The following opinion piece* was received from Barry Kelly MRIAI, a principal in Carew Kelly Architects – a small practice based in Dublin 2 – and a candidate in the RIAI Council 2015 election. Like many similar practices he finds the imposition of SI.9 to be a massive burden with a huge impact in terms of liability, cost and time. BReg Blog notes shown [ ].
Problems with Inspection Plans
On 27th November 2014 Engineers Ireland published an article by the BCMS. This was in relation to a sample Inspection Plan that lists seven stage inspections for compliance for a project [Link to article:]. In the article author Mairéad Phelan, project manager of the Building Control Management System notes:
Preliminary and completed inspection plans: It important that the number and type of inspections to be carried out relate to the complexity of the project, the relevant building-compliance issues and the milestones in the project. An example of inspection stages with the relevant building regulatory compliance issues is below. It is compliance with Part A-M with which the BCAs (Building Control Authorities) are concerned.
I question whether ‘7 stage inspections’ are adequate (even for a house build) and comparisons need to be drawn to a Building Surveyors ’33 Stage inspection’ [post here] and the RIAI Inspection Framework which is considerably more complex.
One colleague points out that “While every assigned certifier is free to set the number of times they call to a site, they are required to be comprehensive both in the planning and preparation of a project, the level of and number of inspections, and in compiling all documentation including ancillary certificates from consultants who will be inevitably involved. While a bank, for mortgage applications may require as little as 5 or 6 inspections, SI.9 requires diligent Assigned Certifiers to carry out many more. If they are not carrying out the additional inspections or working with consultants then they have failed in their duties”.
In particular, I question the following anomalies and omissions from the BCMS ‘7 Stage Inspection Plan’:
Part E (Sound) is inspected at wall plate level– this is before roof/ windows/ closing in of the main envelope, so how can a sound test be completed when the building envelope is not completed?
‘First fix’ services are inspected at Completion– Clearly this is not proper sequencing on site, particularly when electrical services do not fall within the building regulations.
Part M (Access) is inspected at foundations level and completion only– note in article “The most commonly observed compliance issues observed by BCAs are: 9. Steps to entrances (Part M), but access issues are relevant throughout the build.
Part G (Hygiene)– this is completely omitted from inspection plan.
Part J (Heat Producing Appliances) the inspection does not happen until the roof is on.
Part L ( Fuel & Energy) is inspected when the building is at Ground Floor Level (again out of sequence).
It is hard to see how there can be a level playing pitch for consultants competing for work when there is no agreed standard in relation to inspections. More worryingly, as one colleague noted “when I land in court will the other side argue that I cut corners if I did not record an inspection every week?”
*BRegs Blog Admin. Team will consider similar submissions for publication.
Other posts of interest: