BC(A)R SI.9 Submission Series No 5 | Architectural Technologists: CIAT

CC4643FB3FDE26F2F6E2F7FC32EDEACA

9 June 2015

The following submission was made by the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) as part of the current annual review of BC(A)R SI.9 being conducted by Ministers Coffey, Kelly and the Department of the Environment. CIAT were a key industry stakeholder invited to  Ministerial review meeting on 15th April 2015. (To find out more about CIAT – The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists click here)

Pdf of cover letter: Covering letter – CIAT

Pdf of Introduction: Introduction – CIAT

Excel submission here: Excel format submission – CIAT


Text of Excel submission to follow:

Template for comments / observations returned during the consultation Document: Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. 9 of 2014
Document: Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, S.I. 9 of 2014
Article / Part / Schedule of the Building Control Regulations Brief Overview of area of concern Proposed change (if any)
(Response to Question 1) Option A: Proposal to make SI 09 of 2014 Advisory rather than Mandatory,Q.1 Do you agree with the proposed amendment to Building Control Regulations to provide that the requirements for statutory certification in line with S.I. No. 9 of 2014 be eased in the case of a new single dwelling and an extension to an existing dwelling by becoming advisory rather than mandatory and by allowing for alternative means of demonstrating compliance?
1. We do not agree with this proposal.
2. One off housing and domestic extensions are probably the most vulnerable buildings when it comes to non compliance with Building Regulations as they rarely have a full design team commissioned to design and inspect them. 2A. If one off houses and extensions are to be omitted from the requirement to comply with SI 09 of 2014 we suggest that a system of inspections could be set up by the Local Authority Building Control Department which could be financed by a fee charged on the Commencement Notice.
2B. Produce a Certificate of Compliance specifically for one off houses and domestic extensions to be signed by the contractor stating that he has constructed the building in compliance with the building regulations as set out in the Technical Guidance Documents.
2C. Apartment blocks and speculative housing developments should be excluded from this facility.
2D. Reference should be made to ISO/iIEC 17020:1998 (E) International Standard for various types of inspection. “A1 – The inspection body shall be independent of all parties involved. B1 The inspection body, and its staff responsible for carrying out the inspection shall not be the designer, manufacturer, supplier, installer or purchaser, owner, user or maintainer of the items which they inspect, nor the authorized representative of any of these parties. C1 The inspection body shall provide safeguards within the organisation to ensure adequate segregation of responsibilities and accountabilities in the provision of inspection services by organisation and/or documented procedures.”
3. Owners will not understand the implications, having proceeded with the construction of their house and having opted out of the SI 09 until such time as they attempt to access bank funding to pay the contractor, sell or remortgage the property.,They may also be misled by unscrupulous contractors to do so in order that the contractor can cut corners.
4. Construction professionals who design dwellings, carry out site inspections and administer the BCMS System must be paid a reasonable fee which will cover their costs and allow them a profit margin.
5. One off rural houses are often occupied when partially complete and then completed in stages as money comes available. 5. Allow for partial completion certification.
(Response to Question 2 & 3)Option B:,Proposal to broaden the pool of persons who may sign Statutory Certificates of Compliance,Q2. Do you have any views in relation to the proposals for broadening the pool of professionals who may sign certificates of compliance in particular proposals (c) and (d) at Option B above?,Q.3 Do you have any further suggestions which would assist in broadening the pool of persons who may give statutory certificates of compliance for building control purposes?
1. We welcome the proposal to widen the pool of professionals qualified to issue Certificates of Compliance and agree that those professionals considered to be added to the list of those deemed competent must be suitably qualified. We consider that Chartered Architectural Technologists are well qualified to fulfil this role as their training and subsequent experience specialises in the technical design of construction and the detailing of buildings in compliance with Building Regulations.
2. The expanding of the pool of those deemed qualified to issue Certificates of Compliance will increase competition and choice in the market but must not be seen as a way of reducing the fee for providing this service to an unsustainable level. It is mandatory for our Chartered Members (MCIAT) who provide building design services to the public to carry PI insurance. Details of our members PI insurance is policed annually by our Institute.
3. Broadening the pool of certifiers could reduce the cost of complying with SI 09 2014 in rural areas by this service being provided by local professionals, thus substantially reducing travel time to access sites from,large urban areas where most of the larger construction design companies providing this service are located. The setting up of a statutory register of Architectural Technologists would guarantee that any person who is on the register is competent to act as Assigned Certifier or Design Certifier.
4. We do not see how increasing the pool of professionals deemed qualified to issue Certificates of Compliance will “affect the working arrangements of registered architects, surveyors and chartered engineers”. This should have no bearing on arriving at a determination. The importance is providing the opportunity to all competent professionals to issue Certificates of Compliance and provide for fair competition, and not to restrict practice. As the construction industry continues to recover from the recession, more construction projects will require more specialist certifiers.
5. As a part of this process, CIAT is a member of the QQI Expert Panel that is charged with establishing National Award Standards for Architectural Technology. These standards set the level of prerequisite knowledge required to underpin the professional practice of Architectural Technologists.,However, it is important to clarify that in order for Competent Architectural Technologists to be included on the Register, they must also meet the Professional Standards Framework set by CIAT to demonstrate parity with its Chartered Architectural Technologists (MCIAT), who are already competent to undertake this function.
6. In response to Option B Q2 (d), we do not agree with this proposal. There are already adequate processes in place to enable ‘practically qualified’ architects to join the register of architects. Architectural Technologists are not architects, but are separate and distinct professionals. Their education and training concentrates on the technical science of building design and not on the aesthetic elements of architectural design. Such aesthetic design skills and knowledge are necessary for registration as an architect, but are NOT necessary for designing in and certifying compliance with Building Regulations. For that reason, Architectural Technologists must be registered in their own right. There should be no question that any registered professional, who acts as Design or Assigned Certifier should be assumed to charge any less than other professionals for the same work.
(Response to Question 4) Option C: Proposal to issue statutory guidance documents for the duties of the Assigned Certifier.,Q.4 Do you agree that there should be no change in the regulatory requirements for single dwellings and extensions to existing dwellings but that the Sample Preliminary Inspection Plan for single Dwellings should be incorporated into the existing Code of Practice for inspecting and certifying buildings and works thus becoming a statutory guidance document?
1. We welcome the proposal to produce guidance for the duties of the Assigned Certifier but have some concerns in relation to the draft documents as issued for consultation. 1. If a set number of site inspections needs to be determined, a proper analysis of the requirements must be considered and increased from 5 to at least 12. However, we deem that this needs to be reconsidered taking into account the reality of running a project.
• The proposed Preliminary Inspection Plan is a useful guide to the elements which should be inspected.
• It is unrealistic to assume that all the elements of each stage can be inspected at the same time on one visit.,The allotted five site visits will not be sufficient for anything but the smallest single storey house or extension. 3. Time to correlate completion documents should be increased to 4 hours.
• Given that the average one off house will take six to nine months to complete, inspections will be required at fortnightly intervals totalling 12 to 18 site visits. 4. 4 hours should be allocated for the updating and pdf formatting of as built drawings for loading onto the BCMS.
• Eight hours is insufficient to prepare/check that a full set of construction drawings is in compliance with the building regulations. 5. Allow 20 to 30 hours depending on the complexity of the project to prepare compliance drawings.
• The time allowed does not allow travel time which could be, for example,a two hour round trip for each site visit.
• It is erroneous to assume that the ‘as constructed’ dwelling will follow the design drawings exactly without any changes. This cannot be the case. Circumstances and client requirements almost always affect the need for amendments and changes during construction. It appears no account has been taken of this.
• No time has been allowed for updating drawings. 5. Allow time, depending on the complexity of the project to prepare revised drawings.
• It is erroneous to assume that there is no preparation and presentation of documentation and information required by conditions of planning permission. It is recognised that the planning permissions for one-off dwellings are likely to have various conditions attached some of which will be related to the Building Regulations and which will require documentation or details to be submitted to the Local Authority to demonstrate compliance.
• It is erroneous to assume that there is no preparation and presentation of documentation and information required by conditions of planning permission. It is recognised that the planning permissions for one-off dwellings are likely to have various conditions attached some of which will be related to the Building Regulations and which will require documentation or details to be submitted to the Local Authority to demonstrate compliance.
• Two hours is insufficient time to seek,,check and collate the various certificates of compliance issued by Ancillary Certifiers.
• €65.00 per hour to include all overheads is unsustainable particularly taking into account the liability attached to acting as an Assigned Certifier. 2. Costs should not be set. This is not for the Government but the open market and should reflect the worth of the service provided. Does this comply with EU Directives of fair competition etc.?
(Response to Question 5) Option D: Exemptions for extensions to existing dwellings should be determined having regard to building plot ratio.,Q.5 Do you have any views on the proposal that exemptions for extensions to existing dwellings should be determined having regard to a building to plot ratio?
1. We consider the current definition of “extensions” which are exempted from the BCMS system contained in Clause 12 (2) (b) of SI 09 of 2014 is not clear. 1. Retain the 40sqm exemption but amend Clause 12 (2) (b) of SI 09 of 2014 to clarify what is considered exempted. Suggest changing wording of Clause 12 of Section 2 (b) to read,“The cumulative area of extensions to a dwelling constructed post 1st March 2014 involving a total area not greater than 40 sq m.”
2. We do not consider this to be a practical option for the reasons outlined in the cons section of the consultation document. 2. Produce a Certificate of Compliance specifically for domestic extensions to be signed by the contractor stating that he has constructed the building in compliance with the Building Regulations as set out in the Technical Guidance Documents. Otherwise who is to judge whether the basic Building Regulations have been complied with.
3. It would be too subjective on large sites, the existing building could be trebled in size with no building control oversight.
4. It is important that small extensions adjacent to neighbouring properties comply with Building Regulations particularly with regard to Fire Part B, Sound Part E, Drainage Part H,and Heat Producing Appliances Part J. Non compliance with any of these could directly affect a neighbouring property.,Domestic extensions must comply with the Building Regulations.
Information Document 3
Professional Liability
A full review with input from the construction, legal and insurance sectors as well as industry professional bodies is needed of who should be held liable and therefore required to carry professional indemnity insurance (PII) in addition to clear guidance on limits and periods of liability. Also other types of insurances need to be investigated as to their availability and affordability, such as LDI, LSI, project specific insurances.
1. We welcome this review of the process governing the issuing of Completion Certificates for phased developments and multi-unit developments under the BCMS. As the regulations governing Completion Certificates now stand they appear unworkable when applied to multi-unit developments and phased developments. 1. Provisions must be included to allow for phased development, partial and phased occupation of larger residential, commercial, retail, healthcare projects and the like.
These difficulties also apply to mixed use developments, phased commercial and large industrial developments where owners require partial hand over of buildings or parts of buildings to facilitate phased specialist fit outs.
The solution to phased residential development is relatively straightforward but a more complex solution may be necessary when considering large complex commercial buildings or hospitals, which often require long fit-out programmes after partial occupation.
2. We welcome the stressing of the separation of compliance with Planning Regulations from compliance with Building Regulations.
3. Any amendment to the Regulations governing the issuing of Completion Certificates must take cognisance of the fact that a Planning Permission is valid for a five year period and may subsequently be extended. The Building Regulations and their Technical Guidance Documents are also amended from time to time and these amendments’ introduction dates are often related to the date on which Planning Permission was granted. 2. Provisions must be included to allow for phased development, partial and phased occupation of larger residential, commercial, retail, healthcare projects and the like, completion of which may be affected by economic circumstances outside of the control of the Developer, Assigned Certifier or Contractor.
4. When considering amendments to the BCMS it must be remembered that these regulations do not apply to residential units only but also apply to large complex commercial developments, hospitals etc where any delay to the construction process will cause considerable commercial inconvenience and loss of earnings. 4. The amendments proposed to the current regulations must be flexible enough to facilitate commercial realities.
Paragraph 2 5. Phased development may not be dictated by the requirement to sell completed units but by the necessity for the owner to take over part of a development in order vacate another occupied part of the building to facilitate the next phase of the development. This is particularly relevant to phased alterations/refurbishment of residential buildings such as existing hotels, nursing homes or hospitals etc all of which are likely to be subject to the requirement for Fire Safety Certificate and Disability Access Certificate and so come under the requirements of the SI 09 of 2014. 5. This scenario must be facilitated within any amendment to the regulations governing Completion Certification.
Paragraph 3 6. There may be circumstances where one contractor constructs the shell and core of a building and another contractor completes the interior of the building under a separate contract. This separate contract may or may not be subject to the requirement to seek a new Fire Safety Certificate and Disability Access Certificate and therefore may or may not come under the requirement of SI 09 of 2014 but will be required to comply with the Building Regulations. 6.,There must be a facility within any amendment to the regulations to issue a phased Completion Certificate
In these circumstances the building will be handed over to the second contractor in an incomplete state and therefore a Completion Certificate cannot be issued by the first contractor without qualifications.
Paragraph 3 7. How is it proposed to deal with changes to a building which renders its original Commencement Notice and Completion Certificate irrelevant or partially irrelevant? In these circumstances the certificates for the original structure of the building may still remain valid but those relating to Part B may be invalid. 7. If the BCMS is to be a record for the life of the building there must be a facility included to cover alterations to buildings such as changes of use, extensions etc.
Paragraph 3 8. Completion Certificates may not be required in relation to a legal entity in the case of a phased development which is under one ownership and which takes places over a protracted period, for instance in a large complex building, part of which requires to be occupied before completion of the entire building. 8.,There must be a facility within any amendments to the regulations to issue a phased Completion Certificate or amend the requirement for the Completion Certificate to be issued prior to any occupation of the building.
Paragraph 5 9. We see no reason why more than one Commencement Notice should be issued in relation to a phased development, as the timing of the phasing will not affect the information lodged with the Commencement Notice. 9. Provisions must be included to allow for phased development, partial and phased occupation of larger residential, commercial, retail, healthcare projects and the like.
Paragraph 6 10. It is not practical to expect a developer to set out in detail before commencement how he intends to phase a large development, as commercial factors or site constraints discovered later may dictate a change in any proposed phasing programme submitted at this stage. 10. Only a suggested phasing program should be included at Commencement Notice Stage.
Paragraph 6 11. There may be circumstances in large mixed use developments which take several years to complete where, for commercial reasons, a developer may not complete part of a development in the use for which it was originally intended but, having sought and obtained permission for a change of use, a new Fire Safety Cert and Disability Access Cert in respect of part of the development, the original Commencement Notice will not apply to part of the site and a separate Completion Cert may be required. 11. Whatever system is established, setting out the requirements for Completion Certificates must be flexible enough to facilitate the commercial reality of development and not impede in any way the much needed revival of the construction industry.
Paragraph 8 12. We welcome the consideration of the necessity to have adequate water services, drainage services and fire prevention and escape provisions in place prior to the occupation of a building.,We consider that it is neither practical nor necessary to include details of temporary service provisions at Commencement Notice Stage as they are likely to change as the site development progresses. These elements would normally be assessed prior to the Architectural Technologist/Architect issuing a Certificate of Practical Completion.
Consideration could be given to setting up a system by which a validation certificate could be issued on receipt of a Commencement Notice conditional upon the builder confirming in writing how adequate water services, drainage services and fire prevention and escape provisions will be provided to facilitate phased occupation prior to the completion and part occupation of the development.
Paragraph IV 13. This paragraph should only apply to developments where there are individual buildings or units intended to be stand-alone legal entities on completion.
Paragraph B 14. Consideration must be given to the fact that, for commercial reasons, it may be necessary to sell some units in a development to finance some of the community facilities to be included in the development of the entire site. Therefore these facilities may not be complete prior to the occupation of some of the units in a phased development. 14. Provisions must be included to allow for phased development, partial and phased occupation of larger residential, commercial, retail, healthcare projects and the like.
Paragraph C 15. It should be noted that public areas of development sites may not be taken “in charge” by Local Authorities until several years after the development has been completed. 15. Provisions must be included to allow for phased development, partial and phased occupation of larger residential, commercial, retail, healthcare projects and the like without being conditional on the Local Authority taking in charge the roads, site lighting, drainage, water supply etc.
16. Conclusion 16. We consider that a possible solution to the difficulties raised above would be to introduce a two stage Completion Certification system where a Certificate of Partial Completion could be issued as necessary to suit the particular circumstances. This certificate could be drafted to ensure that the partially completed / handed over section of the building has been provided with adequate Fire Detection, Emergency lighting, escape routes and access for fire fighting vehicles and ambulances together with safe disabled access.
Other Additional Comments
CIAT welcomes the intention of the Building Control Amendment Regulations to improve the standard of construction in Ireland, we have serious reservations as to the effectiveness of the legislation as it now stands as it creates a financial burden on clients wishing to construct a building, creates a time consuming administrative paper mountain, distracts the construction professionals from their core duties to create good building design and does little to protect the public. Also the Builder who controls construction on site is not adequately held responsible for the manner in which he constructs the building. We consider as indicated below that the legislation contained in the Building Control Amendment Regulations must be reconsidered and redrafted as necessary to address the various issues highlighted below.
Contractors have a requirement under Building Control Legislation (Section 16 of Building Control Act 1990) to build in accordance with the Building Regulations. Under the Regulations, contractors are only secondary certifiers of the completed building which leaves the Assigned Certifier to carry a greater share of the liability. This is considered to be unfair as the contractor is the one in control of work on site and the Assigned Certifier is only occassionally on site. It is important to note that an Assigned Certifier does not act as a site supervisor; this is a separate requirement over and above acting as the contract administrator. The Certificate of Completion must ensure that the,Contractor certifies that he has constructed the building in compliance with the Second Schedule of the Building Regulations in a similar manner to that stated by the Ancillary Certifier. Amend the Contractor certificate so that the contractor should carry a greater liability than the Assigned Certifier in the event of a non-compliance issue.
The contractor has a duty of care to point out to the Designer and correct any error in relation to the Second Schedule of the Building Regulations which he encounters in the construction drawings as supplied to him by the designer.
Under the current legislation he is required to certify that he has built in accordance with the information supplied to him and the second schedule of the Building Regulations.
The Contractor is the person in control of what actually happens on site and also has a duty to employ staff with adequate training and knowledge of the requirements of the Second Schedule of the Building Regulations.
This restriction and restraint placed upon competent professionals to practise under their own professional discipline has already had an effect on other building requirements and regulations, for example, the recently amended HIQA Confirmation of Compliance in respect of Fire Safety in Health Care Units which excludes all those who are not registered architects, engineers or building surveyors from completing these forms. To ensure fairness, open competition, right of the consumer/client to make an informed choice of those qualified to provide certification services, it is essential that Competent Architectural Technologists are included within a Statutory Register to act as Assigned Certifiers and Design Certifiers.
5. The BCMS must not become purely a tick box system it must actively generate site inspections by third party inspectors who have the power under the legislation to carry out unannounced site inspections and to instigate site closures and fines where they find serious breaches of the Building Regulations.For speed, financial or lack of knowledge reasons contractors will cut corners. Periodic site inspections carried out by the Designer or Assigned/Ancillary Certifier who is often employed by the contractor is not sufficient to deter poor quality construction. The threat of a site closure and consequential bad publicity would act as a strong deterrent in the prevention of poor construction.If the BCMS is seen as just a tick box procedure with no third party checking the documents submitted at Commencement Notice Stage and at Completion Stage, participants might become complacent and subsequently, the Regulations will not be fully complied with. A panel of suitably qualified professionals should be set up under the BCMS to carry out random inspections of sites. At least 25% of sites should be inspected by a third party appointed by the BCMS.,The documents submitted to the BCMS at the various stages in the process must be assessed by the Building Control Authority or a third party appointed by the Authority and any deficiency pointed out to the Assigned Certifier and amended accordingly.
Inspections should be carried out by suitably qualified, independent third party professionals, who are not employed by the building owner/developer, designer or contractor. 2D. Reference should be made to ISO/iIEC 17020:1998 (E) International Standard for various types of inspection. “A1 – The inspection body shall be independent of all parties involved. B1 The inspection body, and its staff responsible for carrying out the inspection shall not be the designer, manufacturer, supplier, installer or purchaser, owner, user or maintainer of the items which they inspect, nor the authorized representative of any of these parties. C1 The inspection body shall provide safeguards within the organisation to ensure adequate segregation of responsibilities and accountabilities in the provision of inspection services by organisation and/or documented procedures.”
Where there has been a breach of the Control Regulations or the Building Regulations which renders the Commencement Notice or Completion Certificate invalid, a method of correcting the situation must be available. The correction process could be subject to a financial penalty sufficiently high to deter sloppy procedures resulting in buildings which cannot ever be occupied because correct procedures have not been followed. A method must be introduced which allows for breaches to be rectified and certified in order to allow the building to be occupied.
It appears some Local Authorities are suggesting one or two generic drawings are adequate at Commencement Submission. This may be influenced by the limited amount of up-front information available (by virtue of programme demands) in scenario (a) above. It may also be influenced by an assumption by the LA that minimal information can be accepted at Commencement on the expectation that large amounts of information will be submitted later or at Completion. Need for advice note to Local Authorities on what is acceptable as appropriate amount of Commencement documentation.It is useful to consider two types of developments in this context:(a) A fast-track project (e.g, a large pharma building) might have only basic footprint / foundations designed at Commencement, the remainder of design to be developed while founds/substructures are progressing on site. In this case the initial submission of a limited amount of sub-structure info would be appropriate.(b) A fully designed scheme (e.g. a tendered office building or an apartment building) might have the majority of design completed at Commencement. In this case the submission of the full suite of information appropriate to outline compliance with Building Regs could be appropriate.
The BCMS must be capable of tracking the life of a building whose use may have changed a number of times in its life time or it may have been refurbished on a number of occasions with changes being made which may render the documents submitted with its original Commencement Notice & Completion Certificate out of date. The BCMS software must be capable of tracking a building’s history.
Those who employ the Assigned Certifier and the Design Certifier would be better protected if they took out Latent Defects Insurance Cover, than if they had to seek redress from the individual who signed the certificates. Introduce a requirement for the employer to take out a Latent Defect Insurance policy.
The BCMS system must be flexible enough to cover major complex buildings such as hospitals or large shopping centres which are often constructed in stages and also small domestic projects. Consider introducing two or three,levels of requirement to cater for the diversity of developments.
The BCMS must not become a burden on the construction industry by adding significantly to the cost of administering a construction project or adding to the construction period. The review of the BCMS must look to reduce any time consuming aspects of the process or the generation of unnecessary administration and record keeping. Paper trails will not produce better buildings.
Often it is the unskilled labourer on site who lays drains, fits dpcs etc. These individuals do not always have the knowledge or understanding to carry out this work.
In order to improve the standard of workmanship on site It is essential that all site staff are adequately trained.
As part of the Registration Process of Contractors they should have to confirm that all their site operatives carry a card confirming that they have attended a course which explains in detail the content of each of the Technical Guidance Documents. The presence of these cards on site could be checked by the third party inspectors suggested in 4 above.
Most if not all sub-contractors on site have an element of design in the work they carry out on site in order to ensure that their work complies with the relevant standards and specification required for the project. This is particularly true for specialists like Mechanical & electrical sub-contractors, structured glazing specialist and the like. The Assigned Certifier must rely on these specialists to certify that the element of the building which they have designed and installed is in compliance. As these specialist elements of buildings are very diverse and have specific codes and standards to adhere to the Assigned Certifier is in no position to question or adjudicate on their work.,An example which the Assigned Certifier could not possibly have known about or be responsible for is the shearing of bolts in the facade of the building known as the “Cheese Grater” in London.
It is unlikely that small mechanical or electrical sub-contractors working on domestic projects will be adequately insured to cover this risk.
The lack of suitable certification from specialist sub-contractors is likely to delay the lodgement of the Completion Certificates and so the occupation of the building.
It is essential that all specialist sub-contractors, with a design requirement in their element of the building, carry PI insurance.,It would be unfair to expect the Assigned Certifier to accept liability for an element of the building which has been designed and installed by a specialist.
This scenario emphasises the need for the owner to have adequate Defects Liability Insurance in place.
The current BCMS cannot cope with a fast-track project as very often required by multi-nationals; examples of this could be refurbishing a retail store or fitting out a retail store where the construction work is often carried out over a weekend with customers back in the building within three or four days. On these types of projects the contractor is generally ready to start on site immediately once the statutory applications have been granted.,The Irish Building Control System must not be seen to hold up such projects or add to their costs.,Multi-nationals will not tolerate delays or additional costs created by an unnecessary administrative procedure which does not benefit them in any way. There must be a fast track system to handle these types of projects.
It must be possible to upload Completion Certificates on to the BCMS. Having to deliver them by hand is time consuming particularly if the Assigned Certifier has to make a round trip of 200 or 300 km to deliver it. Time is money to very cash strapped construction professionals. Reduce the paper burden, introduce an improved on-line submission and compliance process.,This will help to make the process more efficient without the necessity to travel to submit documents, and improve file and archive management. This could be tracked within the submission to prevent any abuse of the process.
Errors will occur when Commencement Notices and associated information is being uploaded it must be possible for the Assigned Certifier to edit the information up-load easily rather than having to contact the BCMS authority and request them to make a change to the documents as submitted. The facility to edit the information submitted should be available to the Assigned Certifier for a set period of time after the initial uploading of information.
The current Fire Safety Certificate and Disability Access Certificate approval system operates successfully.,Any contravention of the Building Regulations as set out under Parts B & M of the Second Schedule of the Building Regulation is picked up and addressed at an early stage before any construction starts. This method of building control ensures that the designers are fully familiar with the relevant codes, design to a high standard of compliance and are assisted in the interpretation of the codes by the relevant Local Authority Building Control expert at design stage. A similar system could be set up for the other parts of the Second Schedule.
The Building Control Amendment Regulations as currently set out are very time consuming to administer, do little to protect the consumer other than add considerably to the cost of the construction or refurbishment of their building.
The,Assigned Certifier who has to certify the building is in compliance carries out periodic site inspections as set out in the inspection schedule. Considerable construction work will be carried out and covered up between his visits, yet he is considered responsible for the compliance,with Building Regulations, something he has little control over. The contractor is in control of the standard of workmanship on site and ensuring it complies with the Building Regulations and as such is in a better position to certify the works than the Assigned Certifier.
The contractor’s completion certificate wording leaves his liability rather vague.
The current certification system under SI 09 of 2014 does not address compliance with the Building Control Regulations other than insofar as they relate to the Second Schedule of the Building Regulations. There could be a situation where a house is being extended by more than 40 sqm or altered for use as sheltered accommodation, where a Fire Safety Certificate and Disability Access Certificate should have been sought, but have not been sought because the designer considers it to be a dwelling and therefore exempt from the requirement to seek these certificates. What happens in this scenario? Can the house ever be occupied?
There are building works which are exempt from the requirement to seek a Fire Safety Certificate and Disability Access Certificate (Part 111 Section (c) of SI 496 of 1997). Material Alterations under this section still have to comply with the Building Regulations. A six storey office building could be refurbished under this exemption and would then fall outside of the requirements of SI 09 2014. Theoretically you could have a hundred people working in this building with inadequate fire separation between compartments. Consider bringing the refurbishment of large office, retail and industrial developments under the amended legislation.
There are many developments which consist of several blocks being constructed simultaneously by the same contractor under a single contract.
Does each block come under a separate BCMS entry or does it cover the entire site?
These blocks may be for different uses and may be split up into different ownership at a later date and are likely to be completed and ready for occupation at different times.
Consider this scenario when reviewing this legislation.
Completion Certificates – Documents to attach to preliminary and final contracts
While Law Society guidance to its members or the actions of specific solicitors may be considered by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DOECLG) as outside of the area of its concern, it is noted that, if the introduction of legislation by DOECLG (in this case S I 09, 2014) creates a situation which leads to confusion around legal matters such as conveyancing, then it should be a DOECLG concern. DOECLG should assume some duty for dealing with this issue and should engage with the legal profession by issuing guidance or similar to ensure that this legislation introduced by DOECLG does not stifle the established process of conveyancing and does not create a confusion of varying and unreasonable documentation demands.
Apparently by virtue of the proliferation of documentation necessitated by S I 09 2014 it is understood that some solicitors have taken the view that the quantum of information to be made available to house purchasers (buying houses in multi-unit housing developments) should increase proportionally and are requesting a suite of information to be provided for preliminary contracts and thereby made available to all purchasers along the following lines:
The Inspection Plan
The Commencement Notice
The Certificate of Completion (Design)
The Notification of Assignment of Person to Inspect and Certify the Works (Assigned Certifier)
The Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by assigned Certifier)
The Notice of Assignment of Builder, and
The Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Builder)
etc………………………
If logical consideration is given to which documents relating to the 2014 Regulations should be provided or made available at pre-contract stage or should be included in the contract for sale documentation for normal house conveyancing, and if due regard is had to the documents attaching to conveyancing in pre-BCARs developments, the appropriate documents should be:
Commencement Notice (and Local Authority confirmation of Registration of this Notice)
Completion Certificate (and Local Authority confirmation of Registration of this Certificate).
Completion Certificates – Annexe document
Section 9(1)(b) of S.I. 9 defines the documents which must accompany a Commencement submission. The documents must OUTLINE compliance.
Section 12(3)(b) of S.I.9 defines the documents which must accompany a Completion submission. The Completion documents must continue to OUTLINE compliance. It is noted that the intention of S.I.09 appears to be that, if the building as completed does not differ from the building as illustrated in the OUTLINING documents submitted at Commencement, there should not be a requirement at Completion to AGAIN submit the same documents as were submitted,the Commencement,documents.
The process therefore appears to be that one uploads documentation at Commencement (and perhaps also during the course of the construction of the building/s if there are substantial changes) adequate to OUTLINE compliance and that, at the end of the project, only if there are changes which require substantial revisions to the documentation already uploaded (i.e to the already uploaded OUTLINING drawings etc) additional OUTLINING info should be uploaded with the Completion Notice.
S.I. 09 does not require uploading of those drawings “subsequently used for the construction” of the building/s. In addition, and in relation to any documentation to be submitted, S.I. 09 uses the term “outline” compliance. It does not use the term “demonstrate” compliance
The ANNEX must be immediately altered to a wording which accurately reflects and follows the requirement of the S.I which it supports and which does not open the potential for Local Authorities at Completion stage to demand copious drawings and details over and above those required to outline compliance with the Building Regulations.
This misunderstanding is now exacerbated by Consultant Information Document No 1 as follows:
Page 8 of this document states that a Commencement Notice must be accompanied by:
“….General Arrangement Drawings” Page 8 does not mention that the drawings uploaded at Commencement are to “outline” compliance and gives the impression that such “outlining” drawings make their first appearance at Completion.
Page 9 states that the Completion Certificate must be accompanied by:
“….plans and documentation showing how the completed building complies with the requirements of the Building Regulations”
The drawings to accompany Completion Submissions should “outline” compliance. If there has been no change since the Commencement submission there should not be,a requirement to submit further drawings at Completion. A standard must be set for what information must be uploaded on the BCMS at both Commencement Stage and Completion Stage and this standard must be adhered to throughout out all Local Authorities. All the relevant statutory documentation must be coordinated to avoid confusion and differing standards being requested by Local Authorities.

Other posts in this series:

BC(A)R SI.9 Submission Series No 1: ‘Self-Build issues’ | IAOSB

BC(A)R SI.9 Submission Series No 2: ‘12 Point Plan to fix S.I.9’ | UCD

BC(A)R SI.9 Submission Series No 3: The Legal Environment and Consumer Protection | Deirdre Ní Fhloinn

BC(A)R SI.9 Submission Series No 4: Proposal for a Better System

Other posts of interest:

CALL OUT FOR SUBMISSIONS | SI9 Annual Review

Minister Kelly warns Engineers to expect further changes | EI Conference

DEADLINE TODAY | make your submission to the review of Building Control

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *