Category Archives: DECLG

Politicians asking questions about BC(A)R SI.9 | Summary

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By BRegs Blog on 18th December 2014

Politicians asking questions about BC(A)R SI.9 | Summary

In the wake of Minister Alan Kelly’s statement that he intends to amend BC(A)R SI.9, in the following summary we list a selection of issues various politicians have tabled concerning the new building regulations.

Senator David Norris discussed the array of unintended consequences and lack of consumer protection during a Seanad Deabate on SI.105- see Senators ask Minister to Revoke SI.9 (2 of 4).

Senator Michelle Mulheirn asked questions concerning pyrite in blockwork in the home county of the Taoiseach in Mayo- see Dáil update | Pyrite in Mayo.

Stephen Donnelly TD in the Dáil asked why we have no independent inspections in the new system- Dáil: Why not an independent inspection system?.

Kevin Humphreys TD asked a number of departments and Ministers responsible if costs associated with SI.9 on capital expenditure been examined- see The Cost Impact of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014).

Barry Cowen TD raised the considerable cost to house-building form the new regulations- Minister urges draughtsmen to register for BC(A)R SI.9.

Eoghan Murphy TD came back to the lack of consumer protections under the new system- TD’s suggest independent local authority inspectorate: BC(A)R SI.9.

Senator Cait Keane as part of an Oireachtas committee warned of the problems of a self-certification- Fine Gael expert group opposed the introduction of new regulations.

Claire Daly TD continued to champion the cause of owners with pyrite affected homes- Dáil : Pyrite Remediation Programme: 10th June 2014.

Senator Paschal Mooney was responsible for tabling a Seanad Debate on the unintended ban on self-building which still is relevant today- Senator Paschal Mooney, Minister Hogan and Seanad debate.

Mick Wallace TD who knows the construction industry better than anyone in Leinster  House warned that..

“… the major problem is that all along, the Construction Industry Federation and not the State appears to determine what is happening…The Minister’s system of assigned certifiers will crack up within the next couple of years” 

See post: Dáil debates: Mick Wallace and Minister Hogan- Pyrite

Other Posts of interest:

‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly

3 County Councils ask Minister to Revoke SI.9 

Senators ask Minister to Revoke SI.9 (2 of 4)

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

Going through the motions at speed – Independent.ie

Press piece: Co Council votes to scrap BC(A)R S.I. 9

S.I. 9 | Self-builders – 6 months’ update 

Press Piece: Fingal Councillors call to end BC(A)R SI.9 

Help the BCMS Christmas appeal | Certificate of Completion Crisis!

DOC

David O’Connor, SRO – appealing for guidance

Just when we thought the housing crisis could not get any worse a major problem has emerged. The Building Control Management System (BCMS) must now overcome a glitch in the new Building Control Regulations that otherwise may stop people moving into new apartment and housing developments or indeed any multi-unit or phased commercial development.

A certificate of completion is necessary before any qualifying building may be legally occupied. It would appear that the reason for the delayed online availability of Certificate of Completion lodgments is that nobody at the BCMS knows how to deal with a certificate of completion for a multi-unit development because no allowance was made for them in the regulations. A call for assistance was issued today by David O’ Connor, the Senior Responsible Officer.

Link to BCMS paper seeking submissions:

Download pdf: BCMS Multi-unit completion Dec 2014

 Since the introduction of SI.9 and the launch of the BCMS it has not been possible to lodge a certificate of completion online and a hard copy paper submission was required. Initially it was thought that this was due to an I.T. phasing issue and a promise was given it would be resolved by last September.

Almost 10 months after the implementation of the new building control system and a full four years after the process was instigated, this call has been put out for suggestions on how to operate the new system for apartment buildings and other ‘multiple unit’ developments. It should not be forgotten that SI.9 was specifically introduced as a response to problems with multi-unit developments like the Priory Hall apartment scheme.

At a time of urgent housing need it is incredible that yet another raft of legal and administrative problems are creating unnecessary roadblocks, cost and delay in the delivery of housing. What is even more remarkable is that during more than two years of intensive development with stakeholders with years of technical support from the professional representative bodies nobody anticipated this.

It is not known how many housing or apartment developments, completed this year, may have been affected by this confusion or their future status if further amendments are introduced. The BRegs Blog have been raising this issue for months (see links below) and only yesterday published a post on where there were major anomalies on this issue.

Submissions are invited by the BCMS to info@lgerpmo.ie

Other posts of interest:

SI.9 “each phase should be designed to stand alone” | BCMS

Have residential Completion Certificates been fully considered?

Completion Certificates for Multi-unit Housing

BCMS Completion Stage | No Ancillary Certificates required!

SI.9 causing major delays to school projects

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

5 Tips for Completion Certs

Press: RIAI fearful Local Authorities will start “finding something to invalidate as a method of workload control”

Build in 8 hours, wait 3 weeks for a Completion Cert!

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 

Are Local Authorities ready? Industry concern for completion stage: BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

SI.9 “each phase should be designed to stand alone” | BCMS

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The following email question to, and answer from the Building Control Management System (BCMS) was sent to us by a registered professional on the 11th December 2014.

The BCMS confirm that ” each phase of the development must be compliant and not have outstanding compliances in other phases even if this requires completing all the development works in advance”.

The BCMS clarification  suggests that completion of larger mixed-use projects and multi-unit residential schemes may be more onerous than was realised under the new regulations. Financing of larger projects frequently depends on early phases being complete and sold on, while later stages and some common areas, basements, roads and drainage may still be under construction. BReg Blog notes shown [ ]:

________

[Dear BCMS]

The Code of Practice says that phased completions are possible.

Does the BCMS Commencement Notice have to be done as ‘one per house’ so that there can be separate Completion Certs for each house?

Or

If it’s ‘one per estate’ for Commencement Notices (see RIAI advice) can you you then just submit separate Completion Certs for each house under the one Commencement Notice?  If so is the Register set up for this?

What is an ‘overall’ Completion Cert for the development (see RIAI advice) and what will this cover?

Is it the same for apartments?

RIAI advice says:

How will the Commencement Notice work for a Housing Estate of 100 Houses?

A.: One Commencement Notice to be issued, if all the houses are to be built together. If not then a number of Commencement Notices will have to be issued for each phase.

100 Completion Certificates will have to be issued; one for each house as completed, and then one for overall development/ external work.

localgov1localgov2

_________

Reply from BCMS, Date: 11 December 2014

Subject: Certificate of Compliance on Completion-Phased Completion Considerations

S. I. 9 of 2014 (9) A Certificate of Compliance on Completion may refer to works, buildings, including areas within a building, or developments, including phases thereof, and relevant details shall be clearly identified on the Certificate of Compliance on Completion itself, and subject to validation in line with the requirements at paragraphs (3) and (4), on the register.

Overview;

As a general rule the purpose of the Certificate of purpose of the Certificate of Compliance on Completion is to required for compliance with the;

  1. Administrative requirements as set out in the Building Control Regulations which is basically 3(a), (b)(i)  and the
  2. Design requirements 3(b)(ii) i.e. the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations before
  3. Works or buildings can be opened, occupied or used

Therefore it is recommended that any phasing of developments for the purpose of Certificate of Compliance on Completion Certificates should be carefully considered in the context of interdependency of the Parts A-M with each other and the other phases in the development.

For the purpose of best practice housing development and construction compliance each phase should be designed to stand alone and as such compliance with Part A-M should be addressed both individually and collectively.

In essence each phase of the development must be compliant and not have outstanding compliances in other phases even if this requires completing all the development works in advance i.e. Part B access for fire appliances, Part H treatment systems, Part M access and use, Part L, J there may be district heating etc. in general each phase must stand alone and should be assessed on its merits; best method is to audit the phase against the particular requirements of the Building Regulations, a consolidated summary is set out below for ease of reference

Reference is made to the requirements of the Building Control Regulations the relevant section which is set out below;

“Building Control Regulations 1997-2014-Part IIIC – Certificate of Compliance on Completion

20F (1) Subject to paragraph (2), a Certificate of Compliance on Completion shall be submitted to a building control authority and relevant particulars thereof shall be included on the Register maintained under Part IV before works or a building to which Part II or Part IIIA applies may be opened, occupied or used.

(2) The requirement for a Certificate of Compliance on Completion shall apply to the following works and buildings –

(a) the design and construction of a new dwelling,

(b) an extension to a dwelling involving a total floor area greater than 40 square meters,

(c) works to which Part III applies.

(3) A Certificate of Compliance on Completion shall be –

in the form specified for that purpose in the Sixth Schedule, and

(b) accompanied by such plans, calculations, specifications and particulars as are necessary to outline how the works or building as completed –

(i) differs from the plans, calculations, specifications and particulars submitted for the purposes of Article 9(1)(b)(i) or Article 20A(2)(a)(ii) as appropriate (to be listed and included at the Annex to the Certificate of Compliance on Completion), and

(ii) complies with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations, and

[Part A — Structure; Part B—Fire Safety; Part C—Site preparation and resistance to moisture; Part D—Materials and workmanship; Part E—Sound; Part F—Ventilation; Part G—Hygiene;

Part H—Drainage and waste water disposal; Part J—Heat producing appliances; Part K—Stairways, ladders, ramps and guards; Part L—Conservation of fuel and energy; Part M—Access for disabled people]

(c) accompanied by the Inspection Plan as implemented by the Assigned Certifier in accordance with the Code of Practice referred to under article 20G(1) or a suitable equivalent.

Other posts of interest:

Have residential Completion Certificates been fully considered?

Completion Certificates for Multi-unit Housing

BCMS Completion Stage | No Ancillary Certificates required!

SI.9 causing major delays to school projects

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

5 Tips for Completion Certs

Press: RIAI fearful Local Authorities will start “finding something to invalidate as a method of workload control”

Build in 8 hours, wait 3 weeks for a Completion Cert!

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 

Are Local Authorities ready? Industry concern for completion stage: BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014

Should the Architectural Technology Profession stay within the RIAI? | Liam Innes

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The following comment was sent to the BRegs Blog by Liam Innes and it has been formatted into a post. Liam Innes is one of two candidates on the ballot to be the Architectural Technologist member of the RIAI Council 2015.

I read with interest Joe Byrnes’ article and first of all let me say that it is regrettable that both Joe and Darren Bergin, the AT representative on Council, felt they had no option but to resign their positions within the RIAI. I can understand their reasons and Joe’s exasperation is there for all to see in the written word. Having worked with both over the last year as a member of the ATC I have seen at first hand their dedication and passion for the cause.

Going forward however, and many may think me naive, I feel that there still exists an opportunity to achieve recognition for the Architectural Technologist as a co professional with the competencies to carry out the duties of Design / Assigned Certifier as laid down in the BC(A)R legislation and for this to be promoted as part of any review of SI 9. This is only part of the story however. We also need to advance the overall standing of the Technologist within the RIAI and provide a platform for more inclusive engagement with the Institute.

My continuing optimism and involvement in the process, is based on the potential review of SI.9, and the possible submission that the RIAI Steering Group may make to any such review. The role of the Technologist must be part of this submission with recognition, and promotion of, their role as a registered professional within the legislative framework of a revised SI. 9.

While the Department of the Environment seem to have accepted the principle of the establishment of a Statutory Register for Technologists, continued pressure is required to effectively get this over the line with work required in the QQI in relation to standards in the AT field and the formulation of accession routes to a register.

The question has been asked;’ Why would technologists seek to undertake a role which is viewed by many as an uninsurable risk’. It is a legitimate question and I would think that there are many technologists currently in salaried employment who feel no need to become involved in the process. There are Technologists, however, whether by choice or as a fall out from the recession, who are running small mostly one man practices.The introduction of BC(A)R and the omission of the Technologist from the first tier of the framework has presented a serious problem for those Technologists who have been offering a full service in line with their professional competencies and who now have to explain to their clients why the service they offered on 28th February 2014 is now compromised by the implementation of BC(A)R on the 1st March 2014 yet their competencies remain unchanged. In many cases it is a basic as this.

There is a principle at stake here for many Technologists. It is one where they would like to be in a position to have the opportunity to decide, as many Architects are doing, whether they should provide the Design / Assigned Certifier service with all its associated risks. With most clients expecting a continuation of the full service the only realistic option currently available to Technologists is to join another professional institute and go down the Building Surveyor route which many are doing. This is not to denigrate the other professional bodies but many would say that the Architectural Technology Profession in Ireland should sit within the body of the RIAI but with their own identity and now is the time to settle this once and for all.

RIAI + Architectural Technologists | Malachy Mathews

CIAT + Architectural Technologists | Michael Quirke

Dáil | Architectural Technologist update

Architectural Technologists: Are you on the right bus?

CIAT Architectural Technologists Register goes live today!

Dáil: CIAT & RIAI- 2 Architectural Technologist Registers

Dáil: response on Architectural Technologist Register in 7 days

UPDATE- CIAT Register for Architectural Technologists in Ireland

Dáil TD’s want to Revoke SI.9 (4 of 4)

Architectural Technologists + Architects | Parity of Esteem?

Hot topic: Architectural Technologists and SI.9

Thoughts on a Register for Architectural Technologists

Architectural Technologists and BC(A)R SI.9: CIAT

Architectural Technologist – Platitudes, Head Nodding and BC(A)R SI.9.

RIAI NEWS ALERT: Architectural Technologist Register

Message from Mick Wallace TD to Architectural Technologists

Audio Clip: Dáil Debate 27th May- Architectural Technologists & SI.9 

BCMS Commencement Notices | Nine Months On

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Stop! – SI.Nine is 9 months old

The 9th monthly Building Register was published by the Building Control Management System (BCMS) on 4th December 2014 at 8.08 a.m. The Building Register records all of the validated Commencement Notices or ‘proposed building starts’ received by the 34 Building Control Authorities throughout Ireland.

The Building Register now records a figure of 4,294 as the total number of validated Commencement Notices received over the past nine months (39 weeks) since the introduction of the BCMS on 1st March 2014.

Of these 874 (20%) are Commencement Notices without accompanying SI.9 documentation (aka Short Form) and 260 (6%) are seven-day notices (Fire Safety Certificates). These percentages remain consistent since the six month results published in October.

Since the introduction of the BCMS, the average number of commencement notices being lodged is 110 per week. However in 2013 the average number lodged per week was 143 (7,456 in total).

Currently commencement notices are running 25% below 2013 levels which was an historic low point in construction industry output. These figures are borne out by the latest information from the CSO which records that Building and Construction output only grew by 0.1% in the third quarter 2014.

Link to Building Register: 

Other posts of interest:

A ‘perfect storm’ for housing? 

Karl Whelan: “…raft of cost-increasing building regs are at least partly responsible”

FAO Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht- commencement figures

Commencement Notices | 6 months after S.I. 9 

Construction Recovery- watch this space

‘Recovery’ is Still Worse than the 1980s Crisis

CSO: (Q1 2014) planning permissions for dwellings -30% drop

Minister Hogan rejects Irish Times Article

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started

 

CSO | Construction output increased by 0.1% in Q3 2014

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Recent data issued by the Central Statics Office suggests recent media coverage and speculation of a construction boom may be premature. With only a 5.2% increase in residential output expect supply issues to continue to distort the market. Don’t break open the champagne yet. Extract off CSO site to follow. For direct link click here.

____________

CSO statistical release, 11 December 2014, 11am

Production in Building and Construction Index

cso1.pdf [Converted]

Building and Construction Output increased by 0.1% in 3rd quarter 2014

cso 2a

The volume of output in building and construction increased by 0.1% in the third quarter of 2014 when compared with the preceding period.

This reflects increases of 5.2% and 0.1% in residential building work and civil engineering respectively while there was a decrease of 1.0% in the volume of non-residential building*.  The change in the value of production for all building and construction was +1.3%. See tables 1(a), 1(c), 2(a), 2(b) and graph. 

On an annual basis, the volume of output in building and construction increased by 10.1% in the third quarter of 2014*.  There was an increase of 11.0% in the value of production in the same period. See table 1(a).  The annual rise in the volume of output reflects year-on-year increases of 19.1%, 13.4% and 2.5% respectively in residential building work, civil engineering and non-residential building work.   See tables 1(c), 2(a), 2(b) and graph.

*Given the unprecedented low base this series is starting from, the CSO will continue to monitor the quality and comparability of this new data series.

cso 3.pdf [Converted]

Other posts of interest:

SI.9 stops Summer Works for schools in 2015!

Pyrite legal dispute referred to European Court | Independent

SI.9 causing major delays to school projects

SI.9 Cost for 2014 = 3 x Ballymun Regeneration Projects

Ronan Lyons | Regulations pushing up the costs of homes

Sunday Business Post | Karl Deeter “Building regulations – rules don’t deliver results”

CSO- Dwelling units approved down 16.6% in one year

World Bank Report 2015 | Ireland’s poor construction regulations are the biggest drag on our ranking

Residential construction down in 2014 Q1+ Q2: (CSO statistics)

PII Insurance increase under SI.9 with no cover for pyrite?

personal-insurance

BRegs Blog admin 13th December 2014

Following the Minister’s warning to professionals on fees, he’s also sent a clear signal that those responsible for defective construction products will be pursued under the new building control regime… (Muscovite Mica). Minister Alan Kelly:

the people who ensured young families would be left in this manner must be followed to the end“.

See Minister Kelly’s comments here.

All Certifiers should take note. We wonder how could an Assigned Certifier possibly know the chemical composition of blocks? Even the Pyrite Panel said this would be impossible. It would seem that all Professionals’ insurance policies exclude pyrite, and are set to increase due to increased liability under BC(A)R SI.9.

Correspondence from a Professional Insurance provider to a contributor in December 2014 illustrate the problem (extracts to follow):

Dear BReg Blog,

I asked a Professional Indemnity Insurance provider the following questions. I would suggest you get your readers to do likewise:

  1. Is there any discount or loading for new certifier duties under BC(A)R SI.9?
  2. I was wondering what standard levels of cover do you provide for sole traders, do you cover pyrite?

This is the reply I received:

I believe most of the insurers apply a pyrite exclusion, sample wording below for your review;

“The Underwriters shall not be liable to indemnify any Insured or to make any payment under this Policy in respect of any Claim, Loss, liability or Defence Costs arising out of, caused by, resulting from, in consequence of, in connection with or in any way involving any of the following:

 22. PYRITE/CONTAMINATED INFILL

any presence or alleged presence of any products or material containing or alleged to contain any form of pyrite, iron sulphite or their derivatives or any contaminated infill material.”

In relation to the new assigned certifier role, I do not think any insurer is awarding discounts for the new role, if anything they are loading their rates for the additional responsibility/exposure taken on. Our main market is keeping their rates static which seems to compare favourably.

We wonder where this leaves consumers, given that Local Authorities still have not increased resources to police the construction materials sector. Certifiers are now responsible for certifying materials (Part D) but are not insured for pyrite in projects.

This may cause some uncomfortable questions by registered professionals, who have consistently been told by their representative bodies that Professional Insurance won’t increase. More worrying is if a certifier is found liable for signing off on pyrite and there is no insurance cover for the claim.

Sounds familiar.

Other posts of interest:

Pyrite legal dispute referred to European Court | Independent 

S.I. 9 and Insurance Claims: Deirdre Lennon MRIAI

“The insurance will sort it out…”

What is PI Insurance? 

Pyrite: the spiraling cost of no Local Authority Inspections

Are Design and Assigned Certifiers risking professional suicide with Pyrite and S.I.9?

Pyrite & SI.9- what happens now?

RTÉ News: Louth housing scheme to be demolished over pyrite

Dáil : Pyrite Remediation Programme: 10th June 2014

Government Reports & Professional Opinion Ignored in S.I.80

Clear and auditable trail: consumer protection? BC(A)R SI.9

HomeBond ‘snub’ over pyrite ‘a matter of serious public concern’ – Committee

RIAI Elections | Follow Friday Shout Out !

Election

The BRegs Blog has always tried to stay above partisan politics within the various stakeholder organisations involved with SI.9 and focus solely on issues pertaining to the Building Control Regulations. Unfortunately this high moral stance collapses today when we give a big shout out for support for candidates in the forthcoming RIAI Council 2015 election. These candidates have contributed to posts on the BRegs Blog and been part of this debate and open-source resource for sharing information about SI.9.

mark_stephens Mark Stephens MRIAI

Our biggest shout out has to go to Mark Stephens who is a candidate for the RIAI Western Region. Mark is one of Ireland’s most prolific architectural bloggers and was shortlisted for the Blog Awards Ireland and Be2 Awards for ‘Best Use of Twitter in Construction’. He was instrumental in helping to get the BRegs Blog up and running. Over the last year he has helped with our I.T. issues as this blog brought two posts daily (one on Sundays) to our 1,500 subscribers. We know he would bring 21st century social media skills to the way that any organisation could communicate with its members. Mark Stephens has undertaken the role of Assigned Certifier and written positively on the BCMS; yet he favours independent inspectors. As an “early implementer” he is typical of the diversity of informed opinion that we have on this Blog. He recently authored a solution post “Ten Point Plan for Building Control Regulations“.

Other candidates seeking a seat who have contributed posts to the BRegs Blog include:

  • Eamon Hedderman FRIAI
  • Barry Kelly MRIAI
  • Mícheál de Siún MRIAI
  • Ciaran Ferrie MRIAI
  • Martin Murray MRIAI (Eastern Region)

 

The candidates seeking election are:

Architectural Technologist:

Liam Innes, Pat Kirwan

Eastern Region:

Martin Murray, James O’Donoghue

Western Region:

Deirdre Kelly, Mark Stephens, Richard Rice, Simon Wall

Ordinary Members:

David Browne, Michael Crowe, Mícheál de SiúnIsoilde Dillon, Martin Donnelly, Grainne Dunne, Ciaran Ferrie, Kieran Gallagher, Michael Grace, Ali Grehan, Eamon Hedderman, Martin Heffernan, Barry Kelly, Paul Keogh, Sean Mahon, Michael McGarry, Claire McManus, John Mitchell, Ralph Montague, Justin O’ Callaghan, John O’Mahony, Ciara Reddy, Grainne Shaffrey.

Voting closes at 11.59 pm on Tuesday 16th December 2014

Other posts of interest:

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

World Bank Report 2015 | Ireland’s poor construction regulations are the biggest drag on our ranking

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

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

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

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

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

RIAI Past Presidents Paper #2 | The Building Regulations and Certifiers’ Liability 

Developer makes 27% profit in 6 months: warns against state housing.

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House builder Abbey reported pre-tax profits of €16.99 million for the six months to the end of October on a turnover of €62.63 million, or 27.13% net profit from March to October 2014. In this article in the Irish Times they warn that their profitability, and that of other speculative builders, will be impacted upon by state initiatives to deliver affordable housing. We note a more normal profit level in speculative development is 20%, a level required by most financial institutions to provide finance. This article comes on foot of a Davy report that suggested construction labour costs were 50% higher here than in Northern Ireland.

Link to article here. Extract:

________

Abbey concerned by level of state intervention in housing market

by Eoin Burke Kennedy on 5th December 2014 in the Irish Times.

House builder says moves by Irish and British governments will crowd out private capital. Abbey reported pre-tax profits of €16.99 million for the six months to the end of October.

House builder Abbey has warned that state intervention in the Irish and British housing markets has the potential to “crowd out” private investors.

In a trading update, the company noted with concern the announcement this week by the UK government that it intends to speculatively develop land for housing.

The proposal, unveiled as part of chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement, is aimed at tackling Britain’s ongoing housing shortage.

“When set alongside similar activities by Government agencies in Ireland, this raises fundamental questions about the future environment for private development in both jurisdictions,” Abbey said.

“Publicly supported UK Housing Associations already speculatively develop houses for sale. This week’s announcement will serve to further crowd out at the margin the role of private capital in housebuilding,” it added.

In the budget, the Irish Government announced ambitious plans to spend €3.8 billion on building and refurbishing 35,000 social housing units over the next five years.

The Government and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) believe 25,000 new housing units need to be built every year to meet the current level of demand.

Abbey reported pre-tax profits of €16.99 million for the six months to the end of October, up from €7.65 million for the same period last year.

The builder said strong margins were a “notable feature” of the period and should be sustained into the next half year.

While forward sales were also encouraging, it said pressure on costs continued to be a feature of the market.

Its housebuilding division completed 225 sales in the six month-period – 205 in the UK, 15 in Ireland and five in the Czech Republic.

This resulted in a turnover of €62.63 million.

In Ireland, Abbey’s project in Rathfarnham is now 90 per cent sold and the company said it was turning its attention to its project in Lucan, which is scheduled to launch early next year.

Trading in the UK was good throughout the period, the company said.

In Prague sales completed in the period were disappointing, however, as last year a brighter second six months is in prospect, it said.

Overall further progress in all regions can be expected in the second half, it said, noting that during the period 405 plots were added to its land bank.

Abbey’s board announced a dividend of five cents per share, which together with the six cents approved at its AGM in October will make a total of 11 cents for the financial year.

Other posts of interest:

How developers are “adapting” to the new Building Control regulations 

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

Completion Certificates for Multi-unit Housing

Homebond | Assigned Certifier + defects liability policy for €2,000?

Revoke SI.9 | IAOSB / Self-Builders’ Letter to TD’s

Village magazine| What’s happening with housing policy in 2014?

Ireland – What’s Next?| TV 3 Series on Ireland’s Housing Crisis

Ronan Lyons | Regulations pushing up the costs of homes

Want to live in Dublin? | Only the wealthy need apply!

The Latest Homebond House Building Manual: A Critique | Joseph Little Architects

SI.9 – How Certain is the Certifier?| Eamonn Hedderman FRIAI

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The following opinion piece* was received from Eamonn Hedderman FRIAI, a principal in Holly Park Studio in Blackrock, Co. Dublin and a candidate in the RIAI Council 2015 election who is in no hurry to join the SI.9 race to the bottom!

Completion Certificates and the Assigned Certifier. How certain is the Certifier?

Since the introduction of the term Assigned Certifier under the Building Regulations I have been concerned at how easily those drafting the legislation have presumed a parity of qualification amongst those professionals approved to take on the role, namely:

(a) Architects that are on the register maintained by the RIAI under Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007; or

(b) Building Surveyors that are on the register maintained by the SCSI under Part 5 of the Building Control Act 2007; or

(c) Chartered Engineers on the register maintained by Engineers Ireland under section 7 of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (Charter Amendment) Act 1969.

It is questionable whether all prospective Employers will appreciate the very real differences in the skill sets of those named professions above and more significantly whether the professionals in question will be objectively critical, in the present economic climate, when it comes to deciding whether they are competent to take on the role.

I have long held the view that to do justice to the role of Assigned Certifier, with its inherent liabilities, the incumbent will have to become a full time site professional and will have to limit such services to one project at a time.  Such an onerous task will require adequate remuneration and yet there is significant evidence of professionals agreeing to take on the role for fees that could not possible cover out-of-pocket expenses, let alone provide even a minimum wage.

God be with the days when Architects could confidently advise Clients of the advisability of employing the services of a Clerks of Work or Site Architects and, that the Architect’s opinion was sufficiently respected to ensure that funding for such services was made available.

At what stage did we accept that budget cuts could dispense with these important site supervisory roles?

Why did we add that service to our standard service, regardless of what the appointment documents might suggest?

Is it not as a direct consequence of the OVER SERVICING of our clients that the ‘powers-that-be’ expect that we will Kowtow and take on new responsibilities and greater liabilities without question?

If we do accept the role of Assigned Certifier how will funding of the ongoing Professional Indemnity Insurance be managed when the certifier decides to retire?

One of the principal warnings issued to Members by the RIAI over the past year has been that if Architects fail to take on the role of assigned Certifier, there are other professional more than willing do so.

Well, let them at it.

I was recently appointed to monitor the construction of a large domestic extension adjoining my clients property.  Planning permission had been acquired in 2014 but there was no Architect involved on the project and the Assigned Certifier was not a Registered Architect.

When first introduced to the Assigned Certifier I asked if they felt comfortable in their competence to take on such an onerous role, and was assured that there were absolutely no concerns.

Perhaps such comfort is borne out of an ignorance of the pressures, traditionally taken on by the Architectural Profession, of taking full responsibility for the coordination and management of construction projects.

What was disturbing about the whole affair was that during the course of the construction I had to highlight a number of boundary and detail issue which were not in compliance with Building Regulations, leaving me to wonder if such oversights were common throughout the project.

I wonder how valid the Assigned Certifier’s Completion Certificate will be. Will anyone be able to rely on it?

Would I, as an Architect representing a prospective buyer for the property, be able to comment on the advisability of accepting that such a certificate was evidence of Compliance.

And, what documents will the legal profession be seeking as evidence of compliance in future conveyancing?

Do we as a profession know?

Does the RIAI, SCSI or EI know?

Does the Law Society know?

Eamon Hedderman FRIAI

* The BRegs Blog Team are happy to consider similar submissions for possible publication.

Other posts of interest:

Completion Certificates for Multi-unit Housing 

Practical Post 19: Phased completion & BC(A)R SI.9 

BCMS Completion Stage | No Ancillary Certificates required!

BCMS Alert | Last day for Christmas Completion!

ALERT | SI.9 Christmas Completion Countdown

SI.9 causing major delays to school projects

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

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

5 Tips for Completion Certs

Build in 8 hours, wait 3 weeks for a Completion Cert!

Press: RIAI fearful Local Authorities will start “finding something to invalidate as a method of workload control”

Are Local Authorities ready? Industry concern for completion stage: BC(A)R SI.9 of 2014