How many inspections does a build need ? Mark Stephens MRIAI

The following article is from Mark Stephens Architect and his excellent blog here (originally posted on 8th December 2016).

How many inspections does a build need ?

I’ve written about this subject previously HERE and the key part and precedent mentioned in this post is:

“It is held that an architect is entitled to use his judgement as to how frequently he inspects:

“…He may in such circumstances think that he knows the builder sufficiently well and can rely on him to carry out a good job…It may be that the omission of the Architect to find the defect was due to no more than error of judgement, or was a deliberately calculated risk which, in all circumstances of the case, was reasonable and proper” East Ham Corporation v Bernard Sunley (1966)”

The key word here is “risk”; on every job it is the architect (and now the Assigned Certifiers) responsibility to undertake a risk assessment on the following prior to calculating how many inspections will be required (bear in mind this number can vary depending on how the project progresses in line with the risk assessment). It is the exact same risk assessment that a Building Control Officer in the UK makes to work out how many inspections are required to check compliance.

  • Type and scope of project
  • Complexity of project
  • Skill and experience of builder
  • Skill and experience of architect/Assigned Certifier
    nb this list isn’t exhaustive

But what has been interesting over the last year now that we’ve been using BCRComply Software (opens in new window) for logging and documenting our inspections is that what I’ve described above is exactly happening.

Projects where the builder knows exactly what they are doing and understands the principles of Building Regulations compliance require a lot fewer visits (in one example just over 10) than the builder who is struggling with for example insulation and airtightness detailing and other Building Regulation Compliance issues (in one example over 20 visits at just over half way).

In either case it is impossible for me to undertake the level of inspection required in accordance with the Code of Practice for the figures that are currently being bandied about (€1000 was one example)!

For more information on inspections and Assigned Certifier issues I suggest going to the BRegsForum

Comments, as always, welcome…

Other posts of interest:

Garland Consulting Engineers | Are third party Design Certifiers compliant?

Ten Point Plan for Building Control Regulations | Mark Stephens MRIAI

Which Dublin GE16 Candidates Favour Independent Building Inspections? Dublin Inquirer

Collins & O Cofaigh- A BETTER way: BC(A)R SI.9 Solutions

Building Control Inspections should be independent | RIAI

How much would 100% independent inspections by Local Authorities cost?

SI.9 – Problems with BCMS Inspection Plans | Barry Kelly MRIAI

Pyrite: the spiraling cost of no Local Authority Inspections

Practical Post 9: Fees & numbers of inspections? BC(A)R SI.9

UK + Ireland | take a quick trip to Holyhead with Breg Blog…

Completion Certificates for Multi-unit Housing

BCMS Completion Stage | No Ancillary Certificates required!

‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly

SI.9 completion stage and the BCMS | Clouds are gathering!

1 thought on “How many inspections does a build need ? Mark Stephens MRIAI

  1. Michael Tweed

    The Building Regulations are issued by the State and no one questions the fact that the financial burden for formulating, updating, publishing and disseminating the Building Regulations is borne by the State. The Building Regulations are statements of intent for the common good, using vague terms such as “adequate” and “reasonable” without actual definition as to what constitutes “adequate” or “reasonable”. The principle behind drafting Building Regulations in this way was that, by way of only minor amendments, the statements could remain generally the same over time. At any given time the State’s definitions of “adequate” and “reasonable” are given in the Technical Guidance Documents which they produce again through State funding. Since the State’s definition are likely to be regarded in the courts as providing the best protection to the safety and well being of the community, surely it should therefore be the State’s responsibility to ensure compliance with their interpretation, and by extension the cost of ensuring compliance should be State financed, through Local Government Building Control Departments.
    It defies logic to think that asking the client body to pay for the policing their own actions will ensure full compliance of the Building Regulations. The client body has a vested interest in completing a project to their financial advantage and in our capitalist democracy there is deemed to be absolutely nothing wrong with such a desire. But it is simply stupid for anyone to believe that a regulator employed by the client body, regardless of what you call that regulator, and regardless of all the legislation describing their name, their qualifications, their function and their powers, will not at some stage bow to pressure and be overruled by their employer. It is ONLY if the regulator is totally independent and an officer of the State that the power to fully enforce compliance with the Building Regulations will be achieved. Back in the days of Building Bye Laws compliance was in the main achieved. We should look back and remember.
    We, the citizens of the State, need to accept that it is in our own best interests that part of our taxes have to be directed towards the creation of robust, properly resourced Local Government Building Control Departments who will be the sole arbiters of compliance with Building Regulations.
    Once that happens all these questions as to how many inspections an architect should make, who should be qualified to be Assigned Certifiers, the responsibility of the Design Certifier etc, will disappear. And in the process the burden of separate applications for separate parts of the Building Regulations (the FSC and the DAC) will disappear and be amalgamated into a single Building Regulations approval submission – just like the days of Building Bye Laws! Better still, the general public will get proper consumer protection!
    Local Government approval of the construction design will improve the standard of construction design. Local Government inspection of building work will improve the standard of building work.
    This would be a win-win situation!


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