In the following article the director of housing in the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) Hubert Fitzpatrick discusses the requirements for CIRI, the privately owned and operated voluntary register of contractors. CIRI is the only government recognised register in Ireland and has been subject to widespread criticism from consumer groups such as the self-builders representative organisation (IAOSB), who feel it is restrictive and anti-competitive. Link to article here:
Many industry commentators suggest BC(A)R SI.9 merely reinforces the current defective system of self-certification at the expense of the consumer, and facilitates the Minister his Department in avoiding costs, duties and responsibilities associated with independent inspections normally carried out by local government in other EU countries.
Frank McDonald on this Newstalk programme on Monday 3rd March 2014 noted that the government and department have introduced SI.9 to avoid any role in inspections of buildings and to avoid responsibility in the building process. He states the consumer has not been well served by this new regulation. Link to Newstalk Moncrief Show (Part 1) 22:36 to 29:00
Quoting from the IAOSB complaint to the European ombudsman:
“The core issue is the restriction on the market to membership of a voluntary (non statutory) private organisation, The Construction Industry Federation voluntary register of contractors (CIRI) . This is a restrictive practice. Industry estimates over 60% of houses built in Ireland are self-build projects, owners acting as main contractors. The consequence of SI.9 is that it will prevent self-builders from building their own dwellings and may result in many not being able to enter the housing market. Industry estimates an annual drop in house starts of 17% or 1,800 self-builder that will abandon projects a result of this legislation (out of projected 10,500 completions annually).
This situation can be rectified and solutions are available which allow for self-builders to build homes for their families. These solutions have been proposed to the Irish Minister for the Environment. The Minister of the Environment (Minister Phil Hogan), under the Building Control Act 1990 has the authority to establish a system of independent local authority inspections. Minister Phil Hogan has the authority to extend the Regulations to include a Register (held and administered in the Republic of Ireland under this legislation) for an independent system of building control inspectors (approved inspectors) directly managed by Local Authorities. I suggest that this be executed without delay and that the Minister immediately extend the Regulations to provide for an independent system of inspections similar to that operated in the UK and elsewhere in the EU.
The UK system permits self-building unlike the Irish system of building control which is a complete self-certification system with codified roles and professions. An independently regulated system allows self-builders and others not codified to fully participate in the procurement process: risk-based assessment is applied by a local authority inspectorate which may trigger more frequent inspections if a main contractor is not formally appointed to a project.”
Extract from article “ The Engineers Journal- CIF: New register of contractors and builders”:
Entry on the Register is open to all building and construction companies, partnerships or individuals who:
▪ Submit their current Tax Clearance Certificate;
▪ Undertake to adhere to the required Industry Code of Ethics and Commitments;
▪ Demonstrate that they have the required competence and experience of construction. In this respect, practical hands on experience of working in construction, generally for a period of no less than three years should be demonstrated;
▪ Have a knowledge of building practice, building regulations and regulatory obligations;
▪ Commit to ongoing training and development so that membership can be maintained and renewed; and
▪ Where applicable, an acceptable record which demonstrates compliance with regulatory requirements pertinent to the industry.
Prospective members will be required to undergo an initial induction/training programme so that they are fully aware of the obligations that they commit to under the registration process.
The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 oblige owners who commission works to which the 2014 Regulations apply to appoint competent builders who will undertake the works concerned and that any persons employed or engaged by them to undertake any of the works involved will be competent to undertake the works.
Provision is also included in the statutory Commencement Notice for inclusion of the Builders’ Construction Industry Register Ireland Registration Number when registered. This registration number should also be included in the statutory undertaking by the builder and in the statutory Completion Certificate to be filed with the Building Control Authority on completion of developments.