Self-certification ‘fatally flawed’ and needs ‘drastic overhaul’ | Engineers Journal


Michael Collins Dip Arch, FRIAI, Comp EI, Past President RIAI

Last week the journal of Engineers Ireland published a letter from Michael Collins a past president of the RIAI (Link: Here). This was in response to an article by Cormac Bradley about the current SI.9 building control self-certification system. Collins compares it to the much praised international best practice UK model of independent local authority and ‘approved inspectors’ in the UK and alleges that the Stakeholders Group involved in drafting the Building Control Regulations ignored the approved-inspector system that works in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.


“It is surprising that – as Mr Bradley’s remarks imply – the only independent inspection system of which the Stakeholders knew, or of which they could conceive, was one entirely resourced and paid for by local authorities, and that the only other system they could imagine was the system of self-certification adopted by the Department? It is hard to believe that none of them ever heard of the ‘Approved Inspector’ system that operates successfully in England, Wales and Northern Ireland!

In that system, the inspectors operate in the private sector. They are licensed (approved) by and are responsible to the local authority, as well as the client. The client/developer pays their fees. The cost is therefore borne by the building owner/developer, not the local authorities. The cost to the local authorities is no more than that under SI.9.

The system gives timely, cost-effective, thorough and independent peer-group review of designs and construction by experienced private-sector professionals. This improves design and construction standards in a direct way, while incidentally solving all the emergent problems with self-bulders, technologists, project delay and the rest.

It is clear the Stakeholders and Department gave no thought to this sensible and effective system.”

Other posts of interest:

Government Reports and Professional Opinion Ignored in SI.9

€ 5 billion | The extraordinary cost of S.I.9 self-certification by 2020

Engineers Ireland Journal | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI Ancillary Certificates + Self-certification

Government statement: BC(A)R SI.9 “the end of self-certification”?

2 thoughts on “Self-certification ‘fatally flawed’ and needs ‘drastic overhaul’ | Engineers Journal

  1. Michael O'Neill

    The primary problem for the residents of Priory Hall was that they bought from a Rogue Client and Developer. This was outside their control in that they took him at face value.

    The second problem was they did not engage inspecting architects, engineers or building surveyors to properly inspect the property in sale before it was purchased. This problem was entirely within their control and the control of the local authority which acquired units.

    With no checking done prior to purchase, a vital piece of the machinery in the self-certification process was missing. If we are going to review a system for faults and propose a new one, we need to focus on the actual fault, not distractions.

    Looking to the future what does SI 9 (2014) bring the table to remedy this fault. Nothing.

    The issuing of ever more phantasmagorical documents claiming perfection is not the answer.
    The issuing of guarantees backed up with some esoteric paper from insurance companies is not the answer.
    The only answer is testing, commissioning and inspections by competent professionals who act for the purchaser.


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