Response to Engineers Ireland article


FUTURE CHANGE sign istock

The BRegs Blog received a lot of detailed comments in relation to an article by Cormac Bradley in the Engineers Ireland Journal. Many are suitable for posts in their own right which we intend to publish. The following comment was received from Michael Gillespie in response to this article.

SI 9 is not a common sense approach to the deficiencies in the construction industry. As opposed to taking a hands on approach in improving the skills and abilities of BOTH professional and trades, S.I.9 seeks instead to frighten people into improving not unlike a dictatorship. In a small number of cases this will happen, but it will be too small to make a real difference. For many, it is and will continue to be business as usual, despite the mountain of liability. The hard neck cases will not be deterred by the increased regulation; they can only be deterred by the physical presence of independent inspectors – this is true for both trades and professionals.

The real result of S.I.9 is not improved adherence to the regulations, but rather a reduction in projects and increased flaunting of the regulations. Most of the people responsible for delivering an improved construction sector are not up-skilling, revising or putting into practice measures that will guarantee the aims of S.I.9 as claimed by the Department of the Environment and its former minister. For them the investment is too much or too high of a risk with work projections down, as evident the decrease in commencement notices.

Those behind S.I. 9 will argue to the bitter end, the supposed benefits it will bring and deny the realities such as the end of Self build and fewer projects, which will result in higher rents and people being denied their right, to own a home. But come to an end it must, as the flaws and fears mount by the day and the lies and stubbornness become more and more apparent. S.I.9 needs to be replaced with a better system, taking along the good points but replace the damaging areas. Unless this is done, projects which we could start next year will be shelved or delayed. At the moment trades and professionals are relying on work exempt from S..I9, WHICH WILL NOT ALWAYS BE THE CASE.

What are the good points of S.I.9?

The main benefit was to be the production of comprehensive compliance documents. This would ensure that the design was properly assessed and details of how it is built thought out. This is already being flaunted by all sides. Even Building Control Authorities cannot enforce this requirement, making it almost redundant. Thus Clients, costs are up but the benefits are down.

What are the bad points of S.I.9?

These are seemingly endless but I will point out a few of the worst:

  • Outlawing of self-build’s (check with your LA) when mandatory builder’s registration takes effect.
  • The fact a home owner cannot move into the property before it is completed presents huge obstacles for clients. This is punishing people who were not responsible for Priory Hall and the like.
  • Virtual removal of Architectural Technologists from the industry

What is needed?

A system of independent inspection, with properly resourced Building Control Authorities. It is clear that S.I.9 was intended to escape the cost to Local Authorities. The Department’s belief that self-certification could be enforced is proving to be the death nail for the one off housing industry at least (but maybe it does not care). S.I.9 tries to make sweeping changes and take the construction industry from gutter to elitism in one swoop and it is too much. A less expensive system including independent inspection, would instantly rectify the issues around self-certification and allow for the more reasonable rate of change and improvement, without all the drama or jeopardy to the industry.

Those around the table should have known better. It is now time for them to listen to the people at the coal face. Take a step back lads, open your eyes and be brave and honest. CHANGE IS NEEDED AND IT IS NEEDED NOW.

Other posts of interest:

Engineers Ireland Journal | S.I.9 “is an opportunity to enhance the reputation of the building sector”

Engineers Ireland – Building Regulations Certificates 

S.I.9 Stakeholders | Your questions please for Engineers

Who should be a Certifier- Part 3: Chartered Engineers + Building Surveyors?

Engineers Ireland CPD 10th June 

7 posts all architects (surveyors + engineers) should read

The Engineers Journal: how BC(A)R SI.9 works in practice

The Engineers Journal: Building control regulations key features

The Engineers Journal- CIF’s new register of builders 

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