BCMS: My First Validation | Mark Stephens MRIAI

by Bregs Blog admin team

Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens MRIAI

I have written two previous posts for the BRegs Blog on the Building Control Management System (BCMS).  These posts were:

1. A Quickstart Guide

2. BCMS – an update

Since writing these I have lodged my first successful Commencement Notice with the BCMS for a project that falls under S.I. No.9 of 2014. The following piece is my opinion on the system in practice and how it relates to consumer protection.

Although the BCMS has its faults and it is far from perfect it is a workable system for lodging the required Statutory and Ancillary Documents for a Commencement Notice. In my opinion it will be the users that may or may not use the system that will be the problem and will not the operability of the BCMS system itself.

Let me give a few examples:

  • I believe the system will work fine for the Design and Assigned Certifiers as long as these professionals work to their relevant associations advice and Code of Conduct.
  • In my opinion problems will occur where the person registered with the BCMS is other than the Designer or Assigned Certifier e.g. the building owner or building contractor. The Designer or Assigned Certifier will be relying on the owner or builder to lodge documents that are in accordance with the Building Regulations. It is therefore possible for the Designer to prepare documents that are in accordance with the Building Regulations but the owner or the builder to upload/lodge documents that are not.
  • There is also a risk that the person uploading documents will submit only the bare minimum required to fulfill the validation for the Commencement Notice. The screen-grab from the BCMS below shows the minimum that is required for validation of the Commencement Notice.

bcms_grab

It is apparent that this minimum is set very low and there is a risk that aspects of the construction that are required to conform to the Building Regulations will not be covered in this ‘minimum’ lodgement.

Each Supporting Document type takes time to prepare and upload and an unscrupulous owner or builder looking to save time and money will fail to upload all aspects of the construction that fall under the Building Regulations; hardly inspiring for consumer confidence.

Using the system does take time and additional resources and these will need to be paid for. Some owners/builders may opt to build ‘under the radar’ after deciding the additional time and expense will be too much hassle either for them or their Design/Assigned Certifier to undertake. This would be likely to occur for extensions that are greater than the 40 sq m or for extensions where they have phased the work so that Commencement Notices under S.I. No.9 of 2014 would not be required. Once again consumer protection is shattered.

In summary, the Building Control Management System does work in terms of its functionality (with the proviso that there are faults and problems) but it will be the people using it where the system could fail (in terms of failure to upload enough or correct data). In my successful Commencement Notice, I lodged all the Statutory and Ancillary Documents at 9.00 pm and the Commencement was validated by the Local Authority at 9.30 am the following morning; it is therefore apparent that no checks (at that stage) were undertaken with the documentation other than those from a Building Control validation aspect.

Mayo-based Mark Stephens is one of Ireland’s most prolific architectural bloggers and he has been shortlisted for the Blog Awards Ireland 2014 (Link to his Blog:)

The BRegs Blog Admin Team welcomes all feedback and comments regarding this post and our readers’ experiences of using the Building Control Management System.

Other posts of interest:

No checks of Designer, Builder or Assigned Certifier on #BCMS

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June

BCMS: Data protection or tax collection?

BC(A)R SI.9- BCMS: “must do better”

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

BReg Blog ALERT: Data Protection & BCMS

Building Control Officer issues: Conference April 2014

Building Control Officers need help! BC(A)R SI.9

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