The BRegs Blog has received many submissions in response to the alleged divisions among professionals in relation to S.I.9. Some of these have been published already with clear and cogent analysis as to how little difference of opinion there actually is on how bad this legislation is for those trying to build in this country.
Interestingly this piece acknowledges that there are at least half a dozen divisions but not the ones that some would have you believe!
S.I. 9 | We have found the Gaps!
Is there a real divide on S.I. 9 among construction professionals or do the gaps lay elsewhere? If it is the latter, as most commentators seem to think, then why is a message of division within the professions being promoted by some? Some believe that it is the classic tactic of trying to divide and rule by vested interests who seek to mask how they will benefit under these new Building Regulations. These vary from the officials at the Department of the Environment Community and Local Government (DECLG) who simply want to solve a problem for their Minister, at no cost to the public purse, through to some of the stakeholder groups who stand to earn millions of Euro from operating S.I. 9 related mandatory registers.
At best S.I. 9 is a yellow-pack sticky plaster stop-gap solution to cover over the serious cracks in Building Control in Ireland. Some of these cracks, divides or invisible gaps include:
Gap 1 | Increased consumer costs for no benefit
The biggest gap around S.I.9 appears to be between what building owners need and what they are actually getting from this legislation. This law is increasing building costs for the consumer without delivering better building or real value for money. This is the biggest flaw with S.I.9 and the one that should unite opposition to the legislation and calls for it to be altered or revoked.
Gap 2 | Lack of public information campaign
This is the information deficit between professionals and the public. Where is the information campaign that the DECLG indicated they would put in place to inform building owners of the advantages or their obligations in relation to S.I. 9? Have you seen anything about BC(A)R on a billboard or side of a bus lately? This invisibility is in stark contrast to the introduction of legislation by the Health and Safety Authority.
Gap 3 | Communications between stakeholder groups and members
This is the gap between the BC(A)R negotiating teams of the various stakeholder groups (ACEI, RIAI, CIF, SCSI and EI) and their members who have to implement the legislation. The cheerleaders of BC(A)R, from the professional consultation groups, have gone very quiet of late in the face of massive opposition to the legislation from practitioners. The BC(A)R negotiations took place during 2013 in secrecy. The DECLG confirmed that the stakeholder groups were not bound by any confidentiality agreement and that the DECLG had merely advised discretion be used in disseminating information on progress with the legislation. Not one stakeholder group called an EGM to put the acceptance of S.I.9 to a vote. Why this gap in communication between the stakeholder professional groups and their members?
Gap 4 | Groups excluded from SI.9 consultation process
This is the gap in how S.I. 9 should have been drafted and how it was. It exists between the five official stakeholder negotiators (RIAI, ACEI, EI, SCSI and CIF) who were formally part of the consultation process and those professional bodies and semi-state / government bodies who were left out of the negotiations such as the Law Society and the Competition Authority. How this oversight will be resolved remains to be seen.
Gap 5 | Official channels and social media
This is the gap between what the various stakeholder groups are saying to their members about BC(A)R in their various official publications and what their members are saying among themselves through Social Media. The BRegs Blog is one example of this chasm. Professionals should not be relying for information on BC(A)R S.I.9 from “anonymous” social-media sources!
Gap 6 | Registered professional approaches to SI.9
This is the engineer/architect / surveyor gap in the approach to S.I. 9. Large engineering consultancies are mainly ignoring S.I. 9 except where they can pick up substantial fees for lower liability Design or Ancillary Certifier roles. Large architectural practices are struggling with the ramifications of S.I. 9 as they are being pressurised to take on the much more onerous roles, for them, of Design and Assigned Certifier. Building surveyors are jubilant that they were included in the legislation and are mainly keeping their heads down in case anyone notices. Small design firms, whether engineering, surveying or architectural, have no option but to take on the risks of acting as Design and Assigned Certifiers or face starvation.
Other posts of interest: