The following opinion piece* was received from Eamonn Hedderman FRIAI, a principal in Holly Park Studio in Blackrock, Co. Dublin and a candidate in the RIAI Council 2015 election who is in no hurry to join the SI.9 race to the bottom!
Completion Certificates and the Assigned Certifier. How certain is the Certifier?
Since the introduction of the term Assigned Certifier under the Building Regulations I have been concerned at how easily those drafting the legislation have presumed a parity of qualification amongst those professionals approved to take on the role, namely:
(a) Architects that are on the register maintained by the RIAI under Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007; or
(b) Building Surveyors that are on the register maintained by the SCSI under Part 5 of the Building Control Act 2007; or
(c) Chartered Engineers on the register maintained by Engineers Ireland under section 7 of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (Charter Amendment) Act 1969.
It is questionable whether all prospective Employers will appreciate the very real differences in the skill sets of those named professions above and more significantly whether the professionals in question will be objectively critical, in the present economic climate, when it comes to deciding whether they are competent to take on the role.
I have long held the view that to do justice to the role of Assigned Certifier, with its inherent liabilities, the incumbent will have to become a full time site professional and will have to limit such services to one project at a time. Such an onerous task will require adequate remuneration and yet there is significant evidence of professionals agreeing to take on the role for fees that could not possible cover out-of-pocket expenses, let alone provide even a minimum wage.
God be with the days when Architects could confidently advise Clients of the advisability of employing the services of a Clerks of Work or Site Architects and, that the Architect’s opinion was sufficiently respected to ensure that funding for such services was made available.
At what stage did we accept that budget cuts could dispense with these important site supervisory roles?
Why did we add that service to our standard service, regardless of what the appointment documents might suggest?
Is it not as a direct consequence of the OVER SERVICING of our clients that the ‘powers-that-be’ expect that we will Kowtow and take on new responsibilities and greater liabilities without question?
If we do accept the role of Assigned Certifier how will funding of the ongoing Professional Indemnity Insurance be managed when the certifier decides to retire?
One of the principal warnings issued to Members by the RIAI over the past year has been that if Architects fail to take on the role of assigned Certifier, there are other professional more than willing do so.
Well, let them at it.
I was recently appointed to monitor the construction of a large domestic extension adjoining my clients property. Planning permission had been acquired in 2014 but there was no Architect involved on the project and the Assigned Certifier was not a Registered Architect.
When first introduced to the Assigned Certifier I asked if they felt comfortable in their competence to take on such an onerous role, and was assured that there were absolutely no concerns.
Perhaps such comfort is borne out of an ignorance of the pressures, traditionally taken on by the Architectural Profession, of taking full responsibility for the coordination and management of construction projects.
What was disturbing about the whole affair was that during the course of the construction I had to highlight a number of boundary and detail issue which were not in compliance with Building Regulations, leaving me to wonder if such oversights were common throughout the project.
I wonder how valid the Assigned Certifier’s Completion Certificate will be. Will anyone be able to rely on it?
Would I, as an Architect representing a prospective buyer for the property, be able to comment on the advisability of accepting that such a certificate was evidence of Compliance.
And, what documents will the legal profession be seeking as evidence of compliance in future conveyancing?
Do we as a profession know?
Does the RIAI, SCSI or EI know?
Does the Law Society know?
Eamon Hedderman FRIAI
* The BRegs Blog Team are happy to consider similar submissions for possible publication.
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