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: December, 2015

October archive posts

by Bregs Blog admin team

Posts for October 2014 (61)

“The Assigned Certifier is the one in the lion’s den” Rory O’Donnell, solicitor

Commencement notice problems | Does size matter?

Help Required | Dept. of the Environment | Deadline Monday 3rd November 2014

Senators ask Minister to Revoke SI.9 (2 of 4)

Commencement Notice issues

60 new schools delayed due to SI.9 | Independent.ie

3 County Councils ask Minister to Revoke SI.9

World Bank Report 2015 | Ireland’s poor construction regulations are the biggest drag on our ranking

Design Certifier | RIAI advise separate appointment

Results | S.I. 9 Assigned Certifier Survey

Legal Alert | Commencement Notices since 1st March 2014

S.I.9 – Where are we now? 27 October 2014

SI.9 completion stage and the BCMS | Clouds are gathering!

ALERT | Owners may need Certifiers on porch extensions?

Gurdgiev: Irish Residential Property Prices: Q3 2014

UK + Ireland | take a quick trip to Holyhead with Breg Blog…

Clampdown on self-building is stymying construction industry | Irish Examiner

Residential construction down in 2014 Q1+ Q2: (CSO statistics)

Commencement Notices – Update | 22 October 2014

Minister Damien English “have to get construction right – this time”

12,000 social + affordable houses at no cost to taxpayer?

UK and Ireland: Take a quick drive to Newry with BReg Blog…

Upskilling of construction workforce crucial to achieve a compliance culture.

BC(A)R S.I.9 Assigned + Design Certifier Survey

How much would 100% independent inspections by Local Authorities cost?

BREGS Blog Archive 5- MARCH 2014

BC(A)R S.I.9 Assigned + Design Certifier Survey

Part L compliance – Who wants a building control service provided by cowboys?

BC(A)R S.I.9 | 33 Weeks | Assigned + Design Certifier Survey

Architectural Technologists + Architects | Parity of Esteem?

€ 5 billion | The extraordinary cost of S.I.9 self-certification by 2020

Karl Whelan: “…raft of cost-increasing building regs are at least partly responsible”

BC(A)R S.I.9 | 33 Weeks | Assigned + Design Certifier Survey

Irish Times: Housing measure will help Dublin’s crisis, but not in the short term

Engineers Ireland Journal | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI Ancillary Certificates + Self-certification

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

Notes from the (thermal) edge: Part L Compliance (2 of 2)

€37m spent on ‘affordable housing’ sites unsuitable for residential use

SCSI: SI9 is “positive change”

Part L compliance issues – S.I.9 (1 of 2) october 12th

SCSI | “Highly unlikely Priory Hall would happen in Britain”- Look Back 4

Response to Engineers Ireland article

S.I.9 Job Opportunities: Building Control Technical Director €75-90k p.a.

The Design Certifier Conundrum | Retraction

Turning a blind eye | ‘Drawings not for Construction”

‘No Minister’ | RIAI Annual Conference 2014

“Size isn’t important” | Are shoe box apartments really the solution?

RIAI Complainee investigates IAOSB Complaint

S.I. 9 | Your Questions for the Law Society

BCMS: My First Validation | Mark Stephens MRIAI

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November Archive posts

by Bregs Blog admin team

Posts for November 2014 in reverse chronological order (59 in total)

November 2014 breaks Blog record! | Top Ten Posts

‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly

Revoke SI.9 | IAOSB / Self-Builders’ Letter to TD’s

SI.9 causing major delays to school projects

Imminent changes to SI.9 announced | Minister Alan Kelly T.D.

Village magazine| What’s happening with housing policy in 2014?

BCMS Alert | Last day for Christmas Completion!

Catherine Murphy TD | Today’s Housing Promises Won’t Bear Fruit for at Least Two Years

When is an extension not extensions? | The 40M2 question…

Applications for dispensation or relaxation of Building Regulations

SI.9 Cost for 2014 = 3 x Ballymun Regeneration Projects

Ireland – What’s Next?| TV 3 Series on Ireland’s Housing Crisis

RIAI | Architectural Technologist update

BREGS Blog Archive 6 | APRIL 2014

Donegal Pyrite update

Iaosb letter to Minister Kelly – Revoke or Revise S.I.9

RIAI Past Presidents Paper #1 | The Building Regulations and Consumer protection

Dáil | Architectural Technologist update

Is there a regulation for thermal bridging condensation risk? | Part L

Attorney General asked if S.I.9 is in breach of Constitutional Rights

Gurdgiev | PMI “a bit bubbly, a bit bonkers…”

40 SqM SI.9 exemption update | 18 November 2014

The Latest Homebond House Building Manual: A Critique | Joseph Little Architects

Press | 170% rise in home improvements

Dáil update | Pyrite in Mayo

Ronan Lyons | Regulations pushing up the costs of homes

ALERT | SI.9 Christmas Completion Countdown

Top 10 for week ending 16th November 2014

Government Reports + Professional Opinion Ignored in SI.9 | look back 5

The Latest Homebond House Building Manual: A Critique | Joseph Little Architects

BCMS | Chambers Ireland Excellence in Local Government Award

Irish Mirror | Call for an end to pyrite mess

Dr Rory Hearne | + 168,000 empty houses in the country

Opinion | 40SqM BC(A)R SI.9 Extensions

Sunday Business Post | Karl Deeter “Building regulations – rules don’t deliver results”

RIAI PRACTICE NEWS : 40SqM BC(A)R SI.9 Exemption

Engineers Ireland Journal | Jack Kavanagh- is SI.9 unjust to both engineer and society?

± 40 sq.m. exemption from SI.9 | Kevin Tyrrell Architectural Technologist

Homebond | Assigned Certifier + defects liability policy for €2,000?

CSO- Dwelling units approved down 16.6% in one year

Social Media | BRegs Blog Help + Advice

HOUSES + 40Sqm #BCAR

Room for improvement on social housing policy

Why did Phil Hogan think SI.9 would cost less than €3000 ?

RIAI Update | What happened at EGM

Want to live in Dublin? | Only the wealthy need apply!

BRegs Blog @ 200,000 views

IAOSB submission to DECLG

RIAI EGM | 4th November 2014 | Who said what?

Dáil TD’s want to Revoke SI.9 (4 of 4)

S.I.9 CPD | Questions for Assigned Certifier

S.I. 9 | We have found the Gaps!

No more snag lists | with S.I. 9

S.I.9 CPD | The Costs + Conflicts

RIAI EGM | Tuesday 4th November 2014

Top dozen posts | October 2014.

Results | S.I. 9 Assigned Certifier Survey

Revoke S.I.9 – Fine Gael internal report to Phil Hogan in 2013 (3 of 4)

World Bank Report 2015 | UK v Ireland the real cost of “Dealing with construction permits”

So what should be done with S.I. 9?

by Bregs Blog admin team

The following is a briefing document on the new building regulations, prepared for a public representative by a registered professional. It was submitted to us on 25th June 2014.

1. Background 

The building regulations were introduced in 1991 in response to the “Stardust disaster”, in which many people lost their lives, a tragedy never to be repeated. They did much to raise building standards. But there was never adequate enforcement. The €30.75 per house Commencement Notice fee charged in 1991 today, 22 years later, stands at … €30. The system never paid for itself.

It took the pyrites and “Priory Hall” disasters to introduce the next round of changes. An Irish solution to an Irish problem:- “When there’s a problem with enforcing a law: change it.”

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, seek to respond to pyrites and “Priory Hall”. The Minister’s intention was and remains good, even if non-enforcement was the problem.

2. What’s wrong with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations?

They

  • Impact on every significant building and interior fit-out project (not just on the speculative residential sector where the problems were caused);
  • Confer a monopoly on building design and inspection of construction on registered architects (also “surveyors”, but of whom there are only about 150 in Ireland compared with 2500 architects, and “chartered engineers”, most of whom work outside construction);
  • Excludes experienced competent architectural technologists from earning a livelihood;
  • By requiring a competent builder to be appointed, closes down the centuries old tradition of “self-build” in rural areas – a tradition still flourishing in other countries, including in Northern Ireland;
  • Do nothing for a new house buyer except set up a paper trail for them to follow in the event of building failure;
  • Expose valuable intellectual property to internet theft (Foreign Direct Investment projects);

3. BC(A)R and pyrites

Set up to report on the causes of the “pyrite problem” and to make recommendations as to how that problem might be avoided in the future, the “Pyrite Panel” reported to the Minister in June 2012.

The regulations fail to implement the relevant recommendations in the the Pyrite Panel report.

Recommendation 18, a “Mandatory certification system” recommends that “the system of independent inspections, carried out by the building control officers, should be strengthened to complement the mandatory certification process for buildings”.

This was not done. To get building regulations compliance from a builder and his subcontractors, there must be the reasonable likelihood of statutory-backed inspection by the building control authority.

Recommendation 21: General Insurance issues, recommended (b) “a requirement for project-related insurance whereby cover for each specific project is available and adequate and is related to the project only”.

This was not done. By not implementing this recommendation, the regulations ensure litigation and distress for home-owners will continue to feature where buildings go wrong, whether in pyrites-affected dwellings or for the Priory Hall residents.

4. So what should be done with S.I. 9?

S.I. 9 should be scrapped.

A proper system of independent third-party inspection, by experienced architects and engineers paid for by the developer but licensed by and answerable to the local authority, would achieve better results; level the field for the self-builders; allow technologists to participate; guarantee local authority-backed inspection of 100% of building sites; would solve the intellectual property issues; and could be done for €2m per year.

To see such a system in operation, take the bus to Enniskillen. Such system can and does work, deliver better building, and can cost the State a net nothing, the cost being paid for by the Developer and through increased Commencement Notice fees.

 

Passive house: an alternative method of meeting Part L?

by Bregs Blog admin team

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In this article from Passive House + magazine from 08 December 2014, author Philip Lee suggests that Passive House standard could be used as an alternative means of compliance for Part L under the new building regulations. Link to article here. Extract:

__________

Passive house: an alternative method of meeting Part L?

The passive house standard may be acceptable as an alternative method of compliance with Ireland’s stringent energy efficiency regulations, according to a leading expert in energy and construction law, leaving the door open to a similar approach in the UK.

The equivalent of England’s Approved Document L1A, Ireland’s Technical Guidance Document L for dwellings demands 60% energy and carbon reductions compared to 2005 levels, and requires renewable energy generation – 10kWh/m2/yr of thermal energy or 4kWh/m2/yr of electrical. These changes were heavily influenced by the campaigning work of this magazine’s predecessor, Construct Ireland.

But as with the UK regulations, the detail on compliance is contained within guidance documents, rather than in the regulation of Part L itself. As legal expert Philip Lee writes in the Irish edition of Passive House Plus issue 9, guidance documents don’t have the force of law, meaning alternative methods of compliance – such as passive house – could conceivably be used.

Curiously, buildings that go beyond Ireland’s 60% energy reductions can struggle to meet Ireland’s renewable energy targets, as they may not have sufficiently high energy demand to easily meet the 10kWh/m2/yr renewables target. Irish passive house advocates have long argued that dwellings meeting the standard should not be required to generate such quantities of renewable energy.

According to Lee: “It could be argued that the proportion of renewable energy to fossil fuels inherent in the technical guidance document could also be applied to a passive house. Therefore, if a passive house consumes 50% less primary energy, then the “proportion” of renewables set out in the technical guidance document, namely 10 kWh/m2 (heating) and 4 kWh/m2 (electrical energy), should be reduced by 50% to 5 kWh/m2 and 2 kWh/m2 respectively.”

“An alternative approach to the same interpretation of “reasonable” would be to look at the net balance of brown energy that is produced in a standard house and compare that to the net brown energy produced in a passive house. Provided that the net amount of fossil fuel being consumed in the passive house is less than that being consumed in a standard house then it could be argued that any actual energy coming from renewable sources would meet the ‘reasonable test’.”

Lee also points out that under the RES Directive, EU members states must “require the use of minimum levels of energy from renewable resources” both in new buildings and existing buildings that are subject to major renovation, from 31 December 2014. This means, he says, that Ireland’s Part L will be in breach of the directive if it is not quickly updated, as it specifies a “proportion” of renewable energy rather than a minimum amount. He warns that targets set in a guidance document don’t suffice, given their non-mandatory status. The four regions of the UK are also set to be in breach, based on current policy.

Lee points out that the directive encourages member states to take into account “national measures relating to substantial increases in energy efficiency” and to “passive, low or zero energy buildings” when updating their building regulations to increase the share of renewable energy.

Other posts of interest:

Is there a regulation for thermal bridging condensation risk? | Part L

Sunday Business Post | Karl Deeter “Building regulations – rules don’t deliver results”

Homebond | Assigned Certifier + defects liability policy for €2,000?

Part L compliance – Who wants a building control service provided by cowboys?

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

SI.9 “each phase should be designed to stand alone” | BCMS

by Bregs Blog admin team

Half_price

The following email question to, and answer from the Building Control Management System (BCMS) was sent to us by a registered professional on the 11th December 2014.

The BCMS confirm that ” each phase of the development must be compliant and not have outstanding compliances in other phases even if this requires completing all the development works in advance”.

The BCMS clarification  suggests that completion of larger mixed-use projects and multi-unit residential schemes may be more onerous than was realised under the new regulations. Financing of larger projects frequently depends on early phases being complete and sold on, while later stages and some common areas, basements, roads and drainage may still be under construction. BReg Blog notes shown [ ]:

________

[Dear BCMS]

The Code of Practice says that phased completions are possible.

Does the BCMS Commencement Notice have to be done as ‘one per house’ so that there can be separate Completion Certs for each house?

Or

If it’s ‘one per estate’ for Commencement Notices (see RIAI advice) can you you then just submit separate Completion Certs for each house under the one Commencement Notice?  If so is the Register set up for this?

What is an ‘overall’ Completion Cert for the development (see RIAI advice) and what will this cover?

Is it the same for apartments?

RIAI advice says:

How will the Commencement Notice work for a Housing Estate of 100 Houses?

A.: One Commencement Notice to be issued, if all the houses are to be built together. If not then a number of Commencement Notices will have to be issued for each phase.

100 Completion Certificates will have to be issued; one for each house as completed, and then one for overall development/ external work.

localgov1localgov2

_________

Reply from BCMS, Date: 11 December 2014

Subject: Certificate of Compliance on Completion-Phased Completion Considerations

S. I. 9 of 2014 (9) A Certificate of Compliance on Completion may refer to works, buildings, including areas within a building, or developments, including phases thereof, and relevant details shall be clearly identified on the Certificate of Compliance on Completion itself, and subject to validation in line with the requirements at paragraphs (3) and (4), on the register.

Overview;

As a general rule the purpose of the Certificate of purpose of the Certificate of Compliance on Completion is to required for compliance with the;

  1. Administrative requirements as set out in the Building Control Regulations which is basically 3(a), (b)(i)  and the
  2. Design requirements 3(b)(ii) i.e. the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations before
  3. Works or buildings can be opened, occupied or used

Therefore it is recommended that any phasing of developments for the purpose of Certificate of Compliance on Completion Certificates should be carefully considered in the context of interdependency of the Parts A-M with each other and the other phases in the development.

For the purpose of best practice housing development and construction compliance each phase should be designed to stand alone and as such compliance with Part A-M should be addressed both individually and collectively.

In essence each phase of the development must be compliant and not have outstanding compliances in other phases even if this requires completing all the development works in advance i.e. Part B access for fire appliances, Part H treatment systems, Part M access and use, Part L, J there may be district heating etc. in general each phase must stand alone and should be assessed on its merits; best method is to audit the phase against the particular requirements of the Building Regulations, a consolidated summary is set out below for ease of reference

Reference is made to the requirements of the Building Control Regulations the relevant section which is set out below;

“Building Control Regulations 1997-2014-Part IIIC – Certificate of Compliance on Completion

20F (1) Subject to paragraph (2), a Certificate of Compliance on Completion shall be submitted to a building control authority and relevant particulars thereof shall be included on the Register maintained under Part IV before works or a building to which Part II or Part IIIA applies may be opened, occupied or used.

(2) The requirement for a Certificate of Compliance on Completion shall apply to the following works and buildings –

(a) the design and construction of a new dwelling,

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

(c) works to which Part III applies.

(3) A Certificate of Compliance on Completion shall be –

in the form specified for that purpose in the Sixth Schedule, and

(b) accompanied by such plans, calculations, specifications and particulars as are necessary to outline how the works or building as completed –

(i) differs from the plans, calculations, specifications and particulars submitted for the purposes of Article 9(1)(b)(i) or Article 20A(2)(a)(ii) as appropriate (to be listed and included at the Annex to the Certificate of Compliance on Completion), and

(ii) complies with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations, and

[Part A — Structure; Part B—Fire Safety; Part C—Site preparation and resistance to moisture; Part D—Materials and workmanship; Part E—Sound; Part F—Ventilation; Part G—Hygiene;

Part H—Drainage and waste water disposal; Part J—Heat producing appliances; Part K—Stairways, ladders, ramps and guards; Part L—Conservation of fuel and energy; Part M—Access for disabled people]

(c) accompanied by the Inspection Plan as implemented by the Assigned Certifier in accordance with the Code of Practice referred to under article 20G(1) or a suitable equivalent.

Other posts of interest:

Have residential Completion Certificates been fully considered?

Completion Certificates for Multi-unit Housing

BCMS Completion Stage | No Ancillary Certificates required!

SI.9 causing major delays to school projects

SI.9 completion stage and the BCMS | Clouds are gathering!

5 Tips for Completion Certs

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

Build in 8 hours, wait 3 weeks for a Completion Cert!

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 

Are Local Authorities ready? Industry concern for completion stage: BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

SI.9 + Protected Structures | More gaps?

by Bregs Blog admin team

casino_marino

The following opinion piece was sent to the BRegs Blog by a specialist conservation architect on December 3rd 2014. There is an alternative opinion on this topic which suggests gaps in the new regulations. Because planning for Protected Structures only came into 2000 Planning Act and SI.9 only refers to Planning Regulations 1963-93 (now revoked), it could well be that quite an amount of minor works (to protected structures) that require planning permission under the 2000 Act may be undertaken using the short form commencement notice and may not require the services of design or assigned certifiers. We would be interested in getting further input on this from specialist conservation professionals and readers of the Blog.

SI.9 + Protected Structures

We explained the position in which we and our clients find ourselves in connection with the  new building control regulations.

  1.  There is no dispensation from the full or long Commencement Notice  under SI 9, Article 2 resulting from the requirement for a Fire Safety Certificate for a Place of Public Assembly and the fact that the small extension marginally exceeds the 40 m sq limit.
  2. Under SI. 243.2012  article 4.  No Building Energy Rating is required for a Protected Structure or Place of Worship, therefore no DEAP study nor Part L compliance is required.

In other words the long and short of it is that if any works to a protected structure of any type exceed 40 sq metres  then a long form of commencement notice and the concomitant additional fees and additional costs on the construction side occur. The difficulty of obtaining even meagre funds is ever present for this type of work.

The same applies to any works to a protected structure if a Fire Safety Certificate is required regardless of size.

In the case of reconstruction to a Monument of Record, the building works are exempted from the Building Regulations but not from the BCAR.

This is all very confusing and there are no straightforward  nor logical answers to any of this. Whether we like it or not the BCA Regulations will have an ongoing effect on most if not all conservation work in terms of time and expense.

In our view all works to Protected Structures should be exempted from the Long form of Commencement Notice under the BCAR.  They shall comply with Part B where possible and be subject to a Fire Safety Certificate and DACs in connection with public access. The works, as at present, shall be designed and specified by an accredited Conservation Architect, be subject to the approval of the Conservation and Planning Authorities and the Department if needs be.

The very nature of older buildings mitigate against predictable outcomes as covered in the Building Regulations.

I suspect that the present arrangements will present Conservation Officers with long term difficulties. We are left floundering around without direction and our impecunious clients searching for funds to satisfy a bureaucratic monster. It would be great if you can raise the awareness of these issues with your colleagues and the Department, for the necessity for the Assigned Certifier to Certify compliance with the Building Regulations in say,  works attached to or connected with an ancient structure is patently a nonsense.

Other posts of interest:

 

rainwater harvesting

by Bregs Blog admin team

Minister has no plans… http://www.kildarestreet.com/wrans/?id=2014-06-24a.804&s=%22Building+regulations%22

 

But wait…six months ago http://m.independent.ie/irish-news/all-new-buildings-to-have-rainwater-harvesting-systems-29882010.html