The following opinion piece was submitted by a construction professional on June 10th 2014.
BUILDER LIABILITY UNDER S.I.9- part 4
Builders are reasonably well protected as regards their potential liability under the 2014 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. As the claims manager for a medium sized contracting company, I would find the situation generally satisfactory. However, contractors should be very careful at certain stages, as follows.
4. Definition of “Practical Completion”
Under clause 31 of the RIAI contract the architect must certify when, in his opinion, the building is “Practically Complete”. This point of the architect’s “opinion” is being considered by some architects as a device to avoid certifying PC until the BCA have validated the Certificate of Completion. This is wrong. The contractor can rely on the definition of “Practical Completion” in clause 31. PC is defined as “the works having been carried to such a stage that they can be taken over and used by the Employer for their intended purpose”.
This definition says nothing at all about the BCA deciding on whether the certificate is valid! The definition is about the works, not about the papers. To minimise his exposure at this stage, the contractor must firmly point out to the architect that he is entitled to a PC certificate, and that if the architect fails to provide this, the architect will be exposed to claims. If the Assigned Certifier makes a mess of the documents to be lodged with the Completion Certificate, the contractor will be well advised to make sure this is the Assigned Certifier’s problem.
The first post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 1
The second post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 2
The third post in this series may be viewed here: Builder’s Liability under S.I. 9 – Part 3
Other posts of interest:
Post 1: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Design & Completion) – click link here
Post 2: Architect’s Ancillary Cert (Inspection) – click link here
Post 3: Ancillary Completion Cert – Inspection (by others) – click link here
Post 4: Ancillary Certs Design – commencement & completion (by others) – click link here
Post 5- Addendum to RIAI Contracts – click link here
Post 6: Draft Client Agreement (architect) – click link here
Post 7: Client & Assigned Certifier agreement (architect) – click link here
We hope this information may be useful to professionals implementing the new building regulations. If there are any registered engineers with similar concerns on ACEI documentation we would be interested in hearing these issues also. At time of writing there are no SCSI/CIF (representative bodies for surveyors or builders) draft documents available to their members. We suggest professionals or contractors contact their respective professional or representative bodies with concerns or queries.