DECLG Information Note | SI.365 of 2015

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03 September 2014

Revisions to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations SI. 365 of 2015 were published by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG) on 1st September 2015. In the DECLG press release, Minister Paudie Coffey noted “An Information Note for owners of new dwellings and extensions who opt out of statutory certification for building control purposes has been published on the Department’s website to assist people in understanding and complying with building control requirements and is available here.”

A pdf of the information note that accompanied publication of the SI. 365 may be accessed and/or downloaded here: SI.365 Information Note

Some key points* from the information note:

‘Alternative Process’: The most recent amendment to the Building Control Regulations 1997 to 2015 provides owners of new single dwellings, on a single development unit, and domestic extensions with an alternative process: The key difference involves the facility to opt out of the requirement to obtain statutory certificates reliant on the services of a registered construction professional.

‘Opt Out Procedure’: “A homeowner who wishes to avail of this facility must sign a form of “Declaration of Intention to Opt Out of Statutory Certification” which may be obtained online via the BCMS (Building Control Management System) or from the local building control authority”

‘Fees’: Homeowners should be aware of the Sample Preliminary Inspection Plan which is published on the Department’s website that outlines the typical hourly service required from construction professionals. Fees charged by professionals may vary. (Note DECLG estimate a cost of €3,090 + VAT for Certification services that “opt-in” to statutory certification [SI.9], Link: here

‘Commencement Notice’: “the submission of a Commencement Notice allows the local authority to assess which projects should be subject to risk-based inspections as typically undertaken on at least 12-15% of validly commenced building units, in line with its statutory function of monitoring building activity in general within its geographic area . Inspection by local building control authorities remains a prospect for homeowners, irrespective of whether or not a homeowner opts out of the statutory certification provisions”

‘Reasonable Investment’: “Homeowners should weigh up carefully the implications of a decision to opt out of the statutory certification process. The cost associated with engaging the services of a registered construction professional for design, inspection and certification purposes is likely to be a key consideration. It is worth bearing in mind that a reasonable investment in the design, inspection and certification of works will pay dividends in terms of delivering a quality, compliant building”

Insurances’: “Homeowners who commission works should generally satisfy themselves as to the adequacy of the insurances held by contractors or professionals they may wish to consider engaging: Often the level and scope of insurance cover held by other parties to a construction project will have a bearing on the willingness or otherwise of other industry practitioners to become involved”

‘Further Information’: Any queries in relation to this information leaflet or building control matters in general should be directed to the Architecture/Building Standards Section of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government by emailing buildingstandards@environ.ie or by contacting your local building control authority.

*The information above does not purport to be a legal interpretation of SI.365. BRegs Blog readers are advised to seek professional advice or advice from their respective professional organisations before taking any action in relation to the above information.

Other posts of interest:

Breaking News! | SI.9 Revisions Published

SI.9 Review Announcement | 9/1 Update

Minister Coffey announces changes to BC(A)R SI.9

“Major Reform of Building Regulations” (sic) | Minister Alan Kelly

“How do we work this, Minister?”

“Thank you, Minister!” | Registered Architect

RIAI Response | Ministerial Review SI.9

First Responders | Engineers Ireland criticise proposed SI.9 reforms

4 thoughts on “DECLG Information Note | SI.365 of 2015

  1. Dara O'Connell

    I think one of the key points omitted from the blog (above), re SI 365 2015, is that the information note issued by the DECLG states:

    ‘Prior to deciding on whether or not to avail of the opt out option, it is recommended that a homeowner should consult with their solicitor.’

    Ominous, in my opinion. Why the advice/need to consult a solicitor? What do the DECLG foresee as the potential ‘implications’ of ‘opt out’?

    Reply
    1. BRegs Admin Post author

      Good point and thanks for raising the issue. Fewer than 4,000 homes have been completed with new SI9 Completion Certificates, a tiny fraction of Irish housing stock (CSO estimate 1.6m existing houses total). The Law Society have well established procedures for non-SI9 conveyancing that everyone knows and one would think that there is no reason to change anything under SI. 365 that would delay or add cost and bureaucracy for homebuyers. The systems with professional industry-standard documentation are already there.

      There is therefore no reason to believe that property values would be affected by the ‘opt out’ provisions of SI.365 at this point. All buyers can commission an independent inspection to look at a a new home before they buy- as has always been the case and is recommended good practice.

      The Bregs Blog will publish any guidance that the Law Society Conveyancing Committee publishes in coming weeks.

      Reply
  2. Phil

    Now that a definition has been provided for Total Floor Area, you can stop the “waiting for an answer about the rules for domestic extensions” clock

    Reply
  3. Ciarán

    Interesting note from RIAI Steering Group to members today – includes the following advice:

    “Members are cautioned against advising Clients to opt out until such time as an alternative is in place. Liability for such advice may arise if conveyance or value related problems surface at a later stage. Architects may be asked to sign certificates written by the banks – experience indicates that these may be more onerous than those in S.I.9”

    Reply

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