RIAI Reversal on BC(A)R?

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11th October 2016

It would appear that there is a hardening of opinion of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) with regard to its position on BC(A)R SI.9.  At a recent AGM on 8th September 2016, RIAI representatives while speaking about BC(A)R informed attendees that“…there are problems for liability with the wording of the certificates” .  

Opponents of BC(A)R see this as a major U-turn in RIAI policy when previous attempts to highlight certifier liability were dismissed by the RIAI executive and other professional body stakeholders.   This has not yet been formally advised to RIAI members in any official communication.  

In an open letter from an RIAI Past President to the current incumbent questions are being asked as to why it took the RIAI so long to realise this and why the hesitancy in informing RIAI members and the broader profession and industry (See PDF of letter here: RIAI-president-letter-210916).  

The letter-writer, RIAI Past President and former member of the Department’s Building Regulations Advisory Board (BRAB) and an authority on Building Control,  Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI, said:

“It is time to acknowledge that BC(A)R is and has been a disaster for the profession, in terms of ongoing open-ended liability, in terms of lowly-paid workload for those who feel obliged to provide the service – including those practices using fees from Certifier roles to trade their way back from near-insolvency.  Listing BC(A)R in the middle of a long list of concerns is the opposite of openness and cannot bring any fresh start…

Putting the Members’ concerns at the heart of RIAI activity involves, firstly, acknowledging openly to the membership, and then facing up to, the damage done and still being done to architects by BC(A)R.  The recent publication of new Architect/Client agreements is welcome, but the failure to take on board the concerns which a number of us articulated in Merrion Square at a day-long workshop now already two years ago is incomprehensible.  The Institute’s job is to protect its own members. This is not happening. The BC(A)R problems are being ignored…

Furthermore, the continuing absence of any advice to or support for those members who realize that the roles of Assigned Certifier and Design Certifier carry intolerable risk and who refuse to engage in the roles confirms the belief among many members, the writer included, that the Institute’s main objective is to support BC(A)R in its present form rather than oppose it…

The CEO [Kathryn Meghen] invited feedback from the Membership on tasks which need to be done. Well, one urgent set of tasks is to support those Members who want nothing to do with the BC(A)R Certifier roles.  What about a set of BoQ and specification clauses to have this task priced by the tendering contractors and built into the Preliminaries?  This would get our clients a good price for same, as it would be part of a competitive tender.  What about a set of letters to clients to explain why we are not doing these roles and proposing alternatives?  My office has such preliminaries and such letters.  I am willing to lead a RIAI BC(A)R workgroup, to share them with colleagues with a view to pooling wisdom, and to look at all ways to support colleagues who so wish, on condition that this has Institute endorsement and support.  I made the offer already in April 2014. I repeat it. I await the call.”

JPEG of letter:

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Other posts of interest:

FURTHER ALERT | CIF + RIAI Contracts

Ancillary Certificates -Why on earth would you want to sign that?

Housing crisis and building inspection | Eoin O’Cofaigh

One year on: Reflections on the Building Control Amendment Regulations (SI.9 of 2014) | Michael Collins FRIAI

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations – One Year On | Eoin O Cofaigh FRIAI

RIAI | Village Magazine Again!

Local Authority Staff: Questions on assuming the ‘Design Certifier’ role | Eoin O’Cofaigh

Q + A: Local Authorities and Building Control Regulations | Eoin O’Cofaigh

SI 365 of 2015: A good start | Collins + O’Cofaigh

Engineers Ireland Journal | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI Ancillary Certificates + Self-certification

Collins & O’Cofaigh | “the 38 steps” and the complexity of our regulations

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

RIAI ALERT: Inspection Fees for House Extensions

RIAI Past Presidents Paper #4 | The Contradiction at the Heart of the Building Regulations

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