BRegs Blog admin on October 30th 2014
There has been a lot of discussion (some heated!) over the last few days about the legality of small house extensions carried out by home owners since March 2014 based on their floor area. This is as a result of revised advice, in relation to S.I.9, issued by the BCMS and the RIAI last Friday (link here).
Unfortunately there is also another significant problem with S.I.9 involving Short Form Commencement Notices that seems to have gone largely unnoticed but its impact will be just as serious with similar conveyancing and financing problems for homeowners as with the potential floor area problem.
On 12th May the RIAI issued an advice note* to members (see link here). On 19th May the RIAI issued a further advice note* to Practices about Short Form Commencement Notices lodged between 1 March and 19 May 2014. This was contrary to the advice issued just one week earlier on 12 May.
The RIAI Practice Advice* is evidence that for the first 11 weeks of S.I.9, Local Authorities issued and validated the wrong form for Short Form Commencement Notices (seemingly unaware that S.I.9 required them to be in the new format signed by the building owner). This was compounded by the fact that BCMS was not set up for Short Forms so each of the 34 Building Control departments were working in the dark. The leaflet issued by the Department at the time was unclear (link here)
If you were involved with such a project what should you do now?
Home-owners should be advised that this issue has not been resolved and even where the local authority confirmed a Short form Commencement Notice as valid between 1 March and 19 May 2014 the extension may not be in compliance with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014. As there are no remedies in S.I.9 there is no going back to rectify administrative errors and genuine mistakes.
Note: The BCMS have little advice for anyone who may have inadvertently failed to submit the correct Commencement Notice, where applicable, for building work carried out since the 1st March 2014. The BCMS advice is that it is up to the building owner to submit proposals for how they intend to regularise the situation to the relevant Building Control Authority.
*PDF of RIAI advice (12th and 19th May): RIAI BCAR ADVICE 12 + 19 MAY 2014
Other posts relevant to this topic:
NOTE: This series of posts is not meant to undermine or be in opposition to any professional advice from registered representative bodies: rather it is to offer additional technical aids to those that find themselves in the position of having to deal with SI.9 in it’s current form at present. As with all information posted on the Blog we urge all practitioners to check with their respective professional bodies before assuming any roles or duties under Building Control (Amendment) regulation (SI.9 of 2014). We hope to post a number of these posts and list in one area, so home owners, SME’s and professionals can drop in and click on a particular topic to get summary information that may be useful to them while working under the new regulations.