Ministers Paudie Coffey (l) and Alan Kelly (r)
24 August 2015
Dear BRegs Forum Blog,
As a Registered architect writing from the North-West I want to say that if the Minister delivers on his announcements about changing the building control regulations, my clients and I will be very grateful. The changes he is talking about can provide perfectly good regulation of “self-build” houses and one-off house extensions.
If I am no longer forced to provide “Assigned Certifier” services to my house clients, this means I do not have to do a pile of work for which I cannot get paid properly. I can escape the horrendous liability and insurance hikes in signing these certificates on behalf of everyone else involved in the building process. The situation is then back to the way it was before March 1st 2014. I am happy to compete with non-architects, because we operate in different market segments. Armani is not Dunnes, and everybody can be happy. I will continue to select only the best builders and I am confident that I will supervise my projects in accordance with my professional obligations. I don’t mind a building control officer looking over our shoulders once in a while.
My clients never wanted these regulations and don’t need them. They can save money for paper they did not want and can invest it in concrete, steel, energy renewables and good design.
The local authority can inspect as often as they wish, just like they do across the border, and there are no problems there!
I do not understand the shouting from the Engineers, CIF and RIAI. To say “250 older people die from falls in their homes each year and a further 7,000 require hospital treatment with an average stay of 12 days” and imply building control regulations would stop these deaths and injuries is nonsense*. The dogs that older people fall and break their hips over will not be regulated out of existence by SI.9.
Good news for me personally is I may no longer need to pay professional subscriptions for all my staff just to do our job. I can fill out my clients’ Commencement Notices and have them validated as I previously did before March 1st 2014. And every tradesman won’t have to pay to be on a toothless register. Is loss of captive income the real reason behind the opposition of these vested interests to the changes?
Now if the Minister would go further and equip Local Authorities to inspect all projects and not just the current 15% target, that would be a real advance to a proper system of building control. Competent professionals and builders will welcome it.
Anyway, thank you Minister for the promise of a good start. Get the local authorities to inspect every one-off house. My clients will be happy, they will save money, and I can sleep easier in my bed while not having to do ineffective loss-leader work.
(name and contact details with BRegs Blog Admin.Team)
* CIF are the Construction Industry Federation, RIAI are the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland. The author refers to an Irish Times Letter to the Editor of 19th August 2015- see link here