03 November 2014 | Registered Architect’s Opinion
Certificate of Compliance on Completion issues
In a recent blog post we quoted Rory O’Donnell, solicitor and advisor to the Law Society, who said that “the Assigned Certifier is the one on the Lion’s Den”. He seems to have been referring to liability for building defects if there is a claim after a building is completed.
Mr. O’Donnell may be wrong. Not because a claim will not happen, it might and the Assigned Certifier might or might not be the last man standing if there is a judgment. He is wrong because the lion’s den is Practical Completion. The Assigned Certifier will take his courage in his hands and walk in there on every single job.
Under the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations commercial contracts and statutory requirements have been forced together into the same process. Practical Completion is no longer certified by the architect; it is now a complex dancing maneouvre between Certifiers and contractors that will be ultimately decided by the Local Authority. Nothing is done until everything is done and there can be no Snag List under S.I. 9 legislation. The entire process is only as strong as the weakest link and if that is the widget supplier from Slovakia who has not been paid and will not sign his ancillary certificate or hand over his inspection plan, it will all grind to a halt. The builder cannot leave the site and will not be paid until the works are on the Building Register. This is now the new ‘Practical Completion’. The widget supplier can sit on his hands and the Assigned Certifier has to face down the pack.
What if the Ancillary Certifiers will not provide Ancillary Certificates and Inspection Plans until they get paid? The Assigned Certifier can either proceed without the Ancillary Cerificate (taking the risk on his own insurance policy or delay completion, leaving everyone waiting to be paid, the builder racking up costs and his client with no building.
Getting a completed building over the line with so much paperwork to control and contractual claims racking up for every day’s delay is when you will be standing in the lion’s den.
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