S.I.9 – Where are we now? 27 October 2014


Recently a reader asked a general question about S.I.9 impacts on housing and the industry in general. She was due to address an industry group and had been asked to talk about the new building regulations, BC(A)R S.I.9.

Here is the briefing summary of posts we forwarded. These are a mix of factual pieces, commentators’ articles as well as contributors’ opinion pieces.

How much is S.I.9 costing and how is the industry affected?

See a breakdown of where the additional SI.9 costs are coming from, a detailed architect’s  cost estimate for a typical house and the range of new professional duties the Certifier roles entail. For the big picture we see the extraordinary costs to residential and non-residential sector as a whole, the huge costs of pyrite remediation up to 2012 (based on current DECLG estimates) and note by 2020 our continuation with a reinforced system of self-regulation could cost us €5bn. For little or no additional consumer protection and no increase in technical building performance standards.

Factors affecting housing at the moment gleaned from commentators and objective sources such as the Central Statistics Office are noted. According to government data (BCMS register) commencements are still down 30% compared to last year, with residential sector output is down 8%. This data must be of concern to legislators and policy-makers at the moment.

How complex is S.I.9 and our regulations?

Has the cost impact on the industry and the consumer been adequately assessed? Remarkably it would appear not, as no regulatory impact assessment was undertaken in 2013 on the last version of S.I.9.

How complex are our regulations now? The answer is very and our guest post shows there are 38 steps now involved in getting the appropriate permissions and permits in place for a simple warehouse building. In a separate post one architect tables on one sheet the multitude of regulations that are needed for a simple house. Hardly ‘lean’ construction.

Solutions and how much will they cost?

How can we fix this and how costly are the solutions? Travel over to Holyhead in Wales and look at the simplicity of the much-praised and proven UK system of 100% independent Local Authority inspections and the ‘Approved Inspector’ model. We used to have a similar system here. How do we compare to the UK? the World Bank ranks the UK at 27th out of 189 countries and Ireland is at 115th.

Surely a proper system like in the UK would cost a fortune? Think again, the cost of S.I.9 for 2014 would probably fund a nationwide system for 60 years.

How to immediately kick-start a solution for low-cost and social housing? Revoke S.I.9 and let self-builders build again.

This alone could create 12,000 additional dwellings at no cost to the taxpayer by 2020. Use funds allocated for social housing to immediately tackle the housing crisis: get people off the streets for Christmas 2014. One stroke of Minister Kelly’s pen and he can blame the mess on the former Minister, Phil Hogan.

If you think that is unreasonable, ask the three County Councils that have already written to the Minister to ask just that: Sligo, Wicklow and recently Wexford.

Remember if doing CPD these all count as ‘unstructured’- Enjoy!

  • Here is a good overview of where multitude of costs will come from:

Value-engineering, defensive specifications and BCAR SI.9

  • What do new roles entail for professionals? Look here:

SI9 Schedule of duties for Certifiers

  • Some interesting posts on cost impacts of SI9 on construction, and housing:

SI.9 costs for a typical house

SI.9 to Cost €532m in 2014 | Residential Sector 

SI.9 to Cost €168m in 2014 | Non-Residential Sector

  • Here’s a summary of the main SI.9 costs including pyrite by 2020. Big numbers:

€ 5 billion | The extraordinary cost of S.I.9 self-certification by 2020

  • Where are commencements at now? are we up or down? Look here:

Commencement Notices – Update | 22 October 2014

  • Accurate, non-spun general information, planning application levels, total outputs from Constantin Gurdgiev, and recent CSO figures for residential building output:

A ‘perfect storm’ for housing? 

Residential construction down in 2014 Q1+ Q2: (CSO statistics)

  • And other commentators:

Karl Whelan: “…raft of cost-increasing building regs are at least partly responsible”

  • How much no local authority materials policing will cost the taxpayer (pyrite)?:

Pyrite: the spiraling cost of no Local Authority Inspections

  • What we should have done- a regulatory impact assessment…

Inadequate Regulatory Impact Assessment for S.I.9- Look Back 2

  • How complex is our system now? Look here at “The 38 steps”:

Collins & O’Cofaigh | “the 38 steps” and the complexity of our regulations

  • Many self-builds are passive houses. What’s happening in this sector? look here:

The self build world has been thrown into disarray

  • This month the World Bank Report is due out. We ranked 115 out of 189 last year, Uk was 27. “Room to improve!”

World Bank Rankings, Ireland & SI.9 – Look Back 1

  • Any solutions?

How much would 100% independent inspections by Local Authorities cost?

12,000 social + affordable houses at no cost to taxpayer?

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9?

  • What is the UK ‘Approved Inspector’ system like? 

UK + Ireland | take a quick trip to Holyhead with Breg Blog…

  • And we can’t forget our main post:

SI9- where do I start?

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