Help the BCMS Christmas appeal | Certificate of Completion Crisis!


David O’Connor, SRO – appealing for guidance

Just when we thought the housing crisis could not get any worse a major problem has emerged. The Building Control Management System (BCMS) must now overcome a glitch in the new Building Control Regulations that otherwise may stop people moving into new apartment and housing developments or indeed any multi-unit or phased commercial development.

A certificate of completion is necessary before any qualifying building may be legally occupied. It would appear that the reason for the delayed online availability of Certificate of Completion lodgments is that nobody at the BCMS knows how to deal with a certificate of completion for a multi-unit development because no allowance was made for them in the regulations. A call for assistance was issued today by David O’ Connor, the Senior Responsible Officer.

Link to BCMS paper seeking submissions:

Download pdf: BCMS Multi-unit completion Dec 2014

 Since the introduction of SI.9 and the launch of the BCMS it has not been possible to lodge a certificate of completion online and a hard copy paper submission was required. Initially it was thought that this was due to an I.T. phasing issue and a promise was given it would be resolved by last September.

Almost 10 months after the implementation of the new building control system and a full four years after the process was instigated, this call has been put out for suggestions on how to operate the new system for apartment buildings and other ‘multiple unit’ developments. It should not be forgotten that SI.9 was specifically introduced as a response to problems with multi-unit developments like the Priory Hall apartment scheme.

At a time of urgent housing need it is incredible that yet another raft of legal and administrative problems are creating unnecessary roadblocks, cost and delay in the delivery of housing. What is even more remarkable is that during more than two years of intensive development with stakeholders with years of technical support from the professional representative bodies nobody anticipated this.

It is not known how many housing or apartment developments, completed this year, may have been affected by this confusion or their future status if further amendments are introduced. The BRegs Blog have been raising this issue for months (see links below) and only yesterday published a post on where there were major anomalies on this issue.

Submissions are invited by the BCMS to

Other posts of interest:

SI.9 “each phase should be designed to stand alone” | BCMS

Have residential Completion Certificates been fully considered?

Completion Certificates for Multi-unit Housing

BCMS Completion Stage | No Ancillary Certificates required!

SI.9 causing major delays to school projects

SI.9 completion stage and the BCMS | Clouds are gathering!

5 Tips for Completion Certs

Press: RIAI fearful Local Authorities will start “finding something to invalidate as a method of workload control”

Build in 8 hours, wait 3 weeks for a Completion Cert!

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 

Are Local Authorities ready? Industry concern for completion stage: BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

1 thought on “Help the BCMS Christmas appeal | Certificate of Completion Crisis!

  1. Andrew Alexander MRIAI

    All credit to Mr. O’Connor for recognising the problem and issuing this call for assistance. I look forward to perusing the paper.

    I hope Mr. Connor finds time soon to respond to the RIAI letter sent to him recently with respect to the 40sqm confusion.

    What this legislative shambles shows is that when governments decide to meddle with legislation that affects effectively every family in the country such a process should not be rushed. I am convinced that a pilot project should have been run in one or more counties before bringing the SI.9 legislation into force. One pilot could have administered SI.09 while another could have piloted a third party inspection based system.

    The political motivation and priorities of the SI.09 stakeholders have been laid bare for all to see – a government trying to target and make scapegoats of an industry and its professionals who it deemed to be in bed with the last government and professional bodies so desperate to ensure their indispensability at the heart of the system that they let the government off the hook – claiming to possess competencies they did not and could not possess.

    It is the professional’s duty to be a competent member of his profession. It is not possible to be a competent Assigned Certifier.

    No one possesses such skills and anyone who claims to possess them is deluding themselves. Remember only part of the role of the Certifier is to keep good files and collect the necessary paperwork. While that may be possible – and I have rarely met an architect (or even a lawyer) who kept the kind of flawless filing system that would meet the requirements of SI.09 – collecting the necessary paperwork does not mean the building will not fail.

    Added to all of the above are recent media reports that show the government and the stakeholders are now caught in a vicious pincer movement – showing this to be most inopportune time to play politics with the regulations. At one end of the supply chain the Central bank is moving to impose restrictions on lending while at the other end financial institutions will be restricting loan approvals, not only to individuals but to developers.

    Now lo and behold the Department have announced they don’t know how to administer (let alone inspect on site) the Building Control system for multi-unit unit developments. Not exactly the kind of backdrop you want in an environment in which there will be restrictions in lending.

    Meanwhile the RIAI have advised its members to issue an overall completion cert to close off the building register for multi-unit developments however their fellow stakeholders in the Department don’t really know what form the building register should take.

    All of which is restricting the supply of work to building professionals, contractors and tradespersons just when they are trying to dig themselves out of an economic black hole.

    If any of my fellow Architects out there are confident of a prosperous 2015 please enlighten me and identify the source of the ‘green shoots’.


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