John Graby – RIAI, CEO | “Phil Hogan did not bulldoze through SI.9′

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BRegs Blog opinion piece 8th December 2014

On Saturday last, John Graby, the CEO of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) publicly defended former Minister Phil Hogan and denied that Hogan had  “bulldozed through” the Building Control Regulations. This was during  an interview on the Newstalk FM ‘Down to Business’ programme that was discussing the architectural profession.

Mr Graby’s statement confirms the solid backing of the RIAI establishment for the new SI.9 legislation which could not have been introduced by the Department of the Environment without the support of the RIAI staff and council. The RIAI have shown a steely reserve and determination to implement this legislation in the face of unprecedented and almost unanimous opposition from their members over the last year and an unequivocal call from RIAI Architects for change only last month.

In the following podcast from the above programme, architects Dermot Bannon and Gearóid Carvill join John Graby in a discussion on the new building control regulations. Mr Graby also states that, notwithstanding the new roles, professionals will still have similar liability concerns as previously. In which case you might question if the next house buyer will be any better off than the Priory Hall residents?

Link to podcast: HERE

The Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D., has recently committed to amending SI.9, and it is hoped that the RIAI members can this time bring pressure to bear to ensure that the Institute support the Minister’s very welcome initiative.

Other posts of interest:

RIAI Complainee investigates IAOSB Complaint

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9

RTÉ Radio- CIF: professionals to Guarantee under BC(A)R SI.9

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9

Alarming Legal opinion: BC(A)R SI.9

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders?

10 thoughts on “John Graby – RIAI, CEO | “Phil Hogan did not bulldoze through SI.9′

  1. Michael O'Neill

    “Mr Graby also states that, notwithstanding the new roles, professionals will still have similar liability concerns as previously.”

    Address John Graby:

    “Eh, no, John, they won’t. They will have unlimited liability for everyone else’s faults, torts and non-compliant design and built work. For God’s sake man! Get a grip on the situation and understand the consequences for Assigned Certifiers!”

    Reply
  2. Michael O'Neill

    “Mr Graby also states that, notwithstanding the new roles, professionals will still have similar liability concerns as previously.”

    Address John Graby:

    “Eh, no, John, they won’t. They will have unlimited liability for everyone else’s faults, torts and non-compliant design and built work. For God’s sake man! Get a grip on the situation and understand the consequences for Assigned Certifiers!”

    Reply
  3. Michael O'Neill

    Continuing my address to Mr. John Graby, allow me to be a little more explicit; –

    “Many sole traders will be expected to act as Assigned Certifiers now because the ‘Architect’s Cert’ (also known as the ‘Architect’s Opinion of Compliance’) was ‘inter alia’ what they brought to the table beforehand.

    Before BC(AR) S.I.9, Architects using the RIAI Opinion of Compliance wording were protected to a degree. They were held liable for their own design work with qualifications (‘substantial compliance’). But now, if they Certify as Assigned Certifiers they are liable for ALL Design Work (that done their own office and that done by others) and ALL Built Work. All of this is covered by the Certificate without ANY qualifier whatsoever.

    Surely it is as plain as day that this is the very definition of an unsustainable level of additional liability? How is it that this is not accepted by the head of the RIAI, who, together with his Council, is one of the authors of the present predicament?”

    Reply
  4. Michael O'Neill

    Continuing my address to Mr. John Graby, allow me to be a little more explicit; –

    “Many sole traders will be expected to act as Assigned Certifiers now because the ‘Architect’s Cert’ (also known as the ‘Architect’s Opinion of Compliance’) was ‘inter alia’ what they brought to the table beforehand.

    Before BC(AR) S.I.9, Architects using the RIAI Opinion of Compliance wording were protected to a degree. They were held liable for their own design work with qualifications (‘substantial compliance’). But now, if they Certify as Assigned Certifiers they are liable for ALL Design Work (that done their own office and that done by others) and ALL Built Work. All of this is covered by the Certificate without ANY qualifier whatsoever.

    Surely it is as plain as day that this is the very definition of an unsustainable level of additional liability? How is it that this is not accepted by the head of the RIAI, who, together with his Council, is one of the authors of the present predicament?”

    Reply
  5. Michael O'Neill

    “Ever since the Priory Hall disaster ordinary architects in small practices have been on the back foot for Compliance issues. A criminal builder had non-compliant work certified by a Member of the RIAI. Now all we hear about is Compliance and Assurances to the Public.

    People seem to forget that the checks and balances failed on Priory Hall DESPITE there being a competent, qualified registered architect in place. Part of this appears to be inadequate inspections on behalf of the purchasers. Because the system back then didn’t just rely on Vendors waving Opinions at Purchasers. Purchasers were supposed to retain their own Architects to properly inspect the premises prior to purchase. If that critical inspection did not take place, difficulties sometimes arose, no matter who signed the Opinions.

    In my 24 years of professional practice I have issued Opinions for hundreds of apartments. To the best of my knowledge neither I nor my former client company have ever been sued successfully based on any of these assurances Indeed I have left them with an open ended offer that if ever there was a legal case on their books because of my work I would be available immediately to help prepare the defense and offer Court testimony.

    During those years, ‘substantial compliance’ was the standard we worked to and ‘substantial compliance’ was what we delivered. Our clients were happy with our service. The purchasers of their products were happy they got what they paid for. The system worked.

    But with Priory Hall a rogue builder trading off MRIAI Opinions has created a situation which led to this over-the-top reaction which has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. This current situation is not acceptable!

    This current situation – with its egregious level liability for Assigned Certifiers and consequent get-out-of-jail free cards for rogue clients and contractors – has to be properly assessed by somebody competent to understand the liability involved and any such review needs to be led by someone who is not in denial over it!”

    Reply
  6. Michael O'Neill

    “Ever since the Priory Hall disaster ordinary architects in small practices have been on the back foot for Compliance issues. A criminal builder had non-compliant work certified by a Member of the RIAI. Now all we hear about is Compliance and Assurances to the Public.

    People seem to forget that the checks and balances failed on Priory Hall DESPITE there being a competent, qualified registered architect in place. Part of this appears to be inadequate inspections on behalf of the purchasers. Because the system back then didn’t just rely on Vendors waving Opinions at Purchasers. Purchasers were supposed to retain their own Architects to properly inspect the premises prior to purchase. If that critical inspection did not take place, difficulties sometimes arose, no matter who signed the Opinions.

    In my 24 years of professional practice I have issued Opinions for hundreds of apartments. To the best of my knowledge neither I nor my former client company have ever been sued successfully based on any of these assurances Indeed I have left them with an open ended offer that if ever there was a legal case on their books because of my work I would be available immediately to help prepare the defense and offer Court testimony.

    During those years, ‘substantial compliance’ was the standard we worked to and ‘substantial compliance’ was what we delivered. Our clients were happy with our service. The purchasers of their products were happy they got what they paid for. The system worked.

    But with Priory Hall a rogue builder trading off MRIAI Opinions has created a situation which led to this over-the-top reaction which has thrown the baby out with the bathwater. This current situation is not acceptable!

    This current situation – with its egregious level liability for Assigned Certifiers and consequent get-out-of-jail free cards for rogue clients and contractors – has to be properly assessed by somebody competent to understand the liability involved and any such review needs to be led by someone who is not in denial over it!”

    Reply
  7. Michael O'Neill

    “But – ‘tarry a little’ – perhaps I am misjudging John Graby.

    After all, John has been at the top of his game for decades. Perhaps there is a way in John’s mind (that I don’t see) whereby someone else takes on the responsibility for every design and built defect in a building, while still leaving architects relatively free to act more of less in the same professional capacity as before.

    Let’s reflect a little.

    The roles of Architects, Engineers and Quantity Surveyors are all fairly tried and tested positions in the design team, while engineers also certify their own work on certain kinds of jobs, particularly those jobs where human activity is not the main determinant of the building design.

    But I have overlooked the role of the Chartered Surveyor – those professionals who survey land and buildings and issue comprehensive reports on their condition to prospective purchasers. Chartered Surveyors certify buildings for a living. Their Certificates cover all matters, design, planning and built work, which might give cause for concern to a new purchaser.

    Is there an enlarged role for Chartered Surveyors in this new firmament created by the RIAI?

    Is this why Mr. Graby suggests that “professionals will still have similar liability concerns as previously” albeit with the qualifier “notwithstanding the new roles”.

    I think someone should ask John Graby how he sees the Members of the Institute maintaining ‘similar liability concerns as previously’ as well as seeking a clarification of his use of the term “notwithstanding the new roles”.

    After all, its only fair to seek the man’s opinion on the future of the profession he has helped to shape.”

    Reply
  8. Michael O'Neill

    “But – ‘tarry a little’ – perhaps I am misjudging John Graby.

    After all, John has been at the top of his game for decades. Perhaps there is a way in John’s mind (that I don’t see) whereby someone else takes on the responsibility for every design and built defect in a building, while still leaving architects relatively free to act more of less in the same professional capacity as before.

    Let’s reflect a little.

    The roles of Architects, Engineers and Quantity Surveyors are all fairly tried and tested positions in the design team, while engineers also certify their own work on certain kinds of jobs, particularly those jobs where human activity is not the main determinant of the building design.

    But I have overlooked the role of the Chartered Surveyor – those professionals who survey land and buildings and issue comprehensive reports on their condition to prospective purchasers. Chartered Surveyors certify buildings for a living. Their Certificates cover all matters, design, planning and built work, which might give cause for concern to a new purchaser.

    Is there an enlarged role for Chartered Surveyors in this new firmament created by the RIAI?

    Is this why Mr. Graby suggests that “professionals will still have similar liability concerns as previously” albeit with the qualifier “notwithstanding the new roles”.

    I think someone should ask John Graby how he sees the Members of the Institute maintaining ‘similar liability concerns as previously’ as well as seeking a clarification of his use of the term “notwithstanding the new roles”.

    After all, its only fair to seek the man’s opinion on the future of the profession he has helped to shape.”

    Reply

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