6th October 2016
In a recent today FM radio programme Minister Simon Coveney mentioned a costing completed by key stakeholder the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland (SCSI) for the cost of building a typical house. This costing was submitted to the Oireachtas Committee on Homelessness and Housing earlier this year. The SCSI projected total cost for building a typical 3 bedroom house currently is €330,000 (see link here). Some have queried this given that there are many new houses on sale in the Dublin region for less than this figure.
The SCSI include professional fees of €5,500 and industry sources have suggested that the amount included for Building Control (Amendment) Regulations SI.9 costs is just €1,000. This also appears to contradict another SCSI Report that found that BCAR regulatory procedures have added up to 5% to all construction costs for increased specifications, extra administration, financing of project delays etc (see here).
Professional fees are paid to designers and technical advisors. Depending on the size, complexity and location of the project, here’s a non-exhaustive list of persons involved in a 50-80 unit multi-unit project. These are all design appointments and exclude costs associated with financing delays, contract administration, co-ordination of sub-contractors etc.:
Design Team roles for Multi-unit Residential project
- Land Reg / Land surveyor
- Quantity surveyor
- Structural engineer
- Mechanical and electrical engineer
- Project manager
- Civil engineer for SUDS and drainage*
- Traffic engineer
- Landscape architect
- Architectural Technologist and Technician
- Town planning consultant
- Photomontage/ 3D consultant
- Professional Legal Fees (for part Part V negotiations)
- Agent/Valuer fees (for part Part V negotiations)
- Health + Safety project supervisor (design process)*
- Health + Safety project supervisor (construction stage)*
- Design certifier*
- Assigned certifier*
- Ancillary certifiers (engineers, specialist consultants)*
- Sub-contractors ancillary certifiers (glazing, services, insulation etc)*
- Building Energy Rating Assessor*
- fRSi specialist
- Acoustic consultant and acoustic testing
- CPR2013 administrator to record all materials used
- Facade consultant (if required)
- Registered Passive House Designer (if required)
- Interior designer for show flat, if you want this
Note: *statutory appointment
The SCSI estimate of fees appears to be significantly at odds with that of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), another key stakeholders involved in the formation of BCAR SI9.
The RIAI estimate that the Assigned Certifier role for a €200,000 (excl. VAT) residential extension project requires an additional 85 hours on top of standard architectural services, approximately €7,841* for Assigned Certifier statutory inspection duties (incl. VAT). This excludes other BCAR fees such as Design Certifier or other Ancillary Certifiers (services and structural engineers), defensive specification costs, increased testing, thermal modeling, contractors additional costs for administration, delays/ increased financing costs, insurance or other sub-contractor design and ancillary certification costs.
The discrepancy may be explained by the fact that architects are doing the work but surveyors know what builders are prepared to pay- and that is only €1,000 per house, the going rate for ‘visual-only’ opinions on compliance during the boom.
In November 2015 former RIAI president Robin Mandal confirmed that the onerous paperwork of the BCAR system would take between 2-3 million hours to administer for main certifier roles only in a normal functioning housing sector. This will be a huge drain on expertise in a sector currently experiencing a skills shortage. Industry experts have noted that the all-in costs of BCAR are a multiple of professional fees- up to €25,000 per apartment in a multi-unit scheme and over €50,000 for a single dwelling (should single dwelling owners ‘opt-in’ to BCAR procedures).
Northern Ireland has a highly-efficient 100% independent Local Authority Building Control inspection system with just 40 full-time state inspectors which is self-funded, no cost to state or industry.
Earlier this year the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homeless Report recommended to “Introduce a pilot scheme regarding the operation of the building control regulations and the related system of certification to establish if a model of building control similar to that used in the UK could result in a substantial reduction in the cost of building control and inspection” (see here).
Despite this all-party committee recommendation and conflicting estimates as to the cost of BCAR SI.9, there is currently no plan to review the impact on the Housing Programme and the effectiveness of these onerous administrative building control procedures introduced in 2014.
Other posts of interest: