of the building or works.

What is a Design Certifier? 

A Design Certifier is the person appointed by the Building Owner to design and coordinate the design by others. A Design Certifier must be a registered architect, chartered engineer or a registered building surveyor.

What is an Assigned Certifier? 

An Assigned Certifier is the person appointed by the Building Owner to inspect and certify the building works and to coordinate the certification by others including the builder. An Assigned Certifier must be a registered architect, a chartered engineer or a registered building surveyor.

Will my Architect always be the Assigned Certifier? 

The RIAI recommends that the appointment as Assigned Certifier is always an appointment separate from that as Architect. Your Architect may provide this service, or not, similar to the PSDP (Project Supervisor Design Process) role.

Who can act as the Builder? 

A person undertaking the role of the Builder must be competent to undertake that role. The Government is committed to establishing a statutory Register of Builders, and a voluntary Register is already in place (https://ciri.ie/).

I am a Self-Builder, can I undertake the role of the Builder? 

A person can self-build only if they are competent to undertake that role. Competence is defined as a person who possesses sufficient training, experience and knowledge of the project task.

What must happen before the new building can be occupied? 

The building may not be occupied until the completion documents have been accepted by the building control authority and the project entered on the Register. A Certificate of Compliance on Completion must be lodged on the BCMS (Building Control Management System), together with documents which show alterations from those originally lodged, and a completed Inspection Plan showing what inspections were undertaken. In addition, it is expected that the Assigned Certifier will submit Ancillary Certificates on which they relied from specialist designers, subcontractors and the like.

What happens if I start a project on site without registering it on the BCMS? 

If you start a project without registering it on BCMS you will have committed an offence. There is no provision in the Regulations to retrospectively submit a Commencement Notice. You should consult your solicitor as this will affect your ability to sell or let your premises.

My project does not come under the New Regulations; do I need to submit a Commencement Notice? 

In many cases, a commencement notice will still be required, for instance a domestic extension under 40 sq.m. to which a planning permission attaches, or an alteration to an office to which a Fire Safety Certificate does not apply. In these cases the Building Owner, Designer and Builder will be placed on the system, but there is no Assigned Certifier nor are any notices or certificates outlined above submitted. As before, in all cases, the Commencement Notice must be submitted between 14 and 28 days before construction is due to commence.

Where can I find more information? 

Your Architect can provide you with specific advice in relation to your project. Prior to commencing a project, Building Owners are advised to read the BC(A)R Code of Practice for inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works. (Further information can be found at www.riai.ie).

RIAI, August 2014 

Other RIAI posts: Breg Blog: RIAI archive

top 7 for 7- 12th September 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

windows-7-wallpaper---number-7-1280x800

top 7 for 7-  12th September 2014

Here is a list of the 7 most popular posts for this week on the Bregs Blog. An editorial piece on comments received from larger architectural practices is the most popular post.

  • Larger more established multi-disciplinary practices currently would appear not to be undertaking the new roles under SI.9, instead opting to sub-contract out the role of Assigned Certifier to a separate third party. A number of larger practices also are looking at making the appointment of design certifier separate also. We have been informed of a Competition Authority complaint on restrictive practice of making joint appointments or architect and assigned certifier on public projects.
  • The falling trend in commencement notices continues this month with our update on Building Control Management System official numbers for commencements registered. We noted the level registered in the first 6 months of SI9 was 60% the level of 2013, a low point in construction activity.
  • An opinion piece by a construction professional on the challenges to self-building under the new regulations made for compelling reading. Essentially phased completions of dwellings would appear to be no longer possible, pushing affordability for many self-builders further out of reach.
  • Current conflicting and contradictory advice from the Department and a number of Local Authorities on the cumulative nature of the 40M2 exemption on residential extensions was a popular topic. The knock-on effect of this advice, if correct, is that there may be extensive invalid projects now underway under SI9.
  • In the absence of any formal advice on a detailed breakdown of services required for Design and Assigned Certifier roles, the Blog undertook to assemble inputs from various specialist certifier contributors to schedule out an initial list of duties required under the new regulations.
  • The fall in residential completions vs increased commencements at the start of this year was a puzzling statistic from the CSO, according to a Davy report issued this week. The blog believes this is due to many commencements pre march being “on paper not on the shovel”. These were projects where notices were lodged to beat the implementation date, and not actually started.
  • In our final post we noted a blitz currently being undertaken by the HSA on sites this month.

Posts listed in order of reader popularity. Enjoy!

  1. S.I.9 | What large firms are doing 
  2. Commencement Notices | 6 months after S.I. 9
  3. The self build world has been thrown into disarray
  4. ALERT | Owners may need Certifiers on porch extensions?
  5. SI9 Schedule of duties for Certifiers
  6. DAVY Research: surprising fall in residential output Q2 2014
  7. Construction Site Inspections – BLITZ 8 September 2014

Other top posts:

Top 7 for 7- September 5th 2014

Top 7 for 7- August 30th 2014

Top 7 for 7- August 23rd 2014

Top Posts for July 2014

Top 20 Breg Blog posts for June 2014.

Top 10 for June 7th | BRegs Blog

Top 12 posts- week ending 31st May

TOP 10 for the week ending 17th May 2014

Top 7 posts for the week-10th May

CIF publishes pre-budget submission

by Bregs Blog admin team

cif 1.pdf [Converted]

The following budget submission was published on the CIF website on 22nd August 2014- see link:

Extract:

HOUSING SUPPLY COULD DOUBLE WITHIN 2 YEARS – CIF

The supply of housing could double within 2 years if the Government were to follow 7 simple steps, according to the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).  The CIF has suggested that these measures could see 20,000 housing units built a year by 2016, curtailing the excessive prices rises in the Dublin housing market.

The 7 steps proposed by the CIF are:

  1. Create incentives for new home purchasers such as a property tax rebate, a partial rebate of the development levies paid to developers and additional tax allowances for first time buyers.
  2. Replace Part V with a 1% levy across the sales of all housing – new and old.
  3. Introduce a temporary 9% VAT rate for residential construction.
  4. Create a special development finance fund.
  5. Establish a ‘Help to Buy’ scheme
  6. Create a tax incentivised special savings scheme.
  7. Restore full interest relief for investment in residential property for letting purposes.

This year it is expected that 10,000 housing units will be built nationwide.  This is despite the Government and the ESRI stating that 25,000 units need to be built every year.

Speaking about the plan, the CIF’s Director General Tom Parlon said, “Everyone knows there is a supply issue when it comes to housing in this country.  We’ve had so little building taking place over recent years that there simply aren’t enough houses to meet the demand. If these 7 steps were followed it would have a transformative impact on house building in this country.  By introducing these measures we believe the country would get a supply of housing fit to meet its needs.  It would end the rapid house price rises we are currently facing in Dublin – rises which are likely to continue until we start building sufficient housing for the property market.”

“Some of the measures would greatly reduce the cost of house building.  For example, if the Part V development contribution was to be replaced by a 1% levy on all house purchases it would ensure sufficient funding for social and affordable housing, while also reducing the cost to those looking to build and buy new homes.  Why should this tax be specifically geared only towards new housing as is currently the case?

“We also believe that the Government should look at some measures to help house buyers.  They could extend the availability of the property tax rebate for purchasers for the first 5 years of occupation.  For a limited period they could also give a partial rebate of development levies to home purchasers when they pay for new housing.  This will make houses more affordable and encourage more people to buy new houses and apartments.

“In terms of getting more builders on site, another step would be to introduce a special fund providing development finance.  This would help smaller builders to deliver units in key growth areas and could support the construction of up to 5,000 units.

The proposals are included in the CIF’s Pre Budget Submission to Government.  The submission also contains a range of other measures aimed at building employment in the sector and growing construction activity.

Some of the other proposals include:

  • Extend the Home Renovation Incentive limited to €50,000, while also prolonging the lifetime of the scheme.
  • Revise the apprentice training programme to encourage more people to pursue apprenticeships by combining phases 1 & 2 into a non sponsored route.
  • Activate the LivingCity initiative.
  • Abolish the special tax rate on the rezoning of land.

“The Government has made it clear that they want to see the construction sector grow and to double in size over the coming years,” said Mr. Parlon.  “Achieving that target will require action to encourage construction activity.  If we want to see more construction in this country then policies will have to be implemented and funding provided.  How serious the Government is about growing our sector will be seen in the forthcoming Budget.  Only then will we know if there is meat behind the Government’s construction strategy,” Mr. Parlon concluded.

download PDF – Here

Other posts of interest:

DAVY Research: surprising fall in residential output Q2 2014 

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

Commencement Notices | 6 months after S.I. 9

Press: Number of new homes built this year will fall short by 6,000

Construction Recovery- watch this space

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started

S.I. 9 | Self-builders – 6 months’ update

by Bregs Blog admin team

intro

“When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stone-cutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” – Jacob A. Riis

__________________

Dear Bregs Team,

After reading Mr. Eoin O’Cofaigh’s informative opinion piece – ‘A changing landscape?’, I decided to update you regarding our situation as self builders. For us, at the moment, the landscape has most definitely changed…one can no longer self build in Ireland (no matter how many times the Department say otherwise!).  Myself and Raymond finally were granted full planning permission, which is usually a most celebratory day, however, for us, the mood was sombre. Six months on, and we are still in shock as to how on earth Ireland can be the only country in the world to outlaw self building.  We received an Assigned Certifier quote from our own architect – this amounted to €7,380 incl VAT 23% – which, even heavily discounted, is a multiple of Minister Hogan’s now infamous “one to three thousand” estimate! But, for us, the real blow is what our architect goes on to say in the quote – “..on the assumption that a competent building contractor is appointed…” – this is the straw that breaks the self builder’s back – the necessity for a competent building contractor.  Myself and Raymond are well competent enough to manage the build of our family home and for anyone to presume that we are not, is deeply upsetting.

S.I.9 is flawed for many reasons, but for self builders, the deepest flaw is the word ‘competent’.  There are no schools for builders, no State examination for contractors – so how can one judge another’s competence? They cannot. The three past projects that CIRI requires for registration is nonsensical also, as the main contractor is most probably not the actual builder of those projects. In fact, it is most likely that the true builders of those projects now construct beautiful homes in Canada!  Ireland is rife with ‘briefcase builders’ – mere managers of builds – S.I.9 does not ensure or guarantee that these businessmen will construct sound buildings – S.I.9, at the very most, guarantees that the main contractor has an up-to-date insurance and tax clearance certificate, not a certificate of qualification in any aspect of construction.

Even if self builders were ‘lucky’ enough to find an Assigned Certifier who was willing to act for them, there is still the massive elephant in the room – the Certificates of Completion and the Undertaking by Builder that needs to be signed. I might add that the builder signs this absolute legal declaration that he is ‘competent’ – surely this is unlawful when there is no examination for competency.   We are not principals or directors of building companies, so we cannot sign legal documents claiming to be so.  To say that we have major reservations about making a completely false declaration on an official document is an understatement.  There is an array of serious problems that could arise in the future regarding this issue.  What if the Certificate was overturned and we could never re-mortgage the house, or sell the house? The same can be said further down the line when we are gone and our children may wish to sell the house….they will be prevented from doing so because we signed these documents fraudulently.  There is no going back under S.I.9 – it is as concrete as the foundations. It does not allow for errors – even genuine ones.

There is also the issue of one not being permitted to move into the new home until it is certified ‘complete’. This is a major cost factor for most families as traditionally many self builders would complete as much as they could and move in and complete the rest as circumstances allowed. As my father-in-law says, “self-builders build according to their purse”. This is very important and under S.I.9 this is now denied to us.  We may not have the finances to fully complete all the bedrooms, the outside path or flooring and wish to do so once we have moved in – the snag list self builder style is now gone!

What will happen if an insurance claim arises on the new home in the future? The insurance company will not have far to look to find a get out clause for themselves. They will be most happy to inform the self-builder that the house was not constructed by a principal or director of a building company and therefore any claim is void !

S.I.9 is an absolute nightmare for anyone who had intended to self build a home in Ireland – the three parts to the nightmare that crush the dream of building a home are:

  1. The need for a ‘competent‘ building contractor to be employed
  2. The Assigned and Design Certifiers’ fees
  3. The requirement for the house to be certified ‘complete’

The cost of these three parts add up to a home that would cost far, far more than the self builder had ever envisaged thus rendering the project obsolete – how very sad.

Since March 1st, I have written numerous letters to everyone I could think of, from local representatives to President Higgins himself, telling them of the difficulties that self builders face now under S.I.9.  Some positive developments have arisen from my letters, for example, Sligo County Council passed a motion to write to Minister Kelly for an immediate revoke of S.I.9, so all is not lost!  I have yet to write to Minister Kelly, but will do! Our hopes were high also, when we heard of the RIAI EGM on August 12th, and then dashed again when we heard that no vote went ahead that day.

While I understand that for Assigned Certifiers, S.I.9 causes a whole raft of issues, for the self builder, there really is only one issue: you can no longer self-build.  So, we have no intention of giving up our fight for S.I.9 to be revoked and just like the stone-cutter we will continue the little ‘blows’, and please God with the final blow, our beautiful dream home will become reality!

__________________

Other posts of interest:

The self build world has been thrown into disarray

Self Builder petition- BC(A)R SI.9

Eoin O Cofaigh FRIAI- A changing landscape?

SI.9 costs for a typical house

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

Law Society response to self-builders

Self building, self-regulation & the consumer

Senator Mooney- BC(A)R SI.9

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents 

Bank of Ireland | Confusion over S.I.9 Building Regulations

by Bregs Blog admin team

24

by BRegs Blog on 12th September 2014

Bank of Ireland has produced a new mortgage form in relation to the draw down of stage payments for house building projects. It  is labelled “Assigned Certifier’s Report (Architect’s / Engineer’s Report). It seeks to address the new operating procedures following the introduction of S.I. 9 but seems to be as impractical as its pre-S.I.9 version. It appears to have been prepared in conjunction with the Law Society who were not involved as a stakeholder with the drafting of the  S.I. 9 legislation. There does not appear to have been any involvement with the approved professional groups, ACEI, EI, RIAI and SCSI, which is a lost opportunity for anyone who is attempting to implement this legislation.

The new Bank of Ireland  ‘Assigned Certifier’s Report’ (copy below) is probably intended as an update under S.I.9 but it might cause more problems than it solves as:

  • Non-registered professionals who were previously permitted to do stage payment ‘sign off’ are now excluded, even though there is nothing in law to justify this. (To add to the confusion they are still listed on the form even though they cannot be Assigned Certifiers for the Building Control Authorities).
  • Architectural Technologists and others are being excluded from work that it is perfectly legal for them to do so. The bank may be challenged on this by customers who have already committed to building.
  • Assigned Certifiers (who are specialist experts in technical compliance) are asked to estimate costs, even though this is not part of their defined responsibilities;
  • Assigned Certifiers are required to sign a declaration that “I will SUPERVISE construction at all stages”, even though Professional Indemnity Insurance does not cover site supervision of the builder;
  • It makes no allowance for the Assigned Certifier’s fees.
  • The wording of the new document is contradictory and suggests that unregistered persons may be acceptable to sign off as an ‘Assigned Certifier” in breach of the new regulations.

In previous posts (link) we have discussed the problems for Architectural Technologists and others who do not qualify as registered architects, registered building surveyors or chartered engineers under the new regulations. Before 1 March 2014 the lending institutions accepted ‘sign off’ for drawing down payments during a house build from a range of professionals. In agreement with the Law Society this included:

  1. Persons who are on the Register of Architects
  2. Persons who have been in practice as architects or engineers on their own account for 10 years
  3. Qualified Engineers practicing in the construction industry
  4. Qualified Building Surveyors practicing in the construction industry
  5. Persons from another jurisdiction in the European Union whose qualification is entitled to recognition in Ireland under the Architects Directive.

Clearly the role of Assigned and Design Certifier need to be separated out from the role of project manager/architect/engineer on their standard documentation to avoid confusion. Otherwise owners may be in the unenviable position of having a completion invalidated if unregistered project managers start occupying the new roles under S.I.9. This is a matter that the Bank of Ireland and the relevant professional groups need to address immediately (other banks please note).

PDF of form: Works Report

Jpeg: BOI works form 1.pdf [Converted]BOI works form 2.pdf [Converted]

 

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

by Bregs Blog admin team

Burning-Euro

Based on current information it is estimated that S.I.9 could cost the economy  €532 million per year for residential projects alone. To put it another way that is a 21.6% surcharge on every single home completed, for which the consumer has no tangible benefit.

In February 2014 we did an overview of the possible cost of S.I.9 to the economy. Now, six  months on, we have updated this review and will look at the various sectors of the construction industry.

In this first post we concentrate on the residential sector. We have drawn on recent information from the representative body for self-builders (IAOSB best estimate from their membership), current market rates for construction and the additional workload estimated by construction professional bodies and specialists. The following costs excludes all domestic non-qualifying extensions/ refurbishments in accordance with Building Control Management System (BCMS) data to date.

BC(A)R S.I.9 ANNUAL COST FOR RESIDENTIAL PROJECTS (€2.464bn qualifying)

  • Self-build houses abandoned (800 houses @ €180k each )=      €144m
  • Increased costs for self-builders- (€2.464bn /3) @ 22% =          €181m
  • Increased costs for consumer (2/3 x €2.464bn) @ 11%=           €181m
  • Delays due to validation procedure 3-5 weeks (€3k each)=        €26m
  • TOTAL S.I.9 RESIDENTIAL COST (annual costs) –                €532m

As the current construction levels are assumed to be at the bottom of the current cycle these S.I.9 costs should pro-rata upwards as construction output recovers in coming years i.e. annual S.I.9 cost will increase in line with increasing output. The number of self-build projects abandoned or postponed will increase significantly once the contractors’ register (CIRI) becomes mandatory from 2015 onwards (25 % may rise to 40%: source IAOSB).

Do the benefits of S.I.9 outweigh the costs? We will do a similar updated estimate for non-residential projects in a second post next week.

_____________

Assumptions in compiling the above figures:

  • Commencement figures verified with the Building Control Management System (BCMS) to date indicate completions will be at best similar to 2012 at 8,700 (optimistic) – this is dependent on current levels improving significantly.
  • Figures are based on 2012 construction outputs from a Forfás report (table 2.12 (p16) Value and volume of construction output, 2012-2012E; Source: DKM Economic Consultants analysis for Forfás, 2012). See link below.
  • We have discounted the residential sector output by 30% (we assume €2.464bn qualifies under SI.9 out of a total of €3.52bn) to take into account 30% of commencement notices that are exempt from SI.9 as registered on the BCMS to date. Our figure excludes completely €427m for public housing (even qualifying part-ownership projects).
  • We will assume the number of of self-build projects abandoned and postponed  will contribute towards output remaining flat compared to 2013. Approximate number of self-builds abandoned are currently estimated at 800 (25% total self-build output- source IAOSB). We are assuming an average cost here of €180k per house. This figure may rise over 1200 by the end of the year due to unavailability of certifiers. The number of self-build projects that have commenced (and have assumed the risks on completion highlighted by the Law Society) along with the number of projects abandoned/ postponed indefinitely is based on surveys conducted by the IAOSB.
  • One third of total residential output will be other self-builds that absorb the extra SI9 cost of 22% (see link below).
  • The remaining residential projects will be procured normally (with main contractor) and will have a SI9 cost increase of 11% (see link below).
  • A minimum 3 week delay is assumed on all projects due to increased administration and paperwork, lack of Local Authority resources, invalidations at completion and commencement etc. In the previous estimate we assumed this would be a once-off 2014 cost issue. However it may be appropriate to assume this as a recurring delay due to increased invalidations due to lack of staff in Local Authorities and increasing workloads in coming years.
  • We have excluded extra costs for all sub-certifier roles, ancillary certifiers and sub-contractors, other insurance costs etc.
  • Costs for a typical dwelling have been posted separately by Bregs Blog.

Link to Forfas report here:

Extract off Forfas report table 2.12 p 16

forfas report table 2.12 p16

Posts mentioned of interest:

SI.9 costs for a typical house

The extraordinary cost of BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9? 

S.I.9 Stakeholders | Your questions please for Engineers

by Bregs Blog admin team

engineer

ACEI / EI

The BRegs Blog has received a positive response to its submission of its readers’ questions to Pauline Daly, President of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI). The SCSI Director of Policy and Communication, Conor O’Donovan, has recently written to confirm that the questions are being reviewed by Andrew Ramsey, Chairman of their Building Surveying Committee and he will revert in due course. The BRegs Blog looks forward to publishing the answers as soon as possible after we receive them.

In the meantime, in order to expedite matters, the BRegs Blog has decided to make a further call out for questions for two of the other stakeholder groups ‘in one go’. In the interests of efficiency the BRegs Blog now intends to submit open letters with a series of your questions to the following stakeholder groups at the end of next week:

ACEI:         Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland

EI:              Engineers Ireland

We will publish the responses received so that they may be shared collectively. Please submit any questions that you may have for the above stakeholder groups to bregsforum@gmail.com  on or before Thursday 18th September 2014 at 17.00 pm.

Other Post of Interest:

SCSI + S.I.9 | 20 Questions

BCMS Q+A  Post1: General Issues:

BCMS Q+A  Post2 – I.T. Issues:

BCMS Q+A  Post 3 – Process Issues:

 

 

 

 

S.I.9 | What large firms are doing 

by Bregs Blog admin team

large-firms

The following opinion piece was posted by Bregs Blog on 11th September 2014

On advice from their insurers and legal advisers at least one of Ireland’s largest multi-disciplinary construction consultancies, involved in multi-million Euro commissions, has admitted it will not be undertaking the role of Assigned Certifier on any of its projects as the risk is considered too great. One would have thought that a large firm employing a combination of engineers, surveyors and architects with large administrative and I.T. support would be well positioned to undertake these roles but apparently the insurance risk is too great when measured against any potential income. In addition several of Ireland’s largest and longest established firms of architects and engineers have indicated to the BRegs Blog that they will not be undertaking the role of Assigned Certifier on any of their projects either. The dilemma now for such companies and their clients is finding third party certifiers that are sufficiently competent to undertake these roles on large scale jobs which may have an impact on their ability to progress certain projects.

Furthermore it is understood that a formal complaint to the Competition Authority has been made against the HSE. This is in relation to perceived anti-competitive behavior for the HSE’s  insistence, in their procurement documentation, that the role of Assigned Certifier must be undertaken by the architect on a project. There is evidence that other Government departments are making similar demands with some consultants being threatened with loss of existing contracts if they now refuse to carry out the role of Assigned Certifier. Many construction consultants fear that they will lose work to other consultants who have not fully assessed the implications of S.I. 9 in relation to employees’ liability, insurance premiums, the cost of increased supervision and administration. The companies involved do not wished to be named as they feel they are already being placed at a serious disadvantage with competing firms who appear less diligent in how they have approached this issue.

There is also a great deal of disappointment being expressed at how the professional bodies have seemingly collaborated with the Department of the Environment and promoted the implementation of S.I. 9 at the expense of a critical evaluation of the legislation on behalf of their members. The original concept of the role of Assigned Certifier being a separate appointment with a separate fee is being undermined which has long term implications for engineers, architects and surveyors and indeed for an appropriate standard of Building Control. A Government official who has much experience of procuring construction professionals said, “engineers and architects continue to be their own worst enemies. S.I. 9 and Assigned Certifier appointments will be another race to the bottom as professionals underbid each other and offer ‘all-in’ below cost fees as experienced over the last five to ten years particularly in relation to school projects”.

The obvious question now for anyone undertaking the role of Assigned Certifier is that if the ‘big firms’ are steering clear of S.I. 9, is it such a good idea to be rushing in to take their place?

Link to Guidance Note: GN 1.1.1 – BC(A)R 2014 Procurement Implications for Contracting Authorities

Other posts of interest:

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

Design Certifiers – 3 things about certifying Part L…

Practical post 23: Design Build contracts- need a barge pole?

RIAI EGM : Seven issues for architects to consider

Summary of Legal Posts- BC(A)R SI.9

DAVY Research: surprising fall in residential output Q2 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

road-ahead

DAVY Research: surprising fall in residential output Q2 2014

The following analysis by Davys research was posted on their website on 10th September 2014 (see link here). They confirm an increase in construction output in non-residential sectors. However there is a marked fall in residential sector output compared to the same period in 2013. Last year was a record low in residential construction, and the impact or “spike”  due  to the introduction of the new building regulations is noted.

Link here to download full report here: Davy Report- QS 2014

Quote: “According to the index, construction output has now increased 26% since troughing in Q3 2012 but still remains 73.5% below the peak levels of 2006.

Nonetheless, the fall in residential work is a little surprising given the strength of recent house building statistics. In the first two months of the year, 5,247 house builds were started compared to 645 in the same period in 2013, albeit with many projects brought forward due to the introduction of building standards in March. Moreover, in the year to May, completions totalled 3,941 compared to 2,997 in the same period in 2013. In this context, the second consecutive quarterly fall in residential work in the index is therefore puzzling

In a previous post we noted:

“Everybody, including the DoE, accepts that the “February spike” was a rush to beat the introduction of S.I.9. But not all of those Notices cover real project starts. If they did, there would have been a matching spike in tender volumes beforehand. There was none. And there would have been a matching increase in construction activity in April/May. There was none.

There was no spike in tender volumes in January/February; and no spike in the Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index in early summer…Six months into S.I.9, indications are that the number of construction commencements in 2014 will be lower than in 2013.

The February spike in Commencement Notices was on paper, not on shovels.” (see post here)

CBRE Research are also sounding the alarm in their September 2014 Report (See link Here) noting that “onerous new building regulations… are impacting severely on the feasibility of development

Figures from the Central Statistics Office and Davys report would seem to back this up and that the “spike” in residential ‘paper’ commencements masked the crisis that has been developing since 1 March.

Full DAVY article to follow:

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Irish Economy: Construction output rises sharply in Q2

September 10 2014 – Research Report – 1 page(s)

DAVY VIEW

As expected, there was another sharp rise in Irish construction output in Q2. Volumes were up 4.1% on the quarter and 10.1% on the year. Output from the sector has now increased 26% since troughing in Q3 2012 but still remains 73.5% below the peak levels of 2006. Overall, these data add to the growing evidence that the construction sector recovery will gather pace this year.

Construction output up 4.1% on the quarter

As expected, there was another sharp rise in construction output in Q2. Volumes were up 4.1% on the quarter (qoq) and 10.1% on the year (yoy). The sector breakdown reveals a 1.9% qoq fall (-8.8% yoy) in residential work, a 4.7% rise (+23.4% yoy) in non-residential work and a 9.3% rise (+8.5% yoy) in civil engineering work. According to the index, construction output has now increased 26% since troughing in Q3 2012 but still remains 73.5% below the peak levels of 2006.

Nonetheless, the fall in residential work is a little surprising given the strength of recent house building statistics. In the first two months of the year, 5,247 house builds were started compared to 645 in the same period in 2013, albeit with many projects brought forward due to the introduction of building standards in March. Moreover, in the year to May, completions totalled 3,941 compared to 2,997 in the same period in 2013. In this context, the second consecutive quarterly fall in residential work in the index is therefore puzzling.

However, the CSO has previously cautioned on the interpretation of the construction data given a recent re-weighting and the unprecedented low base from which the series is starting. We therefore cannot read too much into the sectoral split of the headline data.

Overall, these data add to the growing evidence that the construction sector recovery will gather pace this year. Our investment forecasts are for an 11.4% rise in building and construction work in 2014, 11.2% in 2015 and 9.6% in 2016. Our forecasts are based on growth in housing completions from 8,300 in 2013 to 9,850 in 2014, 12,150 in 2015 and 14,600 in 2016. This is one area where we are especially uncertain. If supply constraints are alleviated, the sector could well recover at a much faster pace than our conservative forecasts imply.

 

Construction sector growth

construction20140910_10092014_001

 

construction20140910_10092014_002

Residential work vs completions

construction20140910_10092014_003

Source: CSO

Other posts of interest:

Commencement Notices | 6 months after S.I. 9

Continuing Collapse in Commencement Notices: Building Register – 5th August 2014 

Construction Recovery- watch this space

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

Commencement figures- June 25th 2014

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started

Commencement Notices | 6 months after S.I. 9

by Bregs Blog admin team

2014-half-year-results

The Building Control Management System (BCMS) is now six months old and published its first half-year Building Register on Thursday 4th September 2014 at 8.31 a.m. The Building Register records all of the validated Commencement Notices or ‘proposed building starts’ received by the 34 Building Control Authorities throughout Ireland.

The Building Register now records a figure of 2247 as the total number of validated Commencement Notices received over the past 26 weeks since the introduction of the BCMS on 1st March 2014. This would be equivalent to an annual figure of approximately 60% of the 7,456 Commencement Notices submitted in 2013 which was one of the lowest figures in decades. Since the implementation of S.I.9 the average number of commencement notices being lodged is 86 per week. In 2013 the average number lodged per week was 143. These are worrying figures for a Government trying to kick-start the recovery of the construction sector and house building in particular.

Of the 2247 Commencement Notices received, 676 (30%) appear to be ‘Short Form’ notices (small projects where an Assigned Certifier is not required) and 133 of the Commencement Notices are for 7-day notices in relation to Fire Safety Certificates. It is noted that 104 of the Commencement Notices on the Building Register appear to have no certifier status or are recorded as ‘Tests’.

There is clear evidence that some of the Commencement Notices currently being submitted are repeat notices for Commencement Notices submitted earlier this year ahead of the introduction of S.I. 9 to try and avoid the implications of the legislation. There is no evidence from other sources that there was any equivalent spike in building tenders in the earlier part of the year that would indicate that all of these ‘commencement notices’ were actual ‘building starts’. Where works had not commenced before the end of March it would be necessary to resubmit a Commencement Notice if an actual building was to start construction.

This ‘double entry’ is leading to further confusion in the construction industry as to the actual number of project starts in 2014 which appears to be heading for record lows for a variety of reasons including the cost implications of the introduction of S.I. 9.

Link to Building Register: 

PDF: buildingregister2014

Other posts of interest:

Continuing Collapse in Commencement Notices: Building Register – 5th August 2014 

Construction Recovery- watch this space

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

Commencement figures- June 25th 2014

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started

SI9 Schedule of duties for Certifiers

by Bregs Blog admin team

In case anyone missed it here’s a useful list of duties for anyone undertaking the new roles.

BRegs Blog

code_cost_review

SI.9 Schedule of duties for Certifiers – do we need to re-evaluate costs?

Following on from comments received on our “SI.9 costs for a typical house” piece, we have compiled the following ‘schedule of duties for SI.9’. This incorporates inputs from from a number of specialist Design Certifiers (DC) and Assigned Certifiers (AC) on the new duties required under SI.9. At time of writing we have not seen a detailed schedule of services for DC/AC by the representative bodies for competent professionals (SCSI, ACEI or RIAI).

This is a preliminary list. If any readers have comments or additional duties they feel should be included also please send your comment into us here.

Additional Duties for SI.9 (a non-exhaustive schedule of services):

1. Design Stage: pre-commencement (separate DC/AC appointments may mean some duplication by DC/AC):

  • Time required to audit designs (review of all drawings: architects, services engineers, structural and other specialist designed components, glazing etc.);
  • Inspect design competence of project teams (review qualifications, experience, design qualifications; request, inspect…

View original post 874 more words

ALERT | Owners may need Certifiers on porch extensions?

by Bregs Blog admin team

download-11

The following post was written by the Breg Blog team on 8th September. Following recent correspondence received from readers on the issue of S.I.9 exemptions for minor works and invalidated short form commencement notices, we urgently call on our readers in the professional bodies and Local Authorities for clarification.

More than 6 months after the implementation of S.I9, it would appear that there has been confusion over the interpretation of the requirements for domestic extensions. There are now serious concerns that the generally accepted application of the new regulations may be wrong. Perhaps it is a drafting error or perhaps the guidance did not spell it out, either way it looks as if it does not matter if you build under 40 m2  because every previous addition of floor area to the house may be cumulative! 

If this is the case, there are a number of very serious consequences.

  1. Many domestic projects may have gone on site (post March 2014) illegally without any appointment of Certifiers and there are no legal remedies.
  2. Works about to go on site may have to be held back to regularise their situations.
  3. Tiny projects (like a domestic porch) may need full appointments, inspection plans, multiple certificates and even- the family having to use the back door waiting for the completion certificate to be validated! Terraced home owners pay special heed to this one.

Here are a few examples: :

  • A homeowner intends to construct a 39mkitchen/ dining/ living room which is exempt. Later they add a 2mporch. Do they need to appoint a Design and Assigned Certifier for this porch? What added cost will this be? A multiple of the cost of the porch?
  • An owner converts a 30mattic (exempt), then wants to convert a 15mgarage. Does the owner need to appoint a Design and Assigned Certifier for a garage conversion?
  • A new family buys a house with a 25mconservatory (exempt). They want to convert the 17mattic. Does the owner need to appoint a Design and Assigned Certifier for an attic conversion?
  • Another scenario: an owner has a protected structure, built in 1860 with a scullery added in 1910 and a garage attached to the side in 1942- both have a combined area of 42m2. Does the owner need a Design and Assigned Certifier to build a new small WC extension?

If any readers in the representative bodies for registered professionals (ACEI, SCSI, RIAI) have any information, or anyone in the local authorities has been given direction by the Department on this, we would appreciate clarification. We still await a finalised Framework Code of Practice for Building Control at time of writing.

Other “Alert” posts:

ALERT | Pyrite & Ground Floor Construction? 

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

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

Alert to TD about new regulations

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert 

BReg Blog ALERT: Data Protection & BCMS

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register

Self-builder alert to farmers: BC(A)R SI.9 

Press: lack of office space may affect FDI

by Bregs Blog admin team

graph-offic-market-595x500

The following three articles from the Journal suggest a spike in office rents in certain parts of Dublin city. Although a welcome indicator, new office space is needed to mitigate against further increases that may affect costs and the ability of the capital to attract new companies. Suppy constraints have been noted by commentators such as available sites, planning and building control issues, financing and lead-in times to completion. The recent marked fall-off in commencement notices is a concern for business expansion in this sector and job creation in the capital.

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In the following article from The Journal on 2nd September “Nosebleed office rents could force companies to ‘fringe’ of Dublin city centre” it’s suggested that spiralling rents in the capital due to lack of supply of office space may affect foreign direct investment (FDI) and competitiveness. Quote:

“The level of choice for tenants seeking more than 2,000 square meters of Grade A space is limited and getting worse. In the near term that will likely drive rents higher, and also mean some tenants look beyond the city centre and consider looking to older Grade B buildings

….Waters also warned that a shortage of quality offices will have implications for the wider economy “as current and future FDI projects are dependent of a reasonable supply of modern space in the right locations”.”

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In an earlier article “Dublin office rent has grown by nearly 25% in a year “the increase this year in office rents was seen as symptomatic of years of inactivity in the construction sector due to the downturn, and lack of supply in the market. Quote:

“…The rapid increase in the price of office space in the capital can be partially attributed to the depths to which the market sank during the recession, Savills head of office agency Roland O’Connell said.

“Effective rents fell by more than 50% during the downturn and, in that context, it is not surprising that we are seeing something of a bounce-back.”

Despite this, O’Connell said that there was a real danger from the elevated rate of growth in rental prices…He said that the knock-on implications of high rent prices could hurt Ireland’s competitiveness and the attractiveness of Dublin as a location for mobile international business.”

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In this article from June 11th 2014 There isn’t enough office space in Dublin to fit all the new start-ups” a surge the number of new companies set up in 2014 has led to a shortage of office space, analysts have warned. A recent report from Savills (LINK) noted that 57,000 square metres of office lettings were signed in the first three months of 2014 – a 32% increase on last year. Quote:

Figures…reveal that 4,438 new companies were set up in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 21% on the average across the past five years.

One-fifth chose to locate in either Dublin 1, 2 or 4, or in what has now been dubbed the Silicon Docks tech-hub.

…growth in commercial sectors is “very positive news for job creation and overall economic rejuvenation…A balance between supply and demand is needed to ensure “the long-term survival of new business start-ups”.

___________
Other posts of interest:

The value of building control

by Bregs Blog admin team

vbccover

We have previously discussed a proposed an alternative system of independent inspections, one that closely resembles the UK system. The UK system of independent Local Authority inspections and “Approved Inspectors” is widely acknowledged as one of the best systems of building control and ranks 27th in the World Bank Rankings for “Dealing with construction permits” (we rank 115th out of 189 countries). Ireland had a similar system pre 1990 Building Control Act when we changed to a full self-certification system, which continues under the new building regulations.

This interesting UK research into the value of building control was completed in 2012. Pdf: Report: Value of building control- jan2012

The report, undertaken in 2012 by the Local Authority Building Control (LABC)* and the Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI)**, canvassed a broad range of companies who dealt with building control: developers, clients, architects and draftspersons, housebuilders, national and regional contractors, small local builders and specialist trades. They commissioned the following research research to determine the value of Building Control to customers. The 49 page document makes for very interesting reading.

Based on this study (quote) “93% think it is important that the industry has independent third party checks of compliance rather than self-certification“.

This would suggest a building control system with independent inspections is in accordance with international best practice.

______________

Extract from study “The Value of Building Control (LABC/ACAI 2012)”:

The objectives as outlined in our proposal dated 9 September 2011 were to identify:

  • The contribution Building Control makes to projects and the benefits it brings
  • Perceptions of the advice provided and the extent to which this is valued
  • Responsiveness and timeliness of advice
  • Preferences for an independent Building Control service versus own sign-off
  • Sources of information on updates to Building Regulations
  • Improvements required in the Building Control process.

These objectives were developed further during the questionnaire design phase. The research covers Building Control per se, regardless of whether this is provided by the LABC or private Approved Inspectors. Competitive issues are outside the scope of this project.

Satisfaction with the service 

 Satisfaction is high with Building Control generally and with these important aspects of the service. Average overall satisfaction is 8.1 out of 10 where 10 is very satisfied, and on the last occasion the service was used, satisfaction averaged 8.2 out of 10. Both scores are high by industry standards. Only 6% are dissatisfied, with a similar proportion in each sector interviewed.

 Although fewer of the Specialist Trades than others feel they are benefitting from Building Control, their satisfaction with the service is nevertheless high. Those who regard the process as challenging also show a good level of satisfaction.

Preference for independent checks or self-certification 

 93% think it is important that the industry has independent third party checks of compliance rather than self-certification. For their own companies, 80% would prefer independent checks to self-certification. The difference between these two is down to individuals feeling that their company has high standards, but that others may not. The main concern about self-certification is an increase in non-compliance and rogue builders, through a reduction in quality and build standards.

Developers’ and Clients’ views 

 Large Clients and Developers are on the whole very positive about Building Control. Although just under half leave the contact with Building Control to their external teams, they nevertheless have a view on its value. 88% feel they and their projects are benefitting from the involvement of Building Control, giving a score of 7 or over out of 10 for the level of benefit they experience.

 Almost all Developers and Clients (90%) would prefer to see independent third party checks of compliance with Building Regulations, rather than industry self-certification. The independent nature of checks on their teams is important to them.

Bregs Blog Notes:

*The Local Authority Building Control (LABC) are a not-for-profit, member organisation, representing all local authority building control teams in England and Wales with over 3,000 professional surveyors and building technicians members. Link: LABC homepage

**The Association of Consultant Approved Inspectors (ACAI) was formed in 1996 to increase awareness and understanding of private sector building control as a commercial, professional and cost-effective alternative to local authority inspectors; it has about 40 members who collectively represent 95% of all independent building control work. Link: ACAI homepage

Other posts of interest:

A BETTER way: BC(A)R SI.9 Solutions

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9?

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

 

SI9 Schedule of duties for Certifiers

by Bregs Blog admin team

code_cost_review

SI.9 Schedule of duties for Certifiers – do we need to re-evaluate costs?

Following on from comments received on our “SI.9 costs for a typical house” piece, we have compiled the following ‘schedule of duties for SI.9’. This incorporates inputs from from a number of specialist Design Certifiers (DC) and Assigned Certifiers (AC) on the new duties required under SI.9. At time of writing we have not seen a detailed schedule of services for DC/AC by the representative bodies for competent professionals (SCSI, ACEI or RIAI).

This is a preliminary list. If any readers have comments or additional duties they feel should be included also please send your comment into us here.

Additional Duties for SI.9 (a non-exhaustive schedule of services):

1. Design Stage: pre-commencement (separate DC/AC appointments may mean some duplication by DC/AC):

  • Time required to audit designs (review of all drawings: architects, services engineers, structural and other specialist designed components, glazing etc.);
  • Inspect design competence of project teams (review qualifications, experience, design qualifications; request, inspect and record professional indemnity insurances etc);
  • Inspect design competence of project sub-contractor designers and/or specialist suppliers and designers, request, inspect and record professional indemnity insurances etc);
  • Identify gaps in competence of design team and tender for specialist ancillary certifiers or testers;
  • Request, inspect and record Professional Indemnity Insurances from suggested suppliers and manufacturers;
  • Set up archive for documentation;
  • Time needed to integrate BCAR requirements in tender and contract packages
  • Statements relating to Part D compliance, on-site supervision and inspection, completion stage

2. Lodgment Stage: commencement (by AC):

  • Complete and lodge commencement notice information (number of hours to lodge documentation under the BCMS);
  • Collate design inputs, drawings, specifications and certificates from professional ancillary certifiers, specialist sub-contractors and suppliers;
  • Parts A-M compliance documentation and review (including specialist ancillary certifier Part L inputs);
  • Complete and lodge job-specific inspection plans and other required documentation;
  • Specific recommendations for contract documents relating to Part D compliance, on-site supervision and inspection, completion stage;
  • Time required to deal with invalid commencement notices;
  • Duplicate commencement documentation may be required for multiple phases (to be clarified by Law Society and Department).

3. Site Stage (by AC and DC if separate appointments):

  • Mininum suggested number of 12 site inspections in draft code of practice now issued by DECLG (more if RIAI and ACEI CPD recommended timescales are followed);
  • Ongoing assembly and recording of all paperwork associated with part D compliance (CPR 2013 requires statements of performance and CE marks for all material used);
  • Attendance at bi-monthly site meetings as required and ongoing review (separate to inspections- unclear if separate DC inspections required)- inspect and record key stages of all structural items, M & E installations, key fabric stages and component installations etc.
  • Review of any changes to design that impact on building regulations at site meetings;
  • Interim Part A-M audits by AC and uploading of any specification changes that affect Part A-M performance;
  • Uploading by DC of any changes on-site that alter design certificate in advance of commencement of the particular phase of work involved (unclear at present how to complete this with BCMS)
  • Ongoing input to be monitored by AC relating to Part D compliance, on-site materials inspection and collating CE information and statements of performance for all materials and components, completion stage documentation, sub-contractors’ inputs etc.
  • Note: For “Design and Build” and public-sector projects specific clauses may be required by DC and AC’s to exclude time needed to audit ‘value engineering’ exercises as projects proceed- it may be more appropriate to suggest time charges for process that are undefined at outset.
  • There needs to be an ‘get-out’ clause in a Certifier’s appointments to facilitate resignation by  from project. This may be required if an owner or separate design team refuses to reverse non-compliant work at site stage. It is unclear whether DC/AC has a responsibility to inform BCO of any non-compliant works in this scenario, and how this could affect outstanding payments for services.

4. Completion Stage (By AC):

  • Completion stage- no online system as yet but initial completions indicate over 150 individual certificates need to be assembled for a mid-sized project,
  • lodgment of all relevant documentation(to be confirmed by Building Control Code of Practice due September 2014) 3-5 weeks in advance of practical completion, secondary lodgments to facilitate occupation on the date of practical completion as required (there may be some duplication here if uploading unsigned forms and then signed forms etc).
  • Additional time to deal with with Building Control invalidations (completion stage);
  • Re-submission of completion documentation (as required)
  • Conveyancing issues, phasing/part-completion issues, additional documentation that may be required etc. Duplicate completion documentation may be required for multiple phases.
  • Completion of archive with all relevant Part D record of materials, ancillary certificates, sub-contractor design certificates, specialist sub-contractor inspection plans, forms etc.

5. Exclusions: Other costs associated with SI.9 that may affect professional and building costs-

  • increased insurance premiums
  • defensive specifications
  • contractor costs etc. (self-builder additional cost)

A previous post put the additional SI.9 costs for a typical house at €20k for standard procurement models (main contractor appointed) and over  €40k for self-build projects (see LINK). One can only speculate as to the effect these additional costs and lack of industry readiness may have on the FDI and SME sector, two key engines for growth.

A speaker at the recent representative body for architects (RIAI) EGM on 12th August called for a full Regulatory Impact Assessment on the new regulations.

The Department of the Environment should consider commissioning an independent review of the cost impact of SI.9. It is clear that Departmental advisors may have underestimated the scope of services to be provided when acting as Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier, and that the former Minister’s estimates of €1000-€3000 for such services on a private dwelling project would go nowhere towards the real cost to housing, or other non-residential projects.

It might be opportune for the new Minister to undertake a more in-depth independent review of the costs at this point, given the urgent need to kick-start housing and reduce costs and delays on FDI and SME projects.

Other posts of interest:

SI.9 costs for a typical house 

SCSI: Guide to BC(A)R SI.9 

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9? 

Opinion piece: Cost/Benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014 

The current cost of Building Control

Press Article: New code could add €50k onto cost of self-builds 

The extraordinary cost of BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) 

Construction Site Inspections – BLITZ 8 September 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

HSA

Construction Site Inspections – BLITZ 8 September 2014

The Health & Safety Authority issued a press release for a ‘blitz’ in June when over 100 sites were visited (see press release here).

Today, (8 September 2014) the HSA steps up the campaign with another btitz of over 500 random inspections in the next 2 weeks. This regime of policing sites, well flagged by the CIF, is highly effective as it will improve safety on all sites this week when all operators will be looking over their shoulders for of an inspector at the gate (see CIF link below).

This initiative of the HSA is critical as the sector with the highest occupational injury rate, per 1,000 workers is Construction (16.7); (See more at: HSA link below)

In 2013 the HSA carried out an impressive 3,622 construction site inspections in Ireland and in more than a third of visits written advice was given. In more than 200 cases enforcement proceedings had to be taken against builders.

Mark O’Halloran, CEO of the HSA says: “We try to use our resources in a way that has maximum effect while achieving a positive outcome for workers and employers. Enforcement is an important part of the work we do, but we must also use awareness-raising and information campaigns to complement inspection activity” (See HSA Annual Report)

In contrast to the detailed information published by the HSA, no statistics have been published by the Department of the Environment for Building Control inspections and enforcement activity since 2012.

Perhaps Minister Kelly will rectify this situation?

A public information campaign and some coordinated national activity could improve compliance on every site and make building owners aware of the risks of onon-compliance.

Topics mentioned:

HSA Sept Construction Blitz

Health and Safety Authority Publishes Annual Report and Statistics Summary – Health and Safety Authority

 

TOP 20 for August 2014

by Bregs Blog admin team

iStock_Top20Resized

TOP 20 for August 2014

Here are our top 20 most read posts for the month of August. This month was the second busiest ever on the Bregs Blog with over 23,500+ views.

The extraordinary general meeting of the representative body for architects (RIAI) figures prominently. Current council member and past-president Eoin O’Cofaigh’s address to members on the night on the subject of SI.9 liability is the most read post of the past 30 days.

A number of elected RIAI representatives published pieces this month concentrating on various defects in SI.9. The separate register for architectural technologists figured prominently again as did the continuing slide in commencement notices- a very worrying trend which shows little sign of reversing since March 1st 2014.

Here are the month’s posts top 20 in order of polularity:

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

RIAI EGM | Who said what | Withdrawn

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

RIAI: OPW Interactive Tools for the Design Certifier

RIAI EGM: Open Letter to Members

Design Certifiers – 3 things about certifying Part L…

Letters to the (BRegs Blog) Editors: Simon McGuinness MRIAI

Continuing Collapse in Commencement Notices: Building Register – 5th August 2014

CIAT Architectural Technologists Register goes live today!

BCMS Q+A: Part 1 | General Issues

RIAI EGM: Update 12th August 2014

S.I. 9 and Insurance Claims: Deirdre Lennon MRIAI

SI9- where do I start?

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

Why the design certifier and architect need third party building fabric assessments

S.I. 9 and Construction Products: Orla Hegarty MRIAI RIBA

RIAI – EGM: Future BC(A)R Policy – Tuesday 12th August 2014

| S.I. 9 | Are consumers being conned? | Brian Rochford

Demolition and S.I. 9

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus

Press: Number of new homes built this year will fall short by 6,000

by Bregs Blog admin team

 

link2plancomencements.pdf [Converted]

Commencement notice figures: 6 months: 2014- Source Link2plans

In the following Irish Independent article from 2nd September 2014 by Paul Melia, the author examines some worrying statistics on the low-level of residential completions for the first 5 months of 2014.

The Bregs Blog has posted a number of previous posts tracking the pronounced fall in commencement notices due to the introduction of the new building regulations in March 2014. The most recent Government figures up to 5th August indicate a 50% fall in commencement notices for all building types nationwide compared with the same period last year (see links below).

A number of industry commentators and stakeholders, along with the Construction Industry Federation, have advanced various proposals to stimulate residential development and supply. Other than revoking SI.9 immediately, we have noted that the likelyhood of any meaningful policy to increase residential supply is remote, within the lifetime of this government, given the lead-in times for residential developments of between 15 and 24 months.

Commencements are down 50% for the first 6 months of SI.9 and in the following article recent figures released by the Department of the Environment also confirm a continued depressed level of residential completions.

Link to article: Number of new homes built this year will fall short by 6,000 – Independent.ie

Extract:

Number of new homes built this year will fall short by 6,000

FEWER than 10,000 homes will be built this year, far less than the 16,000 needed to meet pent-up demand.

And many of the completed homes are unlikely to go to sale on the open market because they are one-off units that were built to order. New figures from the Department of the Environment show that less than 4,000 houses and apartments have been completed in the first five months of the year, with major shortages now expected in built-up areas where demand is highest.

PROPERTY-House-completionsOf the 3,941 units completed, almost half (1,917) are individual units. Some 846 apartments and 1,178 houses in developments have been finished.

The lack of units coming on stream comes despite soaring prices in the major urban centres, where only a fraction of the required homes are being delivered.

Prices have risen by 22pc in the capital in the past year and 10pc nationally, and they are expected to continue to soar unless more homes are built.

The rate of new homes coming on stream has plummeted since the height of the boom in 2006 when more than 93,000 units were delivered.

The current rate of completions is the lowest since records began in 1975.

The Housing Agency says that 15,932 units are needed every year until 2018 to cater for an increase in population and to provide options for people hoping to trade up as their families grow,

Based on current completion rates, just 9,500 will be delivered before the year is out.

The statistics from the Department of the Environment also show that little development is happening in the major urban centres.

They show:

Just 1,155 units have been completed in Dublin. Some 5,663 are needed this year alone, according to the Housing Agency.

Just 56 have been completed in Cork City, but almost 270 are needed.

In Galway city, just 21 are finished, with another 21 in Limerick. About 600 a year in each city are required.

The figures come after the ESRI recently warned that new homes were needed in Dublin, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, Galway, Louth, Cork and Westmeath.

Demand is most pronounced in the Greater Dublin Area, and the ESRI said that unless more homes came on stream it will result in “significant housing shortages”.

Builders lobby group the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said that based on completions so far this year, the final tally for the year would be around 10,000 units – of which just 3,000 would be in housing schemes.

CIF director general Tom Parlon said that a number of barriers to construction needed to be tackled including providing finance for new developments, a reduction in development levies, changes to a requirement to provide affordable housing in new schemes and changes to the VAT regime.

Flexible

“There also needs to be a more flexible approach to planning,” he added. “Currently, permissions exist in the greater Dublin region for approximately 21,000 apartments. Other than in the city centre there is no demand for these kinds of homes.

“The CIF has called for a VAT reduction to 9pc on house building. This will help to stimulate the industry, increase the supply of homes and provide employment. Until these issues are tackled in a meaningful way, house completions will remain low and the housing supply shortage will continue.”

The Government plans to introduce a range of measures to stimulate construction including reducing development charges, imposing a levy on undeveloped sites in prime city and town centres and reducing the requirement to provide affordable housing in new developments.

In addition, it also proposes reducing the tax rate on the sale of land rezoned for housing to bring sites into use.

Irish Independent

Other posts on this topic:

Continuing Collapse in Commencement Notices: Building Register – 5th August 2014

So much time and so little to do… 

Required housing supply estimates and creating supply | Ireland after NAMA

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

The self build world has been thrown into disarray

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following opinion piece was submitted by Michael Gillespie on 5th September 2014

The self-built world has been thrown into disarray with the introduction of SI9.

The result has been projects shelved or delayed while clients, agents and local authorities come to grips with the tsunami of changes and information that must be absorbed. This industry was always blessed with varied knowledge and competencies within the professional groups. SI9 was promised to change all that, but the problem has only gotten worse, particularly for self-builds. Having self-built myself and inspected self-build’s over the years, I now first had the advantages of self-build.

  • You can shop around for best prices
  • Source preferred materials and products with greater ease
  • Avoid the main contractors fee’s
  • Direct and redirect project as you see fit. Even bring it to a complete halt if necessary.
  • Select the trade’s people you want and wait for them to become available if needs be.
  • If money gets scarce, you can move into the dwelling the minute you feel it’s workable to avoid paying rent.
  • With proper planning, you can dictate the speed of the build (don’t forget the five P’s) according to your budget. A kind of pay as you go approach, over a few months or years if required.
  • Lower mortgage.
  • The value of the later items will for many often mean the difference between a project going ahead or not. In this regard the impact of SI9 on direct labour/self-build homes I feel has yet to be fully realised. On top of the additional professional fees clients now have to content with the fact that the house has to be finished and signed off by the certifiers and council before they can take up residents. This simple requirement adds thousands more to a project.

My own PROJECT, which WAS common place, included moving in long before completion. I can remember the scene where helping big brother with the electrical, he asked when did we hope to move in, to which my good wife replied ‘Two weeks’. He laughed for moment until he seen we were serious. But it happened we had a kitchen (fitted myself), stairs, and lino in the kitchen and I think one bathroom finished. The rest I did myself over time. Yes I hung doors, did the second fixing etc. all as wages allowed. It saved us a small fortune on mortgage and repayments.

But alas that era is no more, your budget & mortgage must be large enough to complete the home before you move in. For many the enlarged budget & mortgage is not feasible or attainable, thus many projects will never see the light of day (I’d ask agents to spell this out for people at the design stage)

The need for absolute compliance is another gem. Generally the industry is not known for perfection. Of course we strive for it, but we should be realistic, we have neither the professionals nor the trades to achieve this (in an ever evolving industry can we ever come to a point and say stop this is perfect). The situation as it stands is designers and AC’s going over the top with requirements, adding yet more cost.

In short S.I. 9 is failing (been generous here), it has gone against the advice of the people on the ground, Industry stake holders, and government panels. So Please Alan fix-it or replace it.

Independent inspection is the way to go in my opinion.

Other posts of interest:

Self Builder petition- BC(A)R SI.9

S.I. 9 | Self-builders – 6 months’ update 

SI.9 costs for a typical house

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

Eoin O Cofaigh FRIAI- A changing landscape?

Law Society response to self-builders

Self building, self-regulation & the consumer

Senator Mooney- BC(A)R SI.9

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents 

BRAB and BC(A)R SI.9- Look Back 3

by Bregs Blog admin team

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BRAB and BC(A)R SI.9- Look Back 3

Recent  readers may have missed some older posts that are still of interest post-implementation of SI.9 in our 500+ post archive. In our third “Look Back” Post we re-examine the role of Building Regulations Advisory Body (BRAB) in the formation of SI.9.

The BRAB was set up under the 1990 act to advise the Minister on matters relating to building regulations. The 5 year term of the last panel was up in 2012, and for reasons unknown was not re-convened. Over 20 separate groups had a presence on the board including consumer bodies. Following May 2012 these organisations no longer had any input into the new regulations. The Department consulted with a much smaller key stakeholder group comprised of members of the industry: representative bodies for chartered surveyors (SCSI), engineers (ACEI), architects (RIAI) and builders (CIF).

Remarkably BRAB never met after May 2012 to discuss the new regulations. Effectively there was no consumer representation in the subsequent formation of SI.9.

At around the same time the BRAB was suspended mid-2012, the reporting of Building Control inspection rates was also discontinued (see post “Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9“)

At the EGM for the representative body for architects on 12 August a speaker from the floor confirmed that BRAB had been disbanded and he called for BRAB to be urgently reconvened to bring together the appropriate range of stakeholders and expertise to deal with the fallout of SI9.

The BRAB is a statutory board and the Minister of the Environment is supposed to make appointments. Former Minister Phil Hogan last referred to BRAB in November 2012 during a debate on pyrites when he confirmed that he had abolished it:

The Building Regulations Advisory Board was no more and no less than an advisory board, but the Government, on my recommendation, abolished it in recent days. The information matters that have arisen from this, from Priory Hall and other issues will form part of the solution in terms of future building regulations which I will bring to Government shortly. It is not acceptable that those who took money from consumers on the basis of a structural guarantee did not discharge their responsibilities, which is what HomeBond and Premier did. They were set up by the Construction Industry Federation to provide certainty to consumers about structural matters and they let everybody down in that regard. Professionals let people down. Unfortunately, those who were affected were the consumers. I am very much in the space of helping consumers to overcome the difficulties which were created through no fault of their own. I am pleased by the constructive approach of most members of the committee who are trying to find a resolution to this

Perhaps the new Minister will take action on this … and perhaps he might also take their advice?

The post below was first published on Breg blog on 14th March 2014.

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BRAB and BC(A)R SI.9

 
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The Building Regulations Advisory Body (BRAB) is set up under the Building Control Act to advise the Minister for the Environment on the building regulations. So, what does the BRAB think about the regulations brought in last March? Were they consulted about draft regulations in 2012? Presumably so. Do the BRAB think the 2013 regulations protect the consumer against future Priory Halls? Do they think the regulations protect businesses against the risk of intellectual property theft from all the drawings to be given to the local authority? Did BRAB discuss the possibility of independent inspections, which so many organizations called for in their submissions to the Minister on the draft regulations?

Presumably BRAB meets regularly and somebody keeps a record of what is discussed. There is no detail on the Department of the Environment website about this though. Presumably, too, all this information is available under an FOI request. Is there anybody with any information on when the BRAB last met – it must be since these regulations were introduced last March – who can offer any advice on this?

Link to BRAB – Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government

http://www.environ.ie/en/DevelopmentHousing/BuildingStandards/BRAB/

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extract from site:

BRAB (Building Regulations Advisory Body)

The Building Regulations Advisory Body (BRAB) is a statutory body appointed by the Minister, under Section 14 of the Building Control Act, 1990 to advise him on matters relating to the Building Regulations. Membership of the body includes representatives from the construction industry and regulators at national and local level. BRAB was originally established in 1992. The current BRAB was appointed for a five-year term by Ministerial Order dated 14 June 2007.

The DEHLG (Building Standards Section) provides secretarial services to the BRAB. The DEHLG develops proposals to amend the Building Regulations and related Technical Guidance Documents (TGD) in consultation with BRAB.

Members of the BRAB:

  • Mr. Jay Stuart, Chairperson, Integrated Sustainable Design Const.
  • Mr. Michael Brown, National Standards Authority of Ireland.
  • Mr. Brian McKeon, Construction Industry Federation.
  • Dr. Eugene Farrell, Home Bond.
  • Mr. Mark McAuley, Building Materials Federation.
  • Ms. Denise Germaine, Chartered Inst. of Architectural Technologists.
  • Mr. Gerard Grogan, Tánaiste’s nomimee
  • Mr. Jim Keogh, Electro-Technical Council of Ireland.
  • Mr. Jack Callanan  National Disability Authority.
  • Ms. Emer O’Siochru, An Taisce.
  • Ms. Maria Melia, Chief Fire Officers Associations.
  • Ms. Ann Mills, City & County Engineers Association.
  • Mr. Johnny McGettigan, Irish Building Control Institute.
  • Ms. Minka Louise McInerney, Royal Inst. of the Architects of Ireland.
  • Mr. Jimmy Keogan, City & County Managers Association.
  • Ms. Krystyna Rawicz, Society of Chartered Surveyors.
  • Mr. Gary Treanor, Irish Timber Frame Manufacturers’ Association Ltd.
  • Mr Sean Balfe, National Standards Authority of Ireland.
  • Ms. Sarah Neary, Senior Building Adviser, Building Standards, DEHLG.
  • Mr. Noel Carroll, Senior Housing Adviser, DEHLG.
  • Ms. Jacqui Donnelly, Architect, Heritage Policy & Architectural Protection, DEHLG.
  • Ms. Terry Prendergast, National Consumer Agency
  • Mr Cian O’Lionáin, Principal Officer, Private Housing Sector & Building Standards, DEHLG
  • Ms Edel Collins, Office of Public Works
  • Mr Kevin O’Rourke, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland