Solicitors: Architect liable for negligent certification
by Bregs Blog admin team
The following legal advice from B.P.Collins Solicitors notes a case “that makes it clear that in appropriate circumstances it is possible to become liable to people with whom one has no contractual relationship for work done for another person or organisation.” This legal point applies in an Irish context also- this should be of interest to professionals about to assume certifier roles under BC(A)R SI.9. Link to B.P Collins Solicitors advice here.
We note the representative body for engineers (ACEI) had circulated ancillary certification documentation only to their members some time ago. This has been followed recently by the representative body for architects (RIAI) circulating draft documentation for their members. We have been told that this advice is draft only and will be subject to change following on from legal and insurance inputs. We have previously posted a critique of some earlier drafts (see post here). The representative body for surveyors (SCSI) is yet to circulate documentation to members, and the construction industry federation (CIF) is in the process of drafting their own ancillary certification for contractors.
The RIAI advice has been issued “…as guidance only … and legal advice will continue to be obtained as these documents evolve. The RIAI advises that appropriate professional judgement must be applied when using these documents”. This would indicate that professionals should make themselves aware of the various legal opinions that have been furnished to date on the new regulations.
We have previously posted some alarming legal comments on BC(A)R SI.9. Quote from Barrett Chapman, Partner, Contruction Department, McCann Fitzgerald Solicitors: “Certificates “…should have said ‘I am of the opinion…If you certify and the building doesn’t comply, you are liable. There is no doubt about that…” Barrett Chapman stated that the DECLG need to review the word “certify” as it is “an absolute“…He suggested that certifiers should make sure they have professional indemnity insurance. Regarding advice is to assigned certifiers in light of his presentation, whether to act in the new certifier roles, Barrett offered this advice: “Don’t“.
The use of the same terminology and wording in recent draft documentation issued by professional organisations may well be subject to change, following a more professional inputs.
Other BREG blog Links on legal aspects (click on title for link):