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.

Tag: amendment

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80

by bregs blog admin team

As Minister Hogan prepares to sign off on the final wording of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, we take a look at some of the government commissioned reports and the professional opinion that were ignored in the design of S.I.80.

Government Commissioned Reports:

The National Consumer Agency (2012): “the NCA would point to the undesirability of a situation arising whereby one entity could design, build, inspect and certify a building while no inspection by a Building Control Authority takes place.. Should a consumer purchase a dwelling become aware of non-compliance with building regulations, and bring the issue to the notice of the relevant Building Control Authority, the legislation allows the consumer to be designated as the party responsible for bringing the dwelling into a state of compliance. Consideration should be given to providing means by which responsibility for bringing a building up to a compliant state rests with the party responsible for the non-compliance in the first place”

The Pyrite Panel 2012: “…the Panel 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.. Project-related insurance whereby cover for each specific project is available and adequate and is related to the project only”

The Competition Authority 2012: “These concerns are (a) whether the proposed regulations would, in fact, afford proper protection to citizens, (b) whether the additional costs imposed by the proposed regulations are in proportion to any benefit they might bring, and (c) whether placing the onus for compliance on certain individuals involved in the construction process, rather than on an independent arm of the State, is appropriate”

The National Disability Authority 2006: “The findings of the Rogerson (2005) research and DoEHLG’s own 2003 survey suggest the need for vigilant on-site inspection for compliance with accessibility requirements. The provision of Disability Access Certificates does not preclude the requirement for strengthened enforcement and on-site inspection of buildings against Part M”

Chief Fire Officers Association Conference 2012: “Better Paperwork does not mean Better or Safer buildings!”

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland 2013: “It is believed that Latent Defects Insurance (LDI) would provide a cost-effective means of providing long-term protection for the recovery of the costs of repairing or replacing works following discovery of a latent defect. The insured party does not need to prove negligence and defects would be covered even were the contractor company is no longer in existence. Given the complexity involved in contractors individually providing their own policies, there would be a clear benefit in having a single LDI policy, where all works carried out under the Scheme were covered by a single provider, offering a single point of contact for claimants at an optimal cost.”

Professional & Registration Bodies:

The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland 2013: “Registration of builders must be part of the new system.. It is essential that the new monitoring and inspection systems provide for planned and random audits – on a risk analysis basis – of the documentation submitted to a local authority before building work actually commences, as well as inspection of buildings during construction… If such systems of inspection and analysis by building control authorities are not in place, then the danger remains of shoddy building practices continuing with consequent risks to the consumer”

Engineers Ireland 2012: “An appropriately strong and active inspection/auditing function being delivered by the appropriate state authorities is equally critically important in strengthening the existing Building Control System”

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland 2013: “The regulations do not address the Building Control Authority’s side of the equation and it will also be incumbent on the Government to ensure that appropriate review of operations occurs in this respect.” Alan Isdell, Surveyors Journal 2013

“severe risk of a hiatus in the construction industry” #bregs #Morning Ireland #JoanO’Connor

by bregs blog admin team

download (1)

Interview with Joan O’Çonnor on Morning Ireland: ‘RIAI call for postponement of Building Regulations’ 

Podcast at: feed://www.rte.ie/radio1/podcast/podcast_morningireland.xml

Listen back at: http://www.rte.ie/news/morningireland/

“What is needed is a system that prevents defects from occurring in the first place”

by bregs blog admin team

Article in today’s Irish Times on Building Regulations http://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/architects-say-building-regulations-need-review-1.1609227

What is PI Insurance?

by bregs blog admin team

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PI (Professional Indemnity) Insurance is taken out by those providing a professional service to provide cover against claims for error or negligence. Generally, PI covers the legal fees involved in defending a claim and the cost of ‘righting the wrong’ if the professional was found to have been at fault.

PI is to protect the professional against a claim, if he makes a mistake. It is, sometimes mistakenly, considered as future warranty for the building owner available to fix anything that goes wrong with the building. This is not the case, as there is no certainty that the professional was at fault or that a claim will be upheld in court.

There are two important points about PI:

Firstly it is on a ‘claims made’ basis.  The claim must be made during the policy, so a 2013 policy covers claims made in 2013, regardless of when the problem happened in the past. This is not like motor insurance- if you crash today and cancel the policy, a future claim will be valid once insurance was in place on the date of the accident.  This poses a problem for professionals and consumers alike; because in order to provide redress, PI insurance would have to be kept in place until the statute of limitations applies.

Secondly, in Ireland there is ‘joint and several’ liability. This means that even if a professional is 1% liable, the entire claim can be made against him as the ‘last man standing’.

€10m Pyrite compensation pack agreed – Will anything change under the new regulations?

by bregs blog admin team

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An initial €10 million of funding has been announced by the Government to repair homes damaged by pyrite. (Journal.ie 16/10/13). Pyrite damaged homes are being rectified at taxpayer expense because there’s no ready system of redress for homeowners.

Although the stated objectives of the new regulations is to provide “traceability and accountability at all stages of the building process” (Minister Hogan 04/04/13), the consumer will be no-better off under the new regulations. A modified system of self-certification will continue and where the assigned certifier cannot be found, or the action for negligence fails , or the certifier no-longer has the means or the insurance to rectify the problem; it may be up to the taxpayer to once again step in and provide redress.

The best time to identify defects and remedy problems is during the construction, through a system of independent inspections. In 2012 The Pyrite Panel reported on the reasons for the failure to prevent defective material (containing pyrites) and recommended that “the system of independent inspections, carried out by the building control officers, should be strengthened to complement the mandatory certification process for buildings”

In the event of ‘latent’ defects (defects that are not evident or have not developed at the time that the building is complete) a mandatory system of Latent Defects Insurance would give the building owner immediate redress for pyrites and other hidden problems without having to go to court. From the Pyrite report: “More generally, from a public policy perspective, systems should be put in place that would provide protection for the public, in the case of urgent and serious problems (such as occurred in relation to pyrite in dwellings), without having to resort to prohibitively expensive, time-consuming and uncertain legal actions having to be taken by individuals.”(The Pyrite Panel Report 2012)

Commissioned by the government, The Pyrite Report Panel carried out a thorough investigation into the problem of pyrite in homes and completed its report in 2012. The report was endorsed by the government and published. If SI80 (the proposed amendment to the regulation) is a response to the problems of Pyrite in homes, it is remarkable that one of this report’s key recommendations: independent inspections by local authorities, is not an integral part of the proposed changes.

Download the 2012 Pyrite Report Here

What is Pyrite? 

Surveyors welcome €10m Pyrite Remediation Scheme Pledge but say the problem is not over. See SCSI press release here

Continue the debate on this Linked-In group on the Building Control Amendment Regulations…

by Mark Stephens

If you’re on Linked-In then why not also join this separate Linked-In group discussing the Building Control Amendment Regulations:

http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Conversation-about-Irish-Building-Control