In one week’s time, on Tuesday 12th August 2014, the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) will host an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) to debate a resolution calling for the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations, introduced in March of this year, to be revoked and replaced with a system which better protects the consumer (details below).
The proposed EGM is attracting a great deal of social media coverage. However most comment that has taken place to date has not been about the relative merits or otherwise of the proposed motion itself but peripheral issues such as the timing of the EGM (mid-annual holidays), the venue (D2 does not suit every member) and concern about how architects might be perceived by the public if they are seen to question Government policy. These are also legitimate concerns that may get an airing on the night.
The organisers hope that this EGM will attract the same level of interest as a previous EGM in October 2013 when over 500 architects attended and voted almost unanimously that S.I. 80 (now S.I. 9) was not in the interests of the consumer. Either way a great many RIAI members feel that the meeting that was promised for earlier in the year is long overdue and that this EGM represents a good opportunity to get some clarity about the current state of play for members trying to deal with the aftermath of the introduction of the new legislation.
A bit of confusion about the agenda for the EGM arose last week when Architecture Ireland (The Journal of the RIAI) published erroneously copies of two additional motions that had not been formally submitted to the RIAI Council. It is believed that Architecture Ireland had gone to print before these motions were withdrawn. We have been unable to contact the Editor of Architecture Ireland for clarification of this matter as she is on annual leave.
The RIAI EGM is scheduled to commence at 6 p.m. in the Davenport Hotel, Merrion Square, Dublin 2 on Tuesday 12th August 2014. (RIAI Architect Members only).
The EGM motion is as follows:
For the reasons outlined [below] and in the interests of the Registered Members, the consumer and the wider construction industry, we the Registered Members, call for the RIAI Council to adopt as their first priority a policy to seek publicly the revocation of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations: S.I. 9 of 2014 and its replacement by a system which better protects the consumer and to actively reach out to other groups to seek support for that policy.
The undersigned Registered Members have requisitioned an Extraordinary General Meeting in accordance with Article 40 of the RIAI Articles of Association.
The EGM was requisitioned to address the following concerns in relation to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (S.I.9 of 2014) hereinafter called “the legislation”.
- Inadequate protection for consumer and building owners in the legislation.
- Inadequate resources for Building Control Authorities to monitor the legislation.
- The Building Control Management System is not fully functioning, is not password protected and cannot guarantee security of data (copyright).
- There is no Building Control Authority (BCA) Code of Practice resulting in individual BCA interpretations of the legislation.
- The legislation places intolerable and potentially uninsurable levels of liability on the approved certifiers.
- The majority of legal opinions advise against approved professionals taking on the roles of certifiers as defined by the legislation.
- There is no Building Contract available that addresses the legislation.
- The legislation is ambiguous in terms of the status of self-builders, a major component of work for rural-based members. There is no Inspection Schedule or Appointment Agreement available that addresses the role of certifiers under the legislation.
- Restrictive aspects of public service appointments favour architects for lead certifier roles and may be subject to reversal.
- No provision for retrospective compliance.
- No provision for transition arrangements in regulations of conflicts in same
- The regulations suggest additional exposure and /or delays to costs for owners and reduced protections for clients at completion stages
- An adequate Regulatory Impact Assessment was not conducted prior to the legislation being introduced.
- The legislation is proving almost impossible to implement in practice.
The purpose of the EGM is that the Registered Members debate and vote on the following Special Resolution to be adopted or rejected: