ALERT: Ministers Kelly & Coffey Commence Review of Building Control Regulations

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April 2nd 2015

Ministers Coffey and Kelly announced the annual review of BC(A)R SI.9 today. See original webpage from the DECLG website see here. Please note in the middle of the notice there is a link to a separate webpage with further documentation.

Extract:

Ministers Kelly & Coffey Commence Review of Building Control Regulations

02/04/15

Mr. Paudie Coffey, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, together with Minister Alan Kelly, T.D., today (2nd April 2015) announced a review of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 9 of 2014).

The new Regulations commenced in March last year and the Department is now initiating a review, as the regulations have now been operational for 12 months. The review will focus particularly on the cost burden involved for one-off houses, including self-build, and extensions to existing dwellings.

Minister Coffey said “The Regulations were introduced last year to ensure competence and professionalism in construction and to bring accountability to bear within the industry following the scourge of defective building works that had become all too common.  Owners, builders, construction professionals and local authorities have gained a lot of practical experience of the new regulatory requirements on some 6,000 projects, big and small, that commenced since 1 March 2014.  I am confident that a lot of learning will come through in the review that will allow me to refine and streamline the regulatory process so as to ensure that the building process can work effectively to serve the needs of industry and of consumers.”

“Our objective is to empower consumers to get a fair price for the actual inspection work they require”, Minister Kelly said.  “A number of cases have been brought to my attention and my colleague Minister Coffey whereby consumers have been quoted outlandish charges for professional services in relation to residential construction projects. It is worthwhile for homeowners to have the home they invest in checked and inspected but, they should not have to pay an inflated rate for excessive inspection services”.

The Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government is publishing a suite of documents today to inform the Review, including a sample inspection plan drawn up by the Department to inform the market in relation to offering realistic and appropriately priced professional services, and the Department’s own calculation of the costs involved.  Also included for consultation is an information note setting out options for addressing the cost burden of the regulations for single dwellings and extensions to existing dwellings.

The Ministers are open to the view that broadening the pool of persons who can design, inspect and certify buildings could also  help the one-off housing sector of the market.  This is one of the options being put forward for consultation as part of the review.  The Department continues to work with Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, as the statutory registration body for architects and with representatives groups such as the Architects Alliance of Ireland to secure greater representation of practically trained practitioners on the register of architects.

Plans are also advancing for the statutory registration of architectural technologists and both Ministers  welcome the decision by Quality Qualifications Ireland to set up a working group to identify a common standard for architectural technology in line with the National Qualifications Framework.   Noting that this is a critical step in the development of a statutory register, the Minister Kelly added:-

“We will do everything in our power, consistent with domestic legal arrangements and at EU level, to fast-track the new register and to ensure that the routes to registration more generally are fair, open and broadly-based.”

Another issue to be examined in the review is the option of establishing a “Minister’s List” for practically trained architects, whereby they could be facilitated to continue in their work, subject to defined criteria.

The review of the S.I. No. 9 of 2014 formally begins today followed by a consultative forum to be hosted by  Minister Coffey on 15 April 2015.  The forum will consider the key features of the building control reforms and invite participating stakeholder representatives to contribute their views.   Stakeholders will then have a month to follow up with a full written submission reporting on their experiences to date and recommending any further changes they think would be helpful.  Written submissions will also be welcomed from members of the public and industry in general, and should be sent to buildingstandards@environ.ie.

ENDS

 

1 thought on “ALERT: Ministers Kelly & Coffey Commence Review of Building Control Regulations

  1. Michael O'Neill

    The sample Preliminary Inspection Plan.

    http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/BuildingStandards/FileDownLoad,41034,en.pdf

    Jumps from Ground Floor to Roof. Written by an engineer perhaps. Or a self builder.

    – No mention of vapour checks.

    – No mention of fire rated first floor construction

    – No mention of the step between garage and house or the other fire safety measures.

    – No mention of the safety hazards from the MVHR system transporting cold smoke fumes and gases to people asleep in the house.

    – No mention of the MVHR System breaching the fire rating of wall and ceilings.

    – No mention of recessed downlighters breaching the fire rating of wall and ceilings

    – No mention of the proportion of energy to be used from sustainable sources (covered by the comment “renewables” perhaps?)

    – No mention of cold bridges or three dimensional thermal design (that means “corners”, for the self-builders and engineer)

    Think all these are “refinements”? No. these things are the means whereby non-compliance occurs and the people who wrote this checklist do not seem to know about them.

    And then there is the Documentation section.

    Where are the

    – Vendors guanatees

    – Mechanical Manuals

    – Electrical Manuals

    – Fire Detection System Testing and Commissioning Certificates and maintenance logs

    Think all these are reserved for Commercial Buildings? No. All buildings require compliant building. Evidence of this is in the Guarantees and Manuals, not merely test certificates, because electrical and mechanical items need maintenance, not merely pieces of paper issued and forgotten about.

    Let me reiterate this. Buildings do not stay in compliance. They fall out of compliance.

    The elements of which they are constructed and serviced need maintenance, repair, servicing, replacement over the time of the whole building. If the wherewithal for this is not issued to the building owner, by the people who were party to its construction, in what sense is the building complete or compliant? How long will it stay that way?

    For a day, a week, a month, a year – until the first item of servicing needs replacement and its missed? A filter for an MVHR system. A gas boiler needing servicing?

    Whoever issued this should be made the sole Assigned Certifier for every job in the country and then sued into oblivion.

    Typical of this stupid minister’s efforts, following his complete misunderstanding of the likely costs of certification.

    The man is an idiot, a weak idiot, pandering to every pressure group in town, and worse that that, thinking that the people who write these documents are in any way competent to do so.

    Desk jockey engineers should have no role to play in either legislating or advising on construction-related matters.

    I include Techs and Archs who never go to site and never certify.

    I include self-builders whose Uncle lays blocks for pig-styes.

    I have one piece of advice for this naive Minister in his vote-catching expedition.

    Stick to what you’re good at pal.

    Reply

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