RIAI: time needed for schools- BC(A)R SI.9


The following guidance was issued to RIAI practices on May 19th 2014 regarding time required for a range of typical school projects. Although school projects are not typical and make up only a small percentage of construction output the time needed  may be useful for calculations of more mainstream project types. Here is an extract from the recent RIAI Practice guide:



Over the past months an RIAI expert group with substantial experience in school buildings,  has discussed Transitional Arrangements with the DES for the application of BC(A)R to existing school commissions already entered into by the DES with RIAI registered architects.

These discussions were focused on establishing a shared understanding of the breadth and scope of work that would be necessary for practices to comply with SI 9, the Code of Practice and the emerging interpretation of the new protocol and to provide a basis for a full discussion of the relevant cost of the service for each individual project.

It should be noted that these discussions with the Department related only to transitional work, projects where there is a service agreement in place.  It is the Department’s intention to provide commissions for future work on a competitive basis and to include the AC role as part of the architect’s remit.  It will be open to the practice to provide the service from within the practice or have it covered by an external consultant.

In the discussions it was assumed that:

  • the architect was already providing the  full service prescribed by the DES for architectural projects, was acting as Employers Representative(ER), and had already agreed fees for the project which do not refer to  the new regulations
  • the architect would act as Assigned Certifier and as Design Certifier for the relevant elements of the works
  • there was a design team in place and that the other members of the team would be separately commissioned to contribute fully to achieving compliance under SI 9 and the Code of Practice, and collaborate fully with the Architect /ER in taking on the duties of DC and AC, complete Risk Assessments, contribute to the preparation of the PIP and INF, inspect the works at appropriate times, gather the specialist certificates and tests relevant to their discipline, certify as Ancillary or Statutory Certifiers and provide appropriate documentation for uploading at commencement, during the project and at completion.
  • the work that could be usefully assessed ranged from 1.5m to 10+m Euro.  Below this value it was not possible to estimate the scope of service needed as the variety of the works likely to occur and the specific circumstances encountered in small works made it impossible to evaluate the time that might be required.

SI 9, the full suite of Guidance Material, BC(A)R Certificates and Pro-forma Documentation on BC(A)R that is available to Registered Members of the RIAI, the understanding of the new responsibilities and duties developed by the RIAI Working Parties, and the presentations made at CPD Sessions were the background to the consultation with the DES.

The result of the discussions is attached in the Charts of Estimated Hours for projects from 1 to 15 million Euro.  These are also summarised in graphical form (see links at end of this item).

In the development of each table some familiarity with the new system on the part of the Architect is assumed, the project size is given and a distance from the Architect’s office is stated.  The number of days necessary to complete each task is estimated and it is assumed that the project is without particular complexity. The suggested days relate to the upper end of each cost band.

The time estimates for each project size should be seen only as guidance for practices in estimating the fee necessary to complete a particular project and it should be borne in mind that the AC and the Building Owner have a specific duty to ensure that all the resources necessary are available to carry out the duties imposed by the new legislation. The actual hourly rate per day charge is a matter for practice to decide.

Areas that need to be fully taken into account in agreeing a Time/Fee proposal with the DES would include:

  • the size and complexity of the project, the characteristics of the site and the particular materials and methods of construction included in  the design.  These will particularly impact on the amount of time needed to audit the design for compliance with the individual parts of the Regulations and the number of additional site inspections needed to reasonably monitor and latterly certify compliance by the builder.
  • the competence of the members of the team and the builder (if appointed) to carry out the tasks imposed by the new legislation.
  • the distance of the project from your office.  Additional or less time may be needed to cover necessary travel.
  • the time needed to cover each task that you consider necessary to comply with the new legislation
  • consideration of items marked ‘Provisional’ in the time
  • the extension of PI insurance Policy wording to cover the AC/DC roles
  • co-ordination of Ancillary Certification at Design and Completion Stages.

It is likely that existing commissions include hourly rates for various personnel.  Practices should assess the relevance of the rates to each particular project and consider their relevance to the new work needed for compliance.

jpeg of days plotted against value chart

jpeg of days plotted against value chart


jpeg of BC(A)R – Time Input Requirements: €1 – 2.5m | 30km from office | 11 month program



jpeg of BC(A)R – Time Input Requirements: €2.5 – 5m School | 40km from office | 15 month program



jpeg of BC(A)R – Time Input Requirements: €5 – 10m School |  50km from office | 15 month program



jpeg of BC(A)R – Time Input Requirements: €10m+  School | 60km from office |  18 month program