The following opinion piece was submitted on June 1st 2014 by a registered architect.
5 POPULAR MYTHS ABOUT BC(A)R SI.9
1. MYTH: “Too many buildings were badly built because the law was weak and needed to be strengthened“.
FACT: Problems like Priory Hall happened because the law was not enforced. There was no mandatory state inspection of design, construction sites or completed buildings and this will not change under the new regulations.
2. MYTH: “Only qualified architects can now design buildings”
FACT: Anyone can still design a building, apply for Planning Permission and take a project to site. The only change is that the statutory certificates for ‘technical compliance’ must now be signed by an architect, engineer or surveyor.
3. MYTH: “Architects will now be involved throughout the construction stage. This will raise standards.”
FACT: More involvement should mean better standards, but builders can have Certificates signed by their in-house staff, meaning even less oversight by independent professionals, not more. Developers can directly employ registered professionals to certify projects built with limited (or no) professional indemnity insurance to minimise their risk exposure to consumers for later defects.
4. MYTH: “Professionals will be paid more fees because they will be doing more work”
FACT: Owners will decide what fees they are prepared to pay and if the market is set by the €999 Certificate, that’s all that will be on offer, regardless of what service a diligent professional offers. Mainstream developers can employ registered professional certifiers directly to control the certification process. The Minister has stated that he is “...concerned at exploitation by professionals..” charging more than the stated cost range of €1000 – €3000 (see post below).
5. MYTH: “Building owners will now have a comeback if anything goes wrong”
FACT: Owners (like the Priory Hall residents) will have no new rights. Local authorities have no new powers of enforcement and no additional resources to handle the paperwork. Shelf-companies established by developers for projects will be closed on completion thus limiting future defects liability for developers. Solicitors have commented that the new regulations bring little or no new consumer protections (see post below).
Other related topics:
Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here
4 tips for assigned certifiers – click link here
4 things I am putting in my fee agreements- click link here
4 tips for Design Certifiers… – click link here
Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article – click link here
Complaint to Minister re Seanad Debate: BC(A)R SI.9 (SI.105) – click link here
Complaint to Minister: Fee fixing & BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here
7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read – click link here
Minister Hogan concerned at exploitation by professionals: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here