The BRegs Blog has been in receipt of a series of letters from its readers requesting that we publish them. This week we have decided to start doing so. The following letter was received on 5th August 2014 from Simon McGuinness, MRIAI.
An Open Letter to those Contemplating Certainty
It is unwise of those with a professional duty to know better, to ignorantly encourage their professional colleagues to implement, at significant personal risk, regulations that they appear to know little about.
Ireland is probably unique in the world in requiring three dimensional numerical calculation for surface temperature (fRsi > 0.7) in every residential project, new build, extension or renovation.
There are currently just two people competent to undertake these calculations within Ireland, or beyond. Every other professional – engineer, surveyor or architect, regardless of how elevated – is, by definition, not competent – repeat: not competent – to certify compliance with Part L/F of the Irish Building Regulations for residential buildings.
That may be news to some.
However good an idea it is to require such 3D calculations (and I happen to believe it is good) it is underhanded, at least, to introduce such a regulation without advising those responsible for certifying its implementation of their need to upskill, pass an exam and pay an annual fee to join an NSAI administered register, in order to sign a certificate of design compliance for even a simple residential extension.
It is insulting to building owners and professionals alike to suggest that this can be done at almost no cost.
Those in authority who are at the receiving end of criticism from practicing, experienced professionals would do well to educate themselves to the reality of delivering mathematical certainty in the real world.
Fortunately, FETAC accredited postgraduate courses are available in DIT which are designed to enable experienced architects, engineers and surveyors to upskill in the necessary compliance skills. Those courses are, surprisingly, not currently oversubscribed.
No architect, regardless of their position, has any business encouraging other building professionals to accept significant personal risk untill they are sufficiently knowledgeable of those risks to be able to exercise proper professional judgement over them.
Then, and only then, should their encouragement be heeded, if indeed, any semblance of it survives the rigour of academic enlightenment.
Simon McGuinness, MRIAI.
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