When life gives you lemons… BCAR & PIP’s


by Bregs Blog 10 March 2016

After two years of BCAR many owners and their design teams are left wondering how to determine a Project Inspection Plan (PIP), and more significantly how much to pay an Assigned Certifier to carry it out.

Bregs Blog has recently received more than one report of multi-unit housing inspections being charged at €500 per unit. That’s not the fee per inspection, that’s the going rate per apartment in some areas for a full inspection and certification service that might cover months of construction as well as a final certification that makes the signatory the one-stop-shop for future defects. At the other extreme, we have heard of design professionals charging between 2- 3% (equivalent to av. €4,000 for a typical 2- bed apartment) to undertake rigourous inspections with all of the required sub-certification and testing. Is it any wonder that the market is so uncertain?

In the latest issue of Architecture Ireland (285) architect Donal O’Donoghue, in conversation with RIAI Practice Director Joe Miller spells out his own approach:

“The initial inspection plans were comprehensive spreadsheets which included a vast amount of information, ranging from quality control issues to certification requirements… The document demanded a huge amount of time to keep current. The question is whether this is what an inspection plan should be” he goes on to describe how his practice Coady Architects interpret the requirements and he lists five milestone BCAR meetings (Substructure, superstructure, envelope completions, first fix completions and second fix completions). His practice procedure is to link this to contract payments, although not all Assigned Certifiers can do this, depending on the contract for the job.

In the absence of any national standard for construction inspections, every practice is devising their own system and procedures. This means there is no level playing pitch and in some areas the race to the bottom seems to have started. Inevitably, this means that architects and engineers who price the job appropriately can be undercut by someone else who proposes a fraction of the inspections for a fraction of the fee. It is up to every individual Assigned Certifier to decide his/her own programme of building inspections, the amount of time on site and the fee that is charged for full certification.

The current RIAI PROJECT INSPECTION PLAN & THE ALTERNATIVE INSPECTION PLAN USED BY COADY ARCHITECTS (mentioned above) are available in the members section of the RIAI website. Other versions are listed below (click on title):

Building Surveyor 2014 (33 inspections)

Building Surveyor Inspection  Sheet: 

Northern Ireland architect 2014 (9 inspections) 

Engineers Journal / RIAI 2014 (13 inspections) 

RIAI 2015 (6 inspections) €6485 + VAT 

DECLG 2015 (5 inspections) €3,090 + VAT 

Other information of interest:

FINAL- RIAI BCAR Code of Practice 2015- 16 Jan 2016

1 thought on “When life gives you lemons… BCAR & PIP’s

  1. Raymond

    At €500 per apartment, there must be a minimum number of apartments required for AC to provide that rate.
    So if there were 10 apartments per floor of a 6 storey complex. All apartment per floor would be at the same construction stage at each visit, so AC would inspect 10 apartments per visit.
    While the fee sounds ridiculously low, it might be viable on large apartment developments where one AC secures exclusive certification of the whole development of 100 plus apartments.


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