Builders may soon be forced to join a register to prove they’re competent | Journal

07 June 2017

The Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) was launched by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) three years ago with the promise that it would “try to distinguish legitimate construction companies/ sole traders from those who have given the industry a bad name” (see link here). The Register is to be put on a statutory basis in coming weeks by Minister Simon Coveney and means that all builders and sub-contractors will have to be vetted by CIRI/ CIF and pay an annual charge of €600 ex vat. There are currently 30+ categories of registration (e.g. house builder, plasterer, civil engineering contractor). Link to CIRI here. The register could have a potential membership of over 50,000.

This is another ‘plank’ in the Government policy of self-regulation of the construction industry. Commentators and the media have noted the apparent conflict of interest of private representative membership organisation (or lobby group) being tasked with policing their own members, and the perception by Consumer groups and opposition politicians that that there is little in the way of enhanced consumer protections in a privately-owned and operated contractors’ register of competence. The following article in Journal.ie explores the proposed register (full article here:). Extract:

“Irish builders may soon be forced to join a register to prove they’re competent”

THE BODY REPRESENTING Irish builders has welcomed plans to make it a legal requirement for companies in the industry to sign up to a register in order to prove their competence.

The government has announced that it has approved the drafting and publication of the Building Control (Construction Industry Register Ireland) Bill 2017.

The aim of the bill is to make joining the Construction Industry Register Ireland mandatory for building firms.

The register was set up three years ago by Construction Industry Federation (CIF) the with the aim of allowing people to easily identify reputable building firms. So far, companies join on a voluntary basis.

Under the current process, businesses joining the register must show that they have tax clearance and insurance.

They are required to demonstrate practical experience of working in construction – “generally for a period of no less than three years” – and show knowledge of the industry’s laws and regulations.

“Applicants must outline details of a minimum of three projects demonstrating their construction experience,” the CIF said.

The register covers a range of professions “from builders and building services contractors to specialist contractors”, according to the organisation.

A CIF spokeswoman said that entry to the register “will be open to all builders, whether sole traders, partnerships or registered companies, who can demonstrate that they are competent to carry out works in the category for which they are seeking to register”.

The register was established in consultation with the Department of the Environment.

Public confidence 

Earlier this year, Housing and Planning Minister Simon Coveney told the CIF Cork construction annual dinner that he was committed to drafting the bill to make joining the register mandatory.

“This is seen as an additional essential consumer protection measure giving consumers who engage a registered builder the assurance that they are dealing with a competent and compliant operator,” he said at the time.

“I see (the register) as an important and necessary step in restoring public confidence and trust in the construction sector given the legacy of the building failures that came in the wake of the construction-related economic collapse.”

Speaking today, he said that the purpose of the Bill “is to provide for a mandatory statutory register of builders, contractors and specialist sub-contractors.”

“Subject to a limited number of exceptions, a builder will only be permitted to carry out building works in respect of which he or she is registered.

CIF director of housing and planning Hubert Fitzpatrick said that putting the register on a statutory footing “will mean that only competent builders can secure registration”.

“It is not acceptable that a person or company without adequate training or experience can portray themselves as a builder to the public,” he said.

He added that members of the public should only engage with builders who are signed up to the register.

Other posts of interest:

Complaint Procedures & Construction Industry Register? | Look Back 19

Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) to be made mandatory

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?

‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly

Imminent changes to SI.9 announced | Minister Alan Kelly T.D.

SI.9 causing major delays to school projects

Iaosb letter to Minister Kelly – Revoke or Revise S.I.9

RIAI Past Presidents Paper #1 | The Building Regulations and Consumer protection

S.I.9 – Where are we now? 27 October 2014

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

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

€ 5 billion | The extraordinary cost of S.I.9 self-certification by 2020

5 Posts every builder must read- BC(A)R SI.9

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders?

4 thoughts on “Builders may soon be forced to join a register to prove they’re competent | Journal

  1. Michael Tweed

    Registers for builders, architects, engineers etc are absolutely no guarantee for the consumer that buildings will be compliant with the Building Regulations. The CIF state themselves that their register is there to “try to distinguish legitimate construction companies from those who have given the industry a bad name.” How does that help the consumer when for example McNamara’s would have been deemed by most to be a “legitimate construction company” yet look at Longboat Quay, (Granted McNamaras contend that they constructed a compliant building). It’s not whether a company (or architect, or engineer, etc) is legitimate, but how competent they are and how well they can understand, implement and comply with the Building Regulations. And none of the registration bodies are going to police that on each project! The builders, architects, and engineers are still left to themselves to self-certify, even under BC(A)R. There is only one conclusion to draw from the political reluctance to accept the blindingly obvious, that statutory independent building control approvals and inspections are the ONLY way forward to protect the consumer and that is that the right wing ideology of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail of low taxation dictates that the cost of such Building Control is too much. How much is it worth to ensure proper building standards through proper independent building control?

    Reply
  2. Andrew Alexander MRIAI

    ““I see (the register) as an important and necessary step in restoring public confidence and trust in the construction sector given the legacy of the building failures that came in the wake of the construction-related economic collapse.”

    The economic collapse was an economic and financial collapse and not a construction compliance collapse. The failures of the past and current building control regimes are independent of the financial meltdown of the country and any such link should not be inferred by the Minister, except in so far as the construction lobby lost its political influence and ceased to be a source of political party funding for a period.

    Many hardworking and skilled people within the construction industry lost their jobs and suffered greatly (to the tune of 50% unemplyment in the architectural profession for example) – I don’t recall hearing of any such occurances in the field of financial regulation.

    Reply
  3. Michael O'Neill

    http://cif.ie/news-feed/news/380-ciri-construction-industry-register-ireland.html

    A builder joining a register to show he is competent is as useful as someone joining a library to show he can read.

    This current rush to join Registers in the building Industry in Ireland is presumably to offer assurances to the public is a distraction at best and a cover up of criminal negligence at worst

    Only a review of the builders past work can show whether the builder is competent or not

    But wait, what have we here

    “They must adhere to an industry code of ethics and commitments.
    They must demonstrate that they have construction competence and experience generally for a period of no less than three years.
    They must be tax compliant.
    All members of CIRI must commit to undertaking continuous professional development (CPD).
    Everyone on the register must comply with the health and safety regulations relating to the construction industry.
    They must have a knowledge and understanding of the latest building standards and regulations and commit to adhering to them.
    They must undertake an induction training course.”

    Where did this come from?

    “Following a request from the Government, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has been working on establishing a new register of construction companies and sole traders.”

    ANOTHER SELF-POLICING INDUSTRY? LIKE BANKING? BECAUSE ITS WORKED SO WELL IN THE PAST????

    This can only be carried out by an independent inspectorate

    It is clear from the information assembled by the Building Regs Blog and other NGOs that suppliers, manufacturers, assemblers, sub-contractors and main contractors all have cases to answer in relation to whether or not they are competent in their work.

    Their work in Ireland over the past fifteen years denies this

    Project managers share this blame, for forcing unrealistic timescales onto contractors to justify their percentage

    Clients share the blame in this too, by accepting tenders that are too low, making incompetent decisions and not paying contractors

    These client-side issues can affect the quality of the work

    As for professionals who cannot act professionally, I am embarrassed to be associated with them in any way.

    Presumably professionals signed off on the suspected 30+ non-compliant residential schemes

    Presumably professionals signed off on the known non-compliant schemes of Priory Hall, Millfield Manor and the latest disaster Grenfell Tower

    If not, how did they get funding approved through banks?

    Are these professionals being treated like errant solicitors – forced to work under supervision for five years and prevented from signing documents in their own names?

    It not, why not?

    Reply

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