‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly

Alan-Kelly-Building-Regs-620x350

Here is a more detailed piece on the content of Minister Alan Kelly’s address to the Construction Industry Federation on 25th November from the The Engineers Journal. In the following article ‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly from 27th November 2014, Environment Minister Alan Kelly has stated that he will propose amendments to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 as they are “too onerous”, especially with regard to self builds and extensions, writes David Jackson. Extract to follow:

___________

‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has stated that he will propose amendments to theBuilding Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, as the current Regulations are “too onerous”.

Speaking at an event hosted by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) on 25 October to mark the launch of the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI), Minister Kelly said, “We can never have another Priory Hall. It was absolutely outrageous what was allowed to happen in the past… but we can’t use a mallet to crack a nut in relation to some aspects of the Building Regulations.

“I’ll be proposing that there’ll be amendments to the Regulations – particularly in relation to self-build, one-off houses and extensions – because I believe there’s a need for some change in that whole area,” he continued. “I think the Regulations, as they currently stand, are a bit too onerous. In fact, I know they’re too onerous. They need to be amended and myself and Minister Paudie Coffey [Minister of State at the Department of the Environment with Special Responsibility for Housing, Planning and Coordination of the Construction 2020 Strategy] will be working on that.”

CIRI is a register of construction companies, sole traders and builders that are vetted by Government nominees and industry professionals. It has been set up to help members of the public find competent, experienced construction practitioners. In order to be listed on CIRI a company must comply with the building regulations and an industry code of ethics, it must prove its tax compliance and it must meet the health and safety regulations relating to the construction industry.

In CIRI’s first year, over 400 construction companies are listed with a further 800 companies at various stages of the application process. The CIF expects that approximately 1,500 companies will be listed on CIRI by the end of 2015.

CIRI and statutory legislation

Minister Kelly also discussed the Government’s perspective on the Register ahead of the publication of the legislation that will set CIRI on a statutory footing in 2015. He emphasised the importance of learning from past mistakes brought about by what he described as “bad decision making, greed, a lack of statutory provision and a lack of regulation”.

“CIRI and the reforms of building control activity now provide a robust and reliable registry framework that I believe will prove fit for purpose in ensuring that we leave behind the bad old days, when sharp practice and a quick buck were the order of the day, when clients and consumers found themselves short changed and with little hope of recourse from the industry or from public authorities,” he added.

Minister Kelly acknowledged that public tolerance for defective building and shoddy workmanship had been exhausted and concluded by outlining the impact CIRI will have on the future of the construction industry. “This is something that’s imperative for the future of the industry, the future development of the industry, the branding of the industry and also to create a control mechanism to ensure that we have an industry fit for purpose, to ensure that we don’t go through again what we went through in the past,” he said.

It is hoped that CIRI will strengthen the arrangements in place for quality construction by:

  • Providing a means by which developers, owners and construction professionals can satisfy themselves that the contractors they use will be competent and experienced for the work that they undertake;
  • Ensuring that responsible and compliant firms can compete on a level playing field and are not subject to unfair competition from unscrupulous operators;
  • Ensuring that clients, including public bodies, are aware of the compliance record of any CIRI registered entity with which they engage;
  • Supporting the continuous development over time of the professionalism and competence of individual firms, and thus the industry as a whole; and
  • Providing an effective means for responding to client or consumer complaints against CIRI registered entities.

CIF president Philip Crampton reiterated the Minister’s points and backed the focus on quality and competency that CIRI promotes. “It [CIRI] will allow those who carry out good, quality work, and who meet all the eligibility criteria, to stand out from those who don’t,” he said.

“We have some fantastic companies and sole traders in the Irish construction sector and CIRI provides them with the platform to stand out. It also provides a register which construction professionals such as architects, chartered surveyors and engineers, as well as the general public, can rely upon,” he concluded.

Other posts of interest:

Imminent changes to SI.9 announced | Minister Alan Kelly T.D.

When is an extension not extensions? | The 40M2 question…

SI.9 Cost for 2014 = 3 x Ballymun Regeneration Projects

RIAI | Architectural Technologist update

Donegal Pyrite update

Iaosb letter to Minister Kelly – Revoke or Revise S.I.9

Dáil | Architectural Technologist update

Ronan Lyons | Regulations pushing up the costs of homes

14 thoughts on “‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly

  1. Andrew Alexander

    “Ensuring that clients, including public bodies, are aware of the compliance record of any CIRI registered entity with which they engage;”

    A rewording of the legislation to state that contractors should build in compliance with the regulations as opposed to in accordance with the drawings would be a good start.

    Reply
  2. Andrew Alexander

    “Ensuring that clients, including public bodies, are aware of the compliance record of any CIRI registered entity with which they engage;”

    A rewording of the legislation to state that contractors should build in compliance with the regulations as opposed to in accordance with the drawings would be a good start.

    Reply
  3. David O Brien Msc:AEES. BSc. Arch. Tech and Building Surveyor

    If he’s serious about helping the self-build sector he will have to address the onerous level of ‘certainty’ the current system expects the Assigned Certifier to take on alone….. Let’s hope the minister wasn’t just preaching to the (CIF) gallery.

    Reply
  4. David O Brien Msc:AEES. BSc. Arch. Tech and Building Surveyor

    If he’s serious about helping the self-build sector he will have to address the onerous level of ‘certainty’ the current system expects the Assigned Certifier to take on alone….. Let’s hope the minister wasn’t just preaching to the (CIF) gallery.

    Reply
  5. Andrew Alexander MRIAI

    Now that the phrase ‘too onerous’ has been introduced to the public debate on BCAR by the Minister himself, design professionals should offer the Minister (in the absence of the RIAI doing so) their opinions about what is actually ‘too onerous’ about SI.09.

    As this blog has stated the ‘the devil is in the detail’ (with regard to the Minister’s planned review). I have a nagging suspicion from his comments that what the Minister considers to be ‘too onerous’ may not actually be shared by conscientious design professionals and those called upon to administer the new system.

    Obliging a self-builder to employ a professional person to compile a paper trail monitoring the construction process of their new home (which may be sold on at a tidy profit to another party several years down the line) is not too onerous in my view. Lumping all the liability for the quality of the resulting construction onto the professional person who compiled the paper trail is too onerous.

    Obliging a self-builder to employ a professional person to ensure that the fundamental safety items in their building are complete and compliant before moving is not too onerous in my view. Obliging a self builder to complete every single element of the works before availing of the comfort of their new home is too onerous and should be scrapped as a statutory requirement.

    Ditto for all building types. I am singling out self builders at this stage because it looks like a dispensation is coming their way and that reasonable aspects of the legislation may in fact be deemed ‘too onerous’ by the Minister in the face of rising political opposition.

    The time is ripe to take the text of the legislation, pop it into a speadsheet, add two columns at the right hand side entitled ONEROUS and TOO ONEROUS, send it out as a survey, ask people to start ticking boxes and compare the results with the Ministers ultimate conclusions. Or publish in advance of the commencement (or conclusion) of the Minister’s deliberations (whichever comes first – in the twilight zone of DOECLG modus operandi)

    Reply
  6. Andrew Alexander MRIAI

    Now that the phrase ‘too onerous’ has been introduced to the public debate on BCAR by the Minister himself, design professionals should offer the Minister (in the absence of the RIAI doing so) their opinions about what is actually ‘too onerous’ about SI.09.

    As this blog has stated the ‘the devil is in the detail’ (with regard to the Minister’s planned review). I have a nagging suspicion from his comments that what the Minister considers to be ‘too onerous’ may not actually be shared by conscientious design professionals and those called upon to administer the new system.

    Obliging a self-builder to employ a professional person to compile a paper trail monitoring the construction process of their new home (which may be sold on at a tidy profit to another party several years down the line) is not too onerous in my view. Lumping all the liability for the quality of the resulting construction onto the professional person who compiled the paper trail is too onerous.

    Obliging a self-builder to employ a professional person to ensure that the fundamental safety items in their building are complete and compliant before moving is not too onerous in my view. Obliging a self builder to complete every single element of the works before availing of the comfort of their new home is too onerous and should be scrapped as a statutory requirement.

    Ditto for all building types. I am singling out self builders at this stage because it looks like a dispensation is coming their way and that reasonable aspects of the legislation may in fact be deemed ‘too onerous’ by the Minister in the face of rising political opposition.

    The time is ripe to take the text of the legislation, pop it into a speadsheet, add two columns at the right hand side entitled ONEROUS and TOO ONEROUS, send it out as a survey, ask people to start ticking boxes and compare the results with the Ministers ultimate conclusions. Or publish in advance of the commencement (or conclusion) of the Minister’s deliberations (whichever comes first – in the twilight zone of DOECLG modus operandi)

    Reply
  7. Michael O'Neill

    I would like to endorse Andrew Alexander’s call for a survey

    I believe this should be open to all Building Professionals including Architectural Technologists. Everyone with skin in the game should be asked to comment.

    I believe the results of the survey should be published openly and not subject to confidentiality or Chatham House Rules type censorship.

    Openness and transparency about the regulatory regime we operate under is the least the public has a right to expect from us.

    The number of replies from Graduates, Technicians and Technologists as well as Architects, Engineers, Building Surveyors and Quantity Surveyors will show just who is interested in putting their head over the parapet.

    For my part, the position is quite clear –

    You don’t stop crimes by making more laws, you prevent them by sharing intelligence – this includes maintaining a monitoring oversight with all interested parties, including local authorities – the “police: if you will, of the Department of Environment.

    You don’t make criminals more accountable for crimes of non-compliant building by standing up a straw man who certifies and takes the hit for their built misdeeds.

    You don’t make the professions accountable for their designs by standing up another straw man who certifies and takes the hit for their designed misdeeds.

    Client, Contractor, Sub-Contractors, Specialist Suppliers, Architects, Engineers, Specialist Professionals – all should stand over their part in the work and certify and be held responsible.

    This was the function of the Schedule A Assurances which were included in the RIAI Architect’s Opinions – to give certainty and take on board liability within certain limits – not hang two people claiming absolute certainty which is in principle not achievable.

    Reply
  8. Michael O'Neill

    I would like to endorse Andrew Alexander’s call for a survey

    I believe this should be open to all Building Professionals including Architectural Technologists. Everyone with skin in the game should be asked to comment.

    I believe the results of the survey should be published openly and not subject to confidentiality or Chatham House Rules type censorship.

    Openness and transparency about the regulatory regime we operate under is the least the public has a right to expect from us.

    The number of replies from Graduates, Technicians and Technologists as well as Architects, Engineers, Building Surveyors and Quantity Surveyors will show just who is interested in putting their head over the parapet.

    For my part, the position is quite clear –

    You don’t stop crimes by making more laws, you prevent them by sharing intelligence – this includes maintaining a monitoring oversight with all interested parties, including local authorities – the “police: if you will, of the Department of Environment.

    You don’t make criminals more accountable for crimes of non-compliant building by standing up a straw man who certifies and takes the hit for their built misdeeds.

    You don’t make the professions accountable for their designs by standing up another straw man who certifies and takes the hit for their designed misdeeds.

    Client, Contractor, Sub-Contractors, Specialist Suppliers, Architects, Engineers, Specialist Professionals – all should stand over their part in the work and certify and be held responsible.

    This was the function of the Schedule A Assurances which were included in the RIAI Architect’s Opinions – to give certainty and take on board liability within certain limits – not hang two people claiming absolute certainty which is in principle not achievable.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *