Value-engineering, defensive specifications and BCAR SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team


In an earlier post “A warning from a concerned Building Control Officer” we noted:

“…Frequently on-site contractors “value engineer” projects- contractors request substitution of more cost-effective alternatives to those specified by designers- “or equal and approved”. Using generic rather than branded products etc. In most cases the performance should be similar.

However, under SI.9 this process is set to change.

All revisions to design or specification, such as changes to branded materials, must be upladed by the design certifier in advance of commencement of that phase of work on-site.

This means for any changes to the specification, say due to value-engineering by a contractor, an E-lodgement of this new specification must be made to the BCMS by the person certifying the design. In a previous post we noted the difficulties the new system poses for public works projects. Quote:

“...while the Design Certificate is required at Commencement Notice stage the Design Certifier’s role does not end there. The Design Certifier is also responsible for completing the submission of ancillary certification at the Completion Certificate stage for elements not designed at Commencement Notice stage. The Design Certifier is also required to liaise with the Assigned Certifier during the course of the building works and prepare any documentation required to record any changes to the works.

The inability of Design Certifiers to upload information to the BCMS system post commencement suggests that original specifications may end up being ‘set in stone’. Many commentators felt that the real hidden costs of SI.9 are in “defensive specifications“, increased specification costs where designers would invariably be more conservative using branded materials and products. Some suggest the additional cost of this more conservative approach to building specification could be in the region of 5% of the construction cost of a project.

The formal procedure involved now in value-engineering suggests specifiers will be reluctant to entertain specification changes post-commencement, particularly where there is a separate appointment of Assigned Certifier to the Design Certifier.

Topics mentioned in above post:

Design Certifier – Can we leave it to the builder to sort out?

Other posts of interest:

RIAI CPD July 2014: Design Certifier in the Design Process- SI.9

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June

Where is the Design Certifier in BC(A)R SI.9?

MISSING PERSON- the Design Certifier? – click link here

Problems with role of Design Certifier: BC(A)R SI.

4 tips for Design Certifiers…

Law Society : Certifier is single point of responsibility

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better” 

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