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: November, 2015

DCC Certifiers: only architects need apply!

by Bregs Blog admin team


Here is a project recently advertised by Dublin City Council at a value between €200k and €600k. Listed as part of Architectural services are Assigned and Design certifier duties.

We wonder have any specialist Certifiers, non-architects Chartered Surveyors or Chartered Engineers (SCSI or ACEI members) lodged Competition Authority complaints against this restrictive practice, appointing only architects to certifier roles, for government public contracts?

We know at least one Architectural firm has complained to the Competition Authority regarding this practice, fearing public contracts if awarded under these restrictive terms, may be subject to reversal if found in breach of Irish and EU competition law.

We note there was a heated discussion at the representative body for architects (RIAI) AGM in September 2014 regarding the legality of “collective bargaining” between representatives of the RIAI  and the Department of Education concerning joint appointment of design certifier and architect for transition school projects.

We wonder given the slow uptake of the private voluntary register for contractors (CIRI)and similar slow-down in commencements under BC(A)R SI.9, have any public sector projects stalled due to lack of availability of certifiers? We note under SI9 the appointment is a personal one, and due to liability concerns most employees of firms are unwilling to act in these new roles.

Project in DCC: DCC need an Assigned Certifier under “architectural and related services” (link here)

“Conservation Architectural Services — Grade 1 (incl. design team lead) and associated specialist skills, i.e. Fire Safety Design Services, Disability Access Design Services, Employer‘s Representative for the Works Contract, and Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier services as defined under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014.”

Notice at:



Section I: Contracting authority

i.1) name, addresses and contact point(s)


Martin McDonagh

Community & Social Development Section, Block 3, Floor 1, Civic Offices, Wood Quay


+353 8711252947

Internet address(es):

General address of the contracting authority:

Address of the buyer profile:

Electronic access to information:

Further information can be obtained from: The above mentioned contact point(s)

Specifications and additional documents (including documents for competitive dialogue and a dynamic purchasing system) can be obtained from:

Contact point(s): From etenders website only. Internet address:

Tenders or requests to participate must be sent to: The above mentioned contact point(s)

i.2) type of the contracting authority

Regional or local authority

i.3) main activity

General public services

i.4) contract award on behalf of other contracting authorities

The contracting authority is purchasing on behalf of other contracting authorities: no

Section II: Object of the contract

ii.1) description

ii.1.1) title attributed to the contract by the contracting authority:

Establishment of a single party framework agreement for integrated design services for the development of Richmond Barracks.

ii.1.2) type of contract and location of works, place of delivery or of performance


Service category No 12: Architectural services; engineering services and integrated engineering services; urban planning and landscape engineering services; related scientific and technical consulting services; technical testing and analysis services

Main site or location of works, place of delivery or of performance: Dublin 8.

NUTS code Dublin

ii.1.3) information about a public contract, a framework agreement or a dynamic purchasing system (dps)

The notice involves the establishment of a framework agreement

ii.1.4) information on framework agreement

Framework agreement with a single operator

Duration of the framework agreement

Duration in years: 4

Estimated total value of purchases for the entire duration of the framework agreement

Estimated value excluding VAT:

Range: between 200 000 and 600 000 EUR

ii.1.5) short description of the contract or purchase(s)

Establishment of a single party framework agreement for integrated design services for the development of Richmond Barracks.

ii.1.6) common procurement vocabulary (cpv)

Architectural and related services (CPV: 71200000), Architectural, construction, engineering and inspection services (CPV: 71000000), Engineering services (CPV: 71300000), Civil engineering consultancy services (CPV: 71311000), Structural engineering consultancy services (CPV: 71312000),Building services (CPV: 71315000), Building services consultancy services (CPV: 71315210), Health and safety services (CPV: 71317200), Engineering design services (CPV: 71320000), Engineering design services for mechanical and electrical installations for buildings (CPV: 71321000), Quantity surveying services (CPV: 71324000), Urban planning and landscape architectural services (CPV: 71400000)

ii.1.7) information about government procurement agreement (gpa)

The contract is covered by the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA): yes

ii.1.8) lots

This contract is divided into lots: no

ii.1.9) information about variants

Variants will be accepted: no

ii.2) quantity or scope of the contract

ii.2.1) total quantity or scope:

The Contracting Authority (Dublin City Council) is seeking to establish a single-party framework agreement for integrated design team services for the development of Richmond Barracks. The framework agreement will be established with a single economic operator comprising the following disciplines:

(a) Conservation Architectural Services — Grade 1 (incl. design team lead) and associated specialist skills, i.e. Fire Safety Design Services, Disability Access Design Services, Employer‘s Representative for the Works Contract, and Design Certifier and Assigned Certifier services as defined under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

(b) Civil and Structural Engineering Services,

(c) Quantity Surveying Services,

(d) Building Services Engineering, Inc. Building Energy Rating,

(e) Landscape Architectural Services, and

(f) Project Supervisor for the Design Process.

Only those Applicants capable of delivering all of the services listed above (whether in-house or as a grouping/consortium) will be considered. Therefore, applications relation to one or several of these disciplines only are not acceptable and will be rejected.

The single party framework agreement will be established on foot of an initial contract for the preliminary design, detailed design and planning application, procurement of works contractor, works supervision and handover of work stages of the Richmond Barracks Interpretive Centre Project.

Further information on the framework agreement and initial contract is available from the Qualification Questionnaires available to download from

Estimated value excluding VAT:

Range: between 200 000 and 600 000 EUR

ii.2.2) information about options

Options: no

ii.2.3) information about renewals

This contract is subject to renewal: no

ii.3) duration of the contract or time limit for completion

Duration in months: 048 (from the award of the contract)

Section III: Legal, economic, financial and technical information

iii.1) conditions relating to the contract

iii.1.3) legal form to be taken by the group of economic operators to whom the contract is to be awarded:

Prior to the conclusion of the framework agreement, the Contracting Authority reserves the right to seek copies of any agreements between the members of the consortium if the successful tenderer is a consortium or grouping of members.

The contracting authority reserves the right, at its absolute discretion, to require a lead firm to contract:

— on the basis of joint and several liability with each member of the candidate executing the contract,

— with a particular single member of the tenderer as the prime contractor, with the other members providing collateral warranties and/or guarantees; or

— as an incorporated or unincorporated special purpose vehicle, with collateral warranties and/or guarantees from the members of the candidate.

iii.1.4) other particular conditions

The performance of the contract is subject to particular conditions: no

iii.2) conditions for participation

iii.2.1) personal situation of economic operators, including requirements relating to enrolment on professional or trade registers

Information and formalities necessary for evaluating if the requirements are met: Please refer to qualification documents available to download from

iii.2.2) economic and financial ability

Information and formalities necessary for evaluating if the requirements are met: Please refer to qualification documents available to download from

Minimum level(s) of standards possibly required: Please refer to qualification documents available to download from

iii.2.3) technical capacity

Information and formalities necessary for evaluating if the requirements are met:

Please refer to qualification documents available to download from

Minimum level(s) of standards possibly required:

Please refer to qualification documents available to download from

iii.3) conditions specific to services contracts

iii.3.1) information about a particular profession

Execution of the service is reserved to a particular profession: yes

Reference to the relevant law, regulation or administrative provision: The successful framework operator must be included on the statutory Register for Architects as required under the Building Control Act, 2007. Further information on registration can be found

The Irish Point of Single Contact (PSC) has been established as the point of single contact for Ireland as required under the Services Directive 2006/123/EC. The role of the PSC is to assist service providers who wish to provide services in Ireland, by connecting them with the relevant competent authorities in order to complete all relevant procedures.

iii.3.2) staff responsible for the execution of the service

Legal persons should indicate the names and professional qualifications of the staff responsible for the execution of the service: yes

Section IV: Procedure

iv.1) type of procedure

iv.1.1) type of procedure

Accelerated restricted

Justification for the choice of accelerated procedure: ‘Compliance with the usual time-limits would be rendered impracticable for reasons of urgency’. The execution of the project is subject to an extremely tight timeframe and is subject to stringent conditions by the funding body. The project is also subject to planning permission, site investigations and conservation works. The project must be delivered by March 2016.

IV.1.2) Limitations on the number of operators who will be invited to tender or to participate.

Envisaged number of operators: 5.

Objective criteria for choosing the limited number of candidates: Applications received will be assessed on the basis of the rules, criteria and weightings set out in the Qualification Questionnaire. It is envisaged that the top 5 scoring Candidates (subject to the quality and number of applications received) which also meet the minimum criteria and rules for selection set out in the Qualification Questionnaire will be invited to tender.

iv.2) award criteria

iv.2.1) award criteria

The most economically advantageous tender in terms of the criteria stated in the specifications, in the invitation to tender or to negotiate or in the descriptive document

iv.2.2) information about electronic auction

An electronic auction will be used: no

iv.3) administrative information

iv.3.1) file reference number attributed by the contracting authority:


iv.3.2) previous publication(s) concerning the same contract


iv.3.3) conditions for obtaining specifications and additional documents or descriptive document

Payable documents: no

iv.3.4) time limit for receipt of tenders or requests to participate

17.10.2014 – 12:00

iv.3.6) language(s) in which tenders or requests to participate may be drawn up

English. Irish.

Section VI: Complementary information

vi.1) information about recurrence

This is a recurrent procurement: no

vi.2) information about european union funds

The contract is related to a project and/or programme financed by European Union funds: no

vi.3) additional information

Dublin City Council is subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 1997, 2003. If you consider that any of the information supplied by you is either commercially sensitive or confidential in nature, this should be highlighted and the reasons for the sensitivity specified. In such cases, the relevant material, will in response to the FOI request; be examined in the light of the exemptions provided for in the Acts.

2. It will be a condition for the establishment of the framework agreement and award of any call-off contract that the successful Tenderer and all sub-contractors (if applicable) produce a valid Tax Clearance Certificate from the Revenue Commissioners in compliance with Circular (43) 2006 (or as amended) and that the certificate will be maintained for the duration of the contract and will be on a 12 month basis. In the case of a non-resident Tenderer, a statement of suitability from the Revenue Commissioners will be required.

3. Suppliers must register their interest on the eTenders web site ( in order to be included on the mailing list for clarifications.

4. Please note in relation to all documents, that where reference is made to a particular standard, make, source, process, trademark, type or patent, that this is not to be regarded as a de facto requirement. In all such cases it should be understood that such indications are to be treated strictly and solely for reference purposes only, to which the words ‘or equivalent’ will always be appended.

5. Please note also that all information relating to attachments, including clarifications and changes, will be published on the Irish Government Procurement Opportunities Portal ( only. Registration is free of charge. Dublin City Council will not accept responsibility for information relayed (or not relayed) via third parties.

6. Emailed/faxed/late tenders will not be accepted. Tenderers are asked to include a return address on the packaging.

7. Tenders may be submitted in English or in the Irish language.

8. Please note that OJEU contracts are covered by the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA).

9. All queries regarding this tender must be emailed to for the attention of Martin Mc Donagh. Queries must be in question format and must be submitted by email. Responses will be circulated to those candidates/tenderers that have registered an interest in this notice on the Irish Government procurement opportunities portal

The details of the party making the query will not be disclosed when circulating the response. All queries must be submitted by 12:00 noon on 9.10.2014 to enable issue of responses to all interested parties.

11. Please note that where documents are made available in both PDF and Word format, in the event that there is any discrepancy between the documents, the PDF version will take precedence.

vi.4) procedures for appeal

vi.4.1) body responsible for appeal procedures


The Four Courts, Inns Quay


vi.4.2) lodging of appeals

Precise information on deadline(s) for lodging appeals: Please refer to the relevant Irish Statutory Instruments (SI 130 of 2010 and SI 420 of 2010) available at

vi.4.3) service from which information about the lodging of appeals may be obtained


vi.5) date of dispatch of this notice:


Press: SI.9 Advisors- who and how much?

by Bregs Blog admin team

The following article by Astrid Madden in “Self Build and improve your home” appeared in the Winter edition off the magazine, and was blogged on 30th September 2014. Link to online version here.



Advisors: Who they are, what they do and how much they cost

Architect and architectural technologist: They are mostly concerned with the design of your home, drawing up the plans of a house or extension on the basis of your wish list. Even if you have a very clear idea of the layout you want, a professional designer is likely to make alterations to create an overall style based on their experience of what works and what doesn’t. The design process can therefore take a lot of working through and usually is a combination of ideas from both parties. Where required (ROI: new builds and extensions over 40sqm, NI: new builds and large extensions – see, the plans are then brought forward to your local authority’s planning department for approval. More detailed plans will be drawn up for the construction stage, which the architect or technologist can also put together for you, although in ROI you will need to make sure the design professional(s) you appoint is/are able to submit statutory documents (including design and completion certification) to the Building Control Authority.

Indeed, it’s important to know that in ROI with the updated building control regulations, only certain categories of professionals are recognised by the Department of Environment’s relating Code of Practice (see Statutory Roles on next page), namely Registered architects, Registered building surveyors and Chartered engineers. Currently, architectural technologists are not included in this list, which implies only Registered architects, Registered building surveyors and Chartered engineers can submit plans to the Building Control Authority, which is one of the statutory (mandatory) requirements of the new regulations; see article on page 34 for more.

According to the RIAI, if you appoint someone who isn’t on the Code of Practice list, you can get planning approval, however when the time comes to submit plans to the Building Control Authority you’ll have to hire someone who is on the list to do so. The new design professional is likely to have to carry out ‘due diligence’ on your initial plans for a fee, checking that all of the calculations and drawings comply with the building regulations.

In NI all architects are legally required to register with the Architects Registration Board ( and in ROI with the statutory register administered by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland ( The RIAI acts as both the statutory body legally in charge of registering/ protecting the title of ‘architect’ and as a professional body. In the UK the ARB is independent of the Royal Institute of British Architects (, which is a professional body only. The Royal Society of Ulster Architects ( is the NI branch of RIBA.

There is no statutory register for architectural technologists, but the title ‘chartered’ is protected by law in NI and is administered by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (; CIAT has chartered members with registered practices in NI and ROI. There exist dual members, who have both architectural and architectural technology qualifications, and these are both registered with CIAT and with the ARB and/or RIBA. Different, but similar to the technologist is the architectural technician, who provides technical support to architects and architectural technologists; they do not offer their services directly to clients.

Planning consultant: To support your planning application you should consider hiring someone who will advise how to prepare it in order to have the best chance of approval. In addition to practices or individuals specialising in planning, many architectural, engineering or building surveying firms will provide this service.

Lobbying in the Construction Industry (part 1)

by Bregs Blog admin team


A new report on lobbying in Ireland calls for a two-year “cooling-off” period for former ministers and special advisers. See Irish Times article “Report into lobbying recommends two-year cooling-off period“. A report into lobbying recommends two-year cooling-off period. Transparency International urges fines for officials who fail to comply with rulings. Extract:

“Transparency International will recommend that senior public officials should be required to receive permission from an independent oversight body before taking up a private sector position where a conflict of interest could be perceived.

…Penalties including fines and publication of the decision should be imposed on any former public official who fails to comply with the body’s ruling or to deliver information sought by it,” the report states.”

There has been widespread concern and criticism of the new building regulations SI9 introduced in march 2014. Seen as a paper exercise and ‘a political solution’, SI9 reinforces the current system of self-regulation in Ireland and creates a complicated ‘red-tape’ exercise in hands-off private regulation which is resulting in massive costs to consumer and industry. Billed by former minister Phil Hogan as a solution to widespread building failures, SI9 was introduced with little public or professional back-ups being in place, and no consumer input.

Following on from a public consultation in 2012 only a small circle of key stakeholders were invited to participate in the formation of SI9. No consumer groups were involved.  The organisations invited to participate were representative bodies for architects, engineers and chartered surveyors (RIAI, ACEI and SCSI respectively) along with the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). Most of these bodies now have statutory roles and operate self-policing registers. The CIF register CIRI is due to be put on a statutory footing in March 2015.

TD Catherine Murphy has been scathing in her criticism of lobbing particularly in the Construction sector. In an article from the Irish Times from October 2014 she brought the spotlight on lobbying by vested interests in the construction industry. See article here.


As a public representative at both local and national level, this is the second time I have experienced a crash in the construction sector. We are moving back into construction without having repaired the problems or addressed the issues involved. We are starting the process again. The Government just has a short time left in office and the important changes that should have been made before construction started again have not been made.

…This is a small country and we are all aware of the informal lobbying that takes place, whether in the Galway tent, on golf courses or wherever else

See Dáil Debate here.

Many consumers perceive that the government has conveyed vested interest groups with a monopoly on various statutory roles within the construction process. This is most visible in the self-build sector, where owner/ builders legally are unable to build their own houses without the involvement of a contractor, preferably a CIRI registered one. This has resulted in vast cost increases, particularly for housing (see links below) and a significant fall-off in new self-built homes being undertaken this year.

With Local Authorities already chronically under-resourced, with no additional training or staff allocated to operating the new system, problems such as rogue or cowboy builder/ developers and serious materials issues such as pyrite are set to remain with us for some time.

All these representative bodies are now set for a windfall in income as a result. In order to operate as a registered professional under the new SI9 one must be on a register, and a hefty registration fee must be paid annually to these representative/policing organisations. With 60,000 operatives involved in various roles in the construction sector annual registration fees represent a bonanza for these key stakeholder bodies.

A significant reason for all these organisations to be supportive of SI.9. Even though most agree that the regulations bring little or no additional consumer protections to owners.

Other posts of interest:


more SI.9 costs

by Bregs Blog admin team

An earlier post (link we discussed the low compliance rates in home energy standards under ‘self certified’ Building Control. In the case of new homes, the hidden cost of non- compliance is in high energy bills for the homebuyer for every winter that they live in the house. 

A report in the Irish Examiner on ‘self certified’ septic tanks shows that Ireland paid fines of €2.64 million to the EU for non-compliance. (This was discounted from the original fine of €7.44 million in recognition of hardship).

“The (Comptroller and Auditor General’s) report also notes that an initial inspection of septic tanks showed that there was only a 47% compliance rate among owners in how they properly operated tanks.”
“The review found that in 138 cases (33% of inspections) the system constituted, or was likely to constitute, a risk to human health or the environment.”
The price of non-compliance  hitting the pockets of tax-payers- a €2,64million fine could have built a new school or 30?? Council houses.  Non-compliance has other hidden costs as it is  a risk to health in rural communities and a risk to contamination in the food chain, costs which will ultimately fall on the Exchequer.

What BCAR could learn from the NCT

by Bregs Blog admin team


The following opinion piece was received from a registered architect on October 20th 2014

What BCAR could learn from the NCT

Ireland had a problem with safety standards in cars. There were too many older cars, they weren’t being maintained properly. Rural roads and bad weather compounded the problems and “something had to be done”.

In 2000 the NCT (National Car Test) was established and now all cars over 4 years old are tested regularly. I recently visited a test centre: in less than 25 minutes and for the cost of €55. I was back on the road. The testing centre ran like clockwork because the mechanics are trained, the equipment is calibrated and the testing standardised. It works and it’s very efficient. They can fully test a car for €55 without making a loss. All centres work to the same system and the standard of card on our roads has improved.

If the NCT was run on the BCAR (Building Control Amendment Regulations) model, testing would be carried out in every filling station in the country- all of them would have to train staff and buy in equipment. They’d have to continually upgrade machinery and keep it operational, devise their own computer record system, bring in an emissions expert, keep oil samples, file forms and issue reports. It wouldn’t cost €55.

Problems might arise when different garages worked to different standards- word would get around about who would turn a blind eye to bald tyres, who didn’t even check the wipers. Inevitably the cheapest garages would attract a lot of business.

The powers that be might find it difficult to keep track of thousands of operators. It might prove impossible to police the system effectively or to tackle the cowboy operators.  Perhaps the diligent operators would be priced out of the market in a race to the bottom.

Some of the mid-range garages might find it hard to keep up: a staff member who is selling cars, ordering parts and meeting customers might find it very hard to stay on top of a raft of ever changing technical requirements, to manage the administration and reporting.

Some operators might stop offering the service altogether, referring their customers on to specialist garages who have dedicated staff and equipment.

In time, dedicated centres of excellence might develop in every county where specially trained staff could do the job better and faster. These specialist operators wouldn’t be distracted by other tasks, they could work more efficiently and develop greater expertise. In time, as their systems improved and the volume of business grew, they might be able to offer a good service for as little as €55. Just like the NCT.

Perhaps BCAR has something to learn from this? Dedicated specialist staff and standardised systems are more cost-effective and easier to quality control.

lobbying and construction industry-

by Bregs Blog admin team

This is good- Village Magazine 2012

From Construct Ireland, now Passive Hiuse Plus magazine. The whole sorry saga of the building  industry lobbying.

So South Dublin CoCo were involved?

“designed and supervised on-site by well-regarded architectural consultants,”
such as?
…subsequently divided up between Murray O’Laoire Architects, O’Mahony Pike architects, South Dublin County Council Architect’s Department and Howley Harrington Architects. Balgaddy D and E are now about to go on site (by Murray O’Laoire Architects and Howley Harrington Architects respectively).”

**PS remenber Gama? And the unpaid Turkush workers (the kebabs according to Conor Lenihan!)

Funding a system of independent Building Control inspections

by Bregs Blog admin team

By Bregs Blog Admin on 6th October 2014

Funding the Local Authority Building Control Departments: 

There were 153* Commencement Notices lodged in Dublin in August of this year. Commencement Notices incur a fee of €30 per building and of the developments listed there were ? Buildings…. (Very few CNs for more than 1 building need to check?)

That’s an income of  €4,590 for the entire month split between four Local Authorities. For arguments sake lets say it’s split evenly and each local authority got €1,237.50. To run their building control department. For an entire month.

For this they are expected to process the Notices, check they are valid, keep a Register, answer queries from the public, inspect 12-15% of building sites in their area, catch any illegal developments, process completion paperwork, make sure there’s no pyrites around and of course prevent the next Priory Hall. For €1,237.50 a month. It would barely keep the lights on and run a photocopier.

They must be the envy of Longford County Council who didn’t receive a single Commencement Notice fee of €30 in the entire month of August. But they had to keep their Building Control office open and functioning.

Isn’t it time that the DECLG stopped expecting the local authorities to subsidise developers and building owners and looked again at the €30. fee that was set in 1997?

BRegs Blogs will be running a series of posts about resourcing an effective building control system.

*69 Notices for 1-14 Aug and 84 Notices for 15-31 August 2014 (source:

Other posts of Interest: