Cost of “Self-Certification” | Surveyors & Architects Fees


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
  • 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:

Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness Report recommends Building Control Changes

BC(A)R SI.9 has added + 5% to Residential Costs | SCSI / DKM

RIAI ALERT: Inspection Fees for House Extensions

RIAI President | “2 – 3 million hours a year to inspect new house building”

BCAR “is estimated to add about €25,000 to the cost of each home” | Ronan Lyons

Regulations add up to €60k to house cost | Karl Deeter

CIC | Construction Industry Council or Construction Industry Conflicts [of Interest]

Dáil | Minister Kelly may take steps to control SI.9 ‘exorbitant charges’

Why did Phil Hogan think SI.9 would cost less than €3000 ?

Revoke S.I.9 – Fine Gael internal report to Phil Hogan in 2013 (3 of 4)

Press piece: professionals “engaging in financial extortion” says Hogan

“Want to hear vested interests squeal and throw tantrums?” | Karl Deeter

2 thoughts on “Cost of “Self-Certification” | Surveyors & Architects Fees

  1. Michael O'Neill

    Reply to Cost of “Self-Certification” – Surveyors & Architects Fees

    I refer to the article wherein it says:
    “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.”

    The article goes on to list 26 Design Team roles which must be carried out to build compliantly

    It goes on to state:
    “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.”

    It seems quite clear that professionals are expected to absorb additional fee costs in the range of thousands to protect the profit margins of developers and contractors which are in the tens of thousands range. Why are SCSI cheerleading this? They are professionals too. But I digress.

    Politicians protect the interests of their financial supporters. There is no difference between any of the parties who have been in government. In this case we are talking about a subset called the developers.

    Does anyone doubt this?

    Whenever we have seen lax regulation – the banks and the construction industry – it seems corruption follows. But to believe this is to miss the whole point – corruption actually PRECEDES – first it sets up the lax regulation regime

    These things are planned in advance by the agents and advisors of the people who benefit from the foreseeable consequences. In the present case it is entirely foreseeable that self-certification would become compromised over time as it has done.

    Even today we do not have a full status assessment of all of the non-compliant properties built in the State. I include properties not in compliance with good planning practice, as well, eg houses on flood plains. This assessment should have been compiled by the same government which should have controlled the banks

    The truth is that our government does not work for the people, it works for its wealthy supporters, the Oligarchs of the Building Industry. This is why recent changes suggest that the electorate will be excluded from the planning process to speed up the deliver of more housing estates.


    MORE badly built houses that fail to take account of their location, their neighbours, local infrastructure and services, shops and schools and whether they are built on a sliding bog or a flood plain?

    We don’t need ANY MORE houses like this!!
    We have plenty, thanks!!!

  2. Michael O'Neill

    At the risk of monopolizing the debate, I will venture a second comment

    I refer to this article in the Irish Times from yesterday

    ‘Terry Sheridan, head of planning policy in the Department of Housing, told the conference that the Bord Pleanála measure would be temporary – until 2019 with, “at most”, a two-year extension.
    “It is a radical proposal,” he said, “but we are facing quite a serious, dire situation in relation to housing shortage. In situations like that, radical solutions are often required.” ‘

    Radical proposal
    Dire situation
    Radical solution

    Its all very dramatic isn’t it?

    The Head of Planning Policy in the Department of Housing speaks his mind. Such as it is.

    Yet previously in the same article we learn

    ‘ “In the Dublin area there is the potential to deliver over 46,000 homes on zoned lands with essential services already in place; 33,000 units have permission and another 7,000 are in the planning process. Clearly, the issue is not the granting of permission .” ‘

    This comment came from the President of the Irish Planning Institute Deirdre Fallon.

    Yet Terry Sheridan, head of planning policy in the Department of Housing no less, is front-running with this proposal to erode democracy.

    It seems his mind is not concerned with building those houses that already have permission.

    Why is that?

    Why is Head of Planning Policy in the Department of Housing – no small fry this guy – apparently shilling for MORE permissions to suit some nameless developers who presumably do NOT own the 30,000 houses ALREADY PERMITTED or the 7,000 currently under process?

    This is the core of what is wrong with the Irish Building Industry today.
    False DIRE situations leading the way to prepared RADICAL proposals.
    Erosion of the rights of the electorate to satisfy the whims of the Oligarchs

    And make no mistake these whims will not last for two years only. This is the thin end of a wedge to undermine democracy in favour of fascist capitalism

    This is where the State and Big Business jump into bed together to spawn profits and backhanders for the very few, at the expense of the very many – those consumers that Capitalism is supposed to serve and Government is supposed to protect.

    Let me state clearly once again –

    “The truth is that our government does not work for the people, it works for its wealthy supporters, the Oligarchs of the Building Industry. This is why recent changes suggest that the electorate will be excluded from the planning process to speed up the delivery of more housing estates.”

    This establishment of pre-emptive rights for the very few is the rot at the heart of Irish business and society today. We have replaced our British Absentee Landlords with Irish and Transnational corporations and their agenda is the same. Get the little guy out of the way and screw the population at large to make the most profit you can.

    Where do our professional bodies – apart from the IPI – stand on this?
    The upholders of standards in professional life seem very quiet.
    Professionals stay silent.
    Money talks.


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