The following blog post was submitted on 12th May 2014 by a registered architect concerning recent draft documentation issued by the representative body for architects (RIAI) for members in April 2014. As far as we are aware only the representative body for engineers (ACEI) have issued other ancillary certifier documentation- as both RIAI and ACEI documents have similar wording, so suggestions noted may be applicable to ACEI documents also.
Post 2: Registered architect on Ancillary Cert (Inspection)
“S.I.9 IMPLEMENTATION PAPERS” ISSUED BY RIAI, APRIL 2014
Some comments by an architect who has advised PII insurers on defending claims against other architects and who wishes to help colleagues protect themselves.
ANCILLARY CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE ON COMPLETION (ANCILLARY COMPLETION CERTIFICATE) – INSPECTION
– To be completed by the architect – REV. E (ORANGEY-BROWN TOP)
Six points to consider, if you are thinking of using this draft document. And contrast the approach to this document, with how you might look at the next document following.
The Government has published no wording for this ancillary certificate. You can choose your wording. So you should look at wording such a certificate very carefully, to limit your liability and to protect yourself.
- The wording “confirms” that parts of your Inspection Plan have been undertaken by other competent persons. To protect yourself, consider listing out the parts, because otherwise you may be blamed for everything. List them as widely as you can.
- Let your Inspection Plan make no reference to (or even specifically exclude) all those other areas. Fire doors, fire stopping, structural and fire integrity of walls and partitions, acoustic performance of party walls, safety glazing in hazard areas, levelness of Part M access routes, widths of stairways, air tightness of the building, everything. If you are not designing it, do not get sucked into taking responsibility. The longer the list of exclusions, the better it is for you. It is for the Assigned Certifier to pick up the pieces, not you as Ancillary certifier.
- To protect yourself, instead of giving a “blanket undertaking”, just list very precisely what you actually did. For example: “I inspected the blockwork for the quality of the pointing, while others checked for structural performance.” This list may get long, but it just might save you being sued in the years to come.
- Consider not confirming that the other persons are “competent”. How do you know? What checks did you carry out? Let the Assigned certifier decide that. Otherwise, if they have made a mistake, it may come back to haunt yourself.
- Likewise, are you sure that “other persons” exercised reasonable skill, care and diligence when they inspected their work? Consider rewording this to exclude all of this! This gets back to point 3 above. Stay quiet and let them all take responsibility for what they do.
- Relying on the Ancillary certificates and the Test results. Top BRegs Forum lawyers told us that relying on others is no let-out legally for any architect signing this material. To protect yourself, you might be better to rely in these ancillary certificates on nothing except your own work, and to exclude – by listing what you did and what you didn’t do – anything for which others should take their own liability.
NOTE: This series of “Registered architect on…” posts are not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope this information that may be useful to professional implementers working within these new and difficult regulations.
If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing from them also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. As this is an opinion piece, we do not endorse or recommend any practices, interpretations or comments in this post. We suggest professionals contact their respective professional bodies with concerns or queries.
Other Posts in the series:
Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) – click link here