Minister signals changes with Certifier fees of €3,500 | BC(A)R SI.9

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 March 11th 2015

Minister signals changes with Certifier fees of €3,500 |  BC(A)R SI.9

Building regulation fees for once-off housing were the topic of a Dáil debate on February 25th 2015 between Patrick O’Donovan T.D. (FG) and Minister for State Paudie Coffey.

“In my opinion, based on the advice I am receiving, the inspection regime for one-off houses should cost no more than €3,500. However, I am aware of many cases where the cost of inspections has far exceeded this amount, something I am determined to address in as far as possible” (Minister Coffey)

Link to Topical Debate in Dáil Éireann on ‘Building Regulations’ here.

Subsequently Minister Coffey has clarified to BRegs Blog that his Dáil statement does not mean that Assigned Certifier fees will be capped at €3,500. In a Twitter exchange with the Minister, he made clear that “there is no mention of a cap” and that “detail (is) to be announced all in due course…. caps were never mentioned

There has been on-going controversy since former Minister Phil Hogan suggested that the onerous obligations and inspection regime required under SI9 could be carried out for €1,000-3,000.

The Minister’s attempt to address costs is the latest response to address the spiralling cost of SI.9 introduced last March. Additional costs for fees and administration costs have been widely recorded from €22,000 up to over €40,000 for a typical once- off house.

Alarmingly, the additional costs for non-residential projects have not been given the same attention. In government projects such as schools and hospitals, fees for Assigned and Design Certifiers, together with Ancillary Certifiers (Engineers) have resulted in an increase of around 3% to all construction, depending on project size. These fees exclude additional testing and certification charges costs and more importantly defensive specifications, which add an up to 5% on top of the capital cost for projects. Additional professional fees reported to the BRegs Blog for school projects have ranged up to €100,000 for typical €3m school builds (see previous post below).

Commentators have been very critical of the new regulations applied to non-residential projects under Government control. Many consider that larger projects already have full design teams appointed and significant paperwork already in place (as built drawings, O+M manuals etc) and SI.9 introduces a costly duplicate administrative process, for little benefit.

Other Ministers have queried the cost of SI.9 on capital spend in 2014. One wonders whether an audit has been undertaken of the impact of SI.9 on capital spending, additional costs and projects delayed, for 2014?

The additional administrative cost for the €3.5Bn capital works programme in 2015 could conservatively stretch to tens of millions, many multiples of the cost to run a properly resourced independent Local Authority inspection system.

Other posts of interest:

2 thoughts on “Minister signals changes with Certifier fees of €3,500 | BC(A)R SI.9

  1. Brian Maher

    Some obvious thoughts spring to mind when the discussion is about a solution rather than a clear sense that the core values of the rationale. Firstly, why is the discussion about cost rather than value to the consumer? This indicates the political motivation to placate the rural self builder rather than consumers as a whole. Both Alan Kelly and Paudie Coffey are both rural TD’s and are clearly pandering to their constituents concerns rather than bigger picture. Secondly in the UK the Building Regs Documentation is usually bound into the contractural duties and services and costs are included in contract sum whereas here they are always calculated as an extra over cost which explains the focus on cost v value to the overall project. Compliance in UK is accepted as a related cost and the information that is created to demonstrate this is actually part of the contract documentation and bound into O&M’s at handover.

    Reply
  2. Michael O'Neill

    Typical of a Minister who hasn’t a clue.

    First his department interferes with the certification process – a wholly private sector, market driven process. Now it determines what the vendor can charge.

    What other Industry would put up with a government that asks its principals to take extraordinary risk in certifying perfection, then tells it what to charge for signing a phantasmagorical Certificate of Perfection?

    All to be used as a fig leaf to cover the non-compliance works that rogue developers, criminal clients and inexperienced Home Builders are going to try to get away with.

    All to cover the already well-padded and paid for backsides of county managers and their minions so THEY incur no risk arising out of certification.

    All to be seen to look after their army of voters in the Self Build sector.

    All to salvage the career of a Politician in a Disastrous Government.

    A Politician, one of a breed by definition that promises anything to get elected and then reneges on its promises after the seat is won, is telling professionals, whose necks are already on the block in terms of liability, what they can do and what they can charge for what they do.

    A Politician, who like the Bankers and Big Developers did not suffer much in the 2008 Financial Collapse and who is telling offices which DID suffer how much they can make in this new market.

    A Politician, whose idea of accountability is whether he gets an office and a Ministerial car and unvouched expenses and a fat pension after the next election, with no one suing him for errors by others that he was forced to certify for buttons to stay in business.

    Ridiculous!

    Mr. Political Man – you’re some piece of work.

    Reply

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