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: pyrite

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

by bregs blog admin team

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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 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