Category Archives: Social Media

A new look for the BRegs Blog

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A new look for the BRegs Blog

The eagle-eyed and faithful reader will have noticed a few changes to the BRegs Blog website over the last few days. We have been having a bit of a clear out for Christmas in order to prepare for 2015. The changes are designed to make the website more accessible, feature-rich and easier to use.

These changes include:

  • A switch from the free hosting from WordPress.com to the self-hosted WordPress.org variety. This allows us more flexibility in presenting data and greater depth in features and content.
  • A simpler and more professional domain name. The new domain is www.bregsforum.com A lot easier to remember than the WordPress.com version
  • A simpler and more professional email address. The new email address is admin@bregsforum.com

All of the content, links, images and statistics from the previous site are still there and fully accessible; all existing URL’s will also divert to the new address. The added benefit for the Blog is that all the effort in search engine optimisation and ensuring that the BRegs Forum his high on Google searches is not lost.

Subscriptions

If you already have an email subscription to BRegs Blog you will continue to receive email notifications of new posts as before.  However WordPress.com followers will only see new posts in the Reader. WordPress.com followers will not receive email updates until subscribed to receive those on bregsforum.com (an email subscription widget is on the right hand side). This applies only to around 50 subscribers- everyone else remain unaffected.

The website is therefore undergoing a small period of re-organisation. If you do spot something missing, incorrect or have any suggestions, or would like us to add a feature then please contact us below:

http://www.bregsforum.com/contact/

Thanks to those who have already given feedback.

Regards,

BRegs Blog Admin. Team

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

 

Pyrite legal dispute referred to European Court | Independent

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 5th December 2014

A major legal case involving pyrite has been referred to the European Court (link below). The detail of the case is quite complex, however it does illustrate the extent of time (and money) it can take to pursue redress through the courts. Under SI.9 consumers will need ‘deep pockets’.

Professionals will also be reading this carefully as it may well impact on professional insurance cover for Pyrite. Many insurance policies currently exclude pyrite. One of the consequences of the new building regulations is that Assigned Certifiers are now responsible for all materials used on a building site (Part D of the regulations). The Construction Products Regulation 2013 is being used as part of the defense and appeal by Irish Asphalt Ltd. Last week the RIAI issued an advice note to members about possible pyrite problems on building sites due to the incorrect specification of hardcore with the implication of liability being on the specifier and not the supplier.

Pyrite was a problem in many developments in the Ballymun Regeneration and throughout North Dublin & Leinster. What’s clear from two recent cases this year where 25 new houses had to be demolished is that this problem has not been solved.

See article “Pyrite heave case referred to european court of justice” from 2nd December 2014. Extract:

___________

‘Pyrite heave’ case referred to European Court of Justice

Irish Asphalt Ltd supplied infill at Ballymun youth centre which has undergone a €1.55 million remediation project

James Elliot Construction had sued Irish Asphalt Ltd over the supply of defective infill material for the construction of a youth centre in Ballymun in 2005. The case has been referred to the European Court of Justice (above).

A legal action over the supply of defective infill material for the construction of a Dublin youth centre has been referred to the European Court of Justice for determination of issues including the merchantable quality of goods.

James Elliot Construction had sued Irish Asphalt Ltd which supplied the rock product for use as foundation in the Ballymun Central Youth Facility in 2005.

Within three years, floors and walls began to crack because of the presence of excess pyrite in the infill and the centre had to undergo a €1.55 million remediation project.

James Elliot Construction brought an action for compensation against Irish Asphalt Ltd claiming “pyrite heave” had caused the damage.

The High Court found the material was not fit for purpose or of merchantable quality under sale and supply of goods legislation and had given rise to pyritic heave.

Irish Asphalt Ltd, in an appeal to the Supreme Court, challenged that decision and maintained, notwithstanding findings of fact by the High Court, it was not liable to James Elliot Construction as a matter of domestic and EU law.

It argued an implied term of the contract as to fitness for purpose of the material had not been breached.

Supreme Court findings

Yesterday, a three-judge Supreme Court found, on the domestic law issues raised, the Irish Asphalt Ltd appeal should be dismissed but such an order was subject to any issue of European law which the court was referring to the European Court of Justice.

The Supreme Court said it was setting aside the High Court finding in relation to whether the material was fit for purpose under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 but it upheld other findings including that there was a breach of the same legislation in terms of merchantability.

It also rejected Irish Asphalt’s contention any liability to James Elliot Construction was limited to the cost of replacement of the infill material.

It also upheld the High Court view that the sulphur content of the infill, which indicates the presence of pyrite and meant the material did not meet the required standard, was supported by the evidence and should not be overturned.

In the Supreme Court decision ordering a referencing of the case to the European Court of Justice, Mr Justice Donal O’Donnell said as a matter of national law James Elliot Construction would be entitled to succeed and Irish Asphalt Ltd’s appeal would fail.

EU law

However, in light of Irish Asphalt Ltd’s contention the High Court conclusions were inconsistent with and precluded by EU law, it had been decided to refer a number of questions on the case to the European Court of Justice for a preliminary ruling or reasoned order.

The questions include whether the interpretation of the national and EU standard in relation to construction products is a matter upon which a preliminary ruling may be sought from the European Court of Justice.

If the answer to that question is yes, the European Court of Justice must then decide whether compliance with that EU standard can only be established when tests on the material were carried out at the time of production and/or supply or breach of the standard can be proven by tests conducted later.

The European Court of Justice is further asked whether a national court is obliged to disapply national law by implying terms as to merchantability and fitness for purpose on grounds that statutory terms create standards which have not been notified in accordance with an EU directive on technical standards (Directive 98/34).

In a statement after the Supreme Court decision, Irish Asphalt Ltd said the reference to the European Court of Justice justified the company’s decision to appeal the case and highlighted the complexity of the legal issues concerning testing and standards.

Irish Asphalt Ltd said it acknowledged the severe difficulties that have been caused to many homeowners but said an expert panel in 2012 concluded the pyrite issue was not foreseen by anyone, including construction and quarry companies.

Terms and conditions

In a separate case involving pyrite yesterday, the Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Irish Asphalt Ltd against another High Court finding that the terms and conditions of its contract with a construction company were incorporated into the contract between the companies for supply of infill material.

Noreside Construction Ltd, Kilkenny, sued Irish Asphalt Ltd for indemnity against legal actions arising out of the presence of pyrite in material it supplied for Noreside to build 52 houses and 31 senior citizens’ homes for Dublin City Council at Griffith Avenue, Finglas, Dublin.

Other posts of interest:

Donegal Pyrite update 

Dáil update | Pyrite in Mayo 

Irish Mirror | Call for an end to pyrite mess

Was pyrite discovered in concrete blocks in 2013?

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

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel

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

RIAI News Alert | Summary of 5 Senior Counsel opinions on BC(A)R S.I.9

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On 24th September 2014 the RIAI circulated a “précis” or summary, to their Practice Members, of various Senior Counsel opinions on S.I.9 and S.I.80 . The précis was written by David Phelan of Hayes Solicitors. The five Senior Counsel opinions had been prepared on behalf of the various stakeholder groups involved in the negotiations with the Department of the Environment on the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. The introduction to the précis stated:

“Balance of Opinions indicate that liability is not increased and a Certifier can rely on Ancillary Certificates.”

However if one reads Phelan’s full document it is clear that he said no such thing. It is unclear if this statement regarding liability was written by Phelan or added by a third party. Phelan’s text includes some of the following  comments [which we have paraphrased] from the Senior Counsel opinions:

  •  A Design or Assigned Certifier engaged to carry out work under the Regulations undertakes a very serious responsibility and considerably more than the limited qualified Opinions which could be given under the previous regime.
  • Issuing a Completion Certificate in circumstances where the appropriate criteria have not been met may in itself be an act of negligence.
  • The certification given by the Assigned Certifier involves significant responsibilities. The Certifier must certify compliance with plans, calculations, specifications etc. when the Certifier may not have had input into those documents.
  • There is nothing to qualify the nature of the inspections carried out. Building owners may rely upon this to try and pin liability upon Certifiers for failure to inspect a particular element of the building that they may not have physically been able to.
  • In relation to the Design Certificate and the Ancillary Certificate, it appears that the certifier is certifying not just that he or she has exercised reasonable skill, care and diligence but that other members of the design team have too. As such, the certifier is taking responsibility for the work of others and therefore exposed to liability.
  • Reliance on Ancillary Certificates does not represent any significant protection for the Certifier.
  • It is implicit in the Certificate of the Assigned Certifier that the Assigned Certifier must have satisfied himself or herself as to the general competency of the Ancillary Certifiers and the Assigned Certifier is responsible to procure and annex the Ancillary Certificates to the Completion Certificate.
  • The reference to reliance upon Ancillary Certificates in the Completion Certificate means that the Assigned Certifier will require that Ancillary Certificates be given by every other trade or profession involved in a particular project. The Ancillary Certificates may therefore run into several volumes.
  • Failure to co-ordinate the inspection activities of others and co-ordinating procurement of ancillary certification will give rise to a legal liability.
  • There may well be insurance implications, with a significant prospect that at the very least insurance companies will wish to reflect the increased risk in premium.

From these opinions one could take a very different view; a view that the balance of opinions of S.I. 9 indicate that liability is increased and a Certifier cannot rely on Ancillary Certificates; that it is poorly drafted legislation that some of our most eminent Senior Counsel and solicitors cannot make head or tail of. Nobody knows what this law may actually mean but most are agreed on one thing – it will take the Courts to sort it  out. The test case could be any diligent professional caught on the wrong side of a lorry load of contaminated aggregate or a badly sealed flue.

Could this be you?

The BRegs Blog strongly recommend that our readers read the full document even though this will be quite time-consuming. We wish that we could give a more definitive  analysis of the five Senior Counsel opinions but that is beyond the scope of our resources.

Extract to follow:

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY BY DAVID PHELAN

In this memorandum, I have summarised the various Counsels’ Opinions in relation to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. As I indicated at the outset of this memorandum, I would recommend that any interested party would read the actual Opinions as there is detail and nuance in them which by necessity is not captured in the summary.

You asked that I would include an executive summary identifying in short form the views ultimately reached by the various Counsel in relation to Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014. I will do so here. However, I would reiterate what I have said immediately above, which is that people should read the more detailed summary of the Counsels’ Opinions contained in the rest of this document and indeed read the Counsels’ Opinions themselves.

INTRODUCTION

I have attempted to do that in this note.  However, there are a few very important points which I must make at the outset, as follows:

  • Each Counsel will have issued the Opinion to their instructing solicitor for the relevant client. As such, although I understand that the respective clients appear to have shared and exchanged the various Counsels’ Opinions, it is still important that I make the point that each Counsel will have given their Opinion only to their instructing solicitor and their own relevant client.
  • I am approaching this on the basis of an understanding that each of the respective clients agreed to share the Opinions they had been furnished by their own Counsel and, on that basis, that neither they nor their Counsel would have any objection to this summary note being prepared.
  • While I have attempted to summarise key points of the Opinions in this document, the reality is that the only way in which a person can establish and properly understand the actual views of the relevant Counsel is by looking at the actual Opinions themselves. As one would expect,  the Opinions  all  go  into  some  detail  in  terms  of  explaining  the  respective Counsels’ understanding of matters, relating some of the instructions they have received and explaining the rationale for any  conclusions reached. Furthermore, each of the Opinions make clear in their own different ways the fact that these are not necessarily straightforward, black and white issues, which lend themselves to very neat, concise Opinions and conclusions. The Opinions, and the underlying issues, are detailed, nuanced and often complicated. It is simply not possible to replicate that detail, those nuances and those difficulties in this note.
  • Where a Counsel gave more than one Opinion, it is necessary to read all of that Counsel’s Opinions together.
  • Finally, what I have outlined below is my own assessment of what appear to me to be the key issues in each of the different Counsels’ Opinions. In preparing this note I have focused on what appears to me to be perhaps the key issue for architects, which is the issue as to whether the Regulations (or before that the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013) impose additional liability on architects in the context of providing Statutory Certificates under the Regulations, as compared with the regime which pertained prior to the introduction of the Regulations. I have to say it may well be the case that any of the respective Counsel might disagree that I have identified the key points in that regard, but I have attempted to do so faithfully and objectively.

GAVIN RALSTON SC

  • The 2014 Regulations are not intended to alter the existing common law liability on architects. They do no more than require the building owner to engage suitably qualified property professionals to carry out a “full service”. The real onus of the Regulations is on the building owner. An architect engaged to carry out work under the Regulations undertakes a very serious responsibility and considerably more than the limited qualified  Opinions which could be given under the previous regime.
  • On the question as to whether the issuance of Certificates under the new regime impose any greater liability on the Assigned Certifier than already exists under the law of negligence, Mr Ralston answers it in two parts. Firstly, the Certificates are actually issued to the Building Control Authority and the Building Control Authority itself would not suffer any damage in consequence of an inaccurate Certificate.  Of course, any third party (such as a purchaser) may be able to make a claim but not as a result  of the Certificate but rather upon negligence (including the possibility of negligence in issuing a Certificate). Secondly, in the absence of negligence for which an architect would be liable, the issuance of a Certificate would not in itself be a ground of liability. However, issuing a Certificate in circumstances where the appropriate criteria have not been met may in itself be an act of negligence.

DENIS MCDONALD SC

  • In relation to the undertaking to be given by the Assigned Certifier, the second part of the undertaking (which relates to the certification given by the Assigned Certifier) involves significant responsibilities. The  Certifier must certify compliance with plans, calculations, specifications etc when the Certifier may not have had input into those documents. Furthermore, there is nothing in the Certificate to qualify the nature of the inspection to be carried out by the Certifier in the undertaking. One can therefore envisage that building owners may rely upon this in the future to try and pin liability upon Certifiers for failure to inspect a particular element of the building or works notwithstanding that the Certifier may not have physically been able to do so.
  • In relation to the Design Certificate and the Ancillary Certificate, it appears that the architect is certifying not just that he or she has exercised reasonable skill, care and diligence but that other members of the design team have too. As such, the architect is taking responsibility for the work of others onto himself or herself and therefore exposed to liability.
  • Mr McDonald is not convinced that the reference to reliance on Ancillary Certificates in the Design Certificate represents any significant protection for the Certifier.
  • The reference to reliance upon Ancillary Certificates in the Completion Certificate means that the Assigned Certifier will require that Ancillary Certificates be given by every other trade or profession involved in a particular project and the Ancillary Certificates may therefore run into several volumes.
  • There may well be insurance implications, with a significant prospect that at the very least insurance companies will wish to reflect the increased risk in premium.

PETER BLAND SC

  • In the Certificate of Compliance on Completion, the Assigned Certifier does no more than confirm the exercise of his own skill, care and diligence. It does not constitute a warranty as to the accuracy of the Ancillary Certificates of others.
  • The Assigned Certifier is entitled to rely on the exercise of reasonable skill, care and diligence by the Ancillary Certifiers in the context of the reference in the Completion Certificate to the Inspection Plan.
  • It is implicit in the Certificate of the Assigned Certifier that the Assigned Certifier must have satisfied himself or herself as to the general competency of the Ancillary Certifiers and the Assigned Certifier is responsible to procure and annex the Ancillary Certificates to the Completion Certificate.
  • The modifications to the form of the Completion Certificate (as compared to the 2013 Regulations) are reasonably effective in addressing the concern as to whether the 2014 Regulations extend the potential liability of the architect who signs the Certificate so as to amount to a warranty in respect of the works of others. The wording of the Certificate may still be less than perfect, but the Assigned Certifier should not fear being found liable for the negligence of an Ancillary Certifier.

DAVID NOLAN SC

  • The final Certificates in the 2014 Regulations are a significant modification of the previous Certificates.
  • The final draft Certificate of Compliance on Completion (the one in the 2014 Regulations) qualifies the role of the Assigned Certifier having regard to the work of others. The Assigned Certifier is no longer certifying the work of others, although it does have a role in co-ordinating the inspection activities of others and co-ordinating procurement of ancillary certification. Failure to so co-ordinate will give rise to a legal liability.
  • The final Certificate of the Assigned Certifier is based upon he or she exercising reasonable skill, care and diligence at all times and so long as the Assigned Certifier has exercised reasonable skill, care and diligence, legal liability has been tempered.
  • The new wording of the Certificates in the 2014 Regulations are a very significant improvement from those appended to the 2013 Regulations. Necessary modification and improvement and clarifications have been achieved so as to lessen the broad legal liability previously imposed.

JOHN TRAINOR SC AND SADHBHANNA NI FHLOINN BL

  • Their Opinion, from September 2013, relates to the 2013 Regulations.
  • They consider whether in the future third parties might seek to hold builders liable by reason of a certification error.
  • A failure to comply with the undertaking and/or an error in certification in the Completion Certificate would not per say appear to impose any additional statutory liability on the builder for which he/she could not have previously been pursued.
  • In considering whether in the future third parties might seek to hold builders liable by reason of a certification error, they conclude that an argument in favour of civil liability is highly stateable and that the risk of a court imposing civil liability in respect of an error in certification is thus very real.  They have strong concern that Section 21 of the Building Control Act 1990 would not  be  sufficiently  strong  to  exclude  the  possibility  of  civil  liability  for  damages  for  misrepresentation  (arising  from  a  certification  error)  being imposed on a builder.
  • The prospect arises that in actions against Design Certifiers for errors in certification (against based on negligent misrepresentation) one might see such parties applying to the court for leave to seek contribution or indemnity from builders in appropriate cases.
  • The 2013 Regulations did present considerable potential risk to builders who have been subjected to additional potential liabilities over and above those extant under the regime prior to the 2013 Regulations

Read David Phelan’s full document: Memo re Senior Counsels’ Opinions 15 Sept 2014

Other posts of interest:

Summary of Legal Posts- BC(A)R SI.9

10 ‘must-read’ posts for Certifiers | S.I.9

Opinion: “the architectural profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9″

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus 

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

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

S.I. 9 and Construction Products: Orla Hegarty MRIAI RIBA

Vivian Cummins MRIAI: Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

Shrapnel and Spin – Caomhán Murphy MRIAI

Eoin O’Cofaigh: missed opportunity? BC(A)R SI.9

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

 

Opinion: “the architectural profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9”

Open Letter RIAI

The following letter was sent to the President of the representative body for architects (RIAI) by David McHugh MRIAI, one of the signatories of the recent RIAI EGM motion debated on 12th August 2014. The letter was forwarded on to us here on 15th September 2014. 

______________

Dear President,

As one of the proposers of the motion that the Institute should adopt as its first priority a policy that S.I. 9 be revoked and be replaced by better legislation, I fully respect all the members’ right to support or oppose the motion as they see fit, and the postponement /adjournment of the recent EGM has in effect frustrated the democratic right of the membership as a whole to decide this important matter.

So, please, publish the date for the reconvened EGM and let the members decide.

On the issue of the motion, I need to point out that this is not an “either or” motion, but is a “both and” strategy.

Publicly pointing out the need for replacement of a deeply flawed piece of legislation is not inconsistent with promoting a replacement. It is, in my view, being honest and consistent.

I believe there is a need to tell the truth here: it is clear that the Department of the Environment is promoting the position that it is all fine, and that there are just a few cranks and troublemakers within the profession opposing the system, when in fact an unprecedented attendance at both EGMs clearly shows that the profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9, and the RIAI executive has, by its public silence, aligned itself with the Department’s strategy.

I know that I speak for a significant number of members who feel completely betrayed by the Institute in their secretive conduct in negotiating and ushering in and even welcoming S.I.9.

I was shocked to be told by the Practice Director that the RIAI has no function in advising the members on whether and on what terms they should accept or refuse appointments as DC [Design Certifier] or AC [Assigned Certifier], all in the face of clear legal advice from several quarters of the very serious risks associated.

Is it any wonder that , as your recent column in Architecture Ireland says, there is a perception abroad now that the RIAI no longer represents its members’ interests ?

If it is indeed the case as you infer in your article that “policy and other maters in our members interest are decided at that Council table and not elsewhere”, one wonders what is the point of having any EGM or AGM, if  the membership cannot direct the Council policy.

On this much I hope we can agree, let the members have their say now and let the Council and executive listen .

Regards

David McHugh

Other posts of interest:

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus 

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

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

S.I. 9 and Construction Products: Orla Hegarty MRIAI RIBA

Vivian Cummins MRIAI: Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

Shrapnel and Spin – Caomhán Murphy MRIAI

Eoin O’Cofaigh: missed opportunity? BC(A)R SI.9

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

Minister Hogan’s departure- Does this mean somebody can now shout STOP?

Opinion: “the architectural profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9”

Open Letter RIAI

The following letter was sent to the President of the representative body for architects (RIAI) by David McHugh MRIAI, one of the signatories of the recent RIAI EGM motion debated on 12th August 2014. The letter was forwarded on to us here on 15th September 2014. 

______________

Dear President,

As one of the proposers of the motion that the Institute should adopt as its first priority a policy that S.I. 9 be revoked and be replaced by better legislation, I fully respect all the members’ right to support or oppose the motion as they see fit, and the postponement /adjournment of the recent EGM has in effect frustrated the democratic right of the membership as a whole to decide this important matter.

So, please, publish the date for the reconvened EGM and let the members decide.

On the issue of the motion, I need to point out that this is not an “either or” motion, but is a “both and” strategy.

Publicly pointing out the need for replacement of a deeply flawed piece of legislation is not inconsistent with promoting a replacement. It is, in my view, being honest and consistent.

I believe there is a need to tell the truth here: it is clear that the Department of the Environment is promoting the position that it is all fine, and that there are just a few cranks and troublemakers within the profession opposing the system, when in fact an unprecedented attendance at both EGMs clearly shows that the profession is largely united in opposition to S.I.9, and the RIAI executive has, by its public silence, aligned itself with the Department’s strategy.

I know that I speak for a significant number of members who feel completely betrayed by the Institute in their secretive conduct in negotiating and ushering in and even welcoming S.I.9.

I was shocked to be told by the Practice Director that the RIAI has no function in advising the members on whether and on what terms they should accept or refuse appointments as DC [Design Certifier] or AC [Assigned Certifier], all in the face of clear legal advice from several quarters of the very serious risks associated.

Is it any wonder that , as your recent column in Architecture Ireland says, there is a perception abroad now that the RIAI no longer represents its members’ interests ?

If it is indeed the case as you infer in your article that “policy and other maters in our members interest are decided at that Council table and not elsewhere”, one wonders what is the point of having any EGM or AGM, if  the membership cannot direct the Council policy.

On this much I hope we can agree, let the members have their say now and let the Council and executive listen .

Regards

David McHugh

Other posts of interest:

SI.9 Is Defective | RIAI EGM Consensus 

Friday Follow | Eoin O’Cofaigh FRIAI

S.I.9 and Employees: Eoin O’Morain FRIAI

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

S.I. 9 and Construction Products: Orla Hegarty MRIAI RIBA

Vivian Cummins MRIAI: Are small architectural practices under threat from S.I.9?

Shrapnel and Spin – Caomhán Murphy MRIAI

Eoin O’Cofaigh: missed opportunity? BC(A)R SI.9

News Alert | RIAI EGM Report

Minister Hogan’s departure- Does this mean somebody can now shout STOP?

Upcoming CPD for BC(A)R SI.9

bomi_cpd_2c_rgb

UPCOMING CPD for BC(A)R SI.9

RIAI Design Certifier Dublin 4 September (Note this is a repeat of July 2014 event reported here:)

Innovation in Building 12 September in Citywest

CMG event Dublin 24 September (Repeat of March event reported here: )

CIF Annual Conference 1 October

RIAI Conference Dublin RDS 12-13 October (Note Building Control will be a topic for discussion)

Architecture Expo 12-13 October

Finally .. NZEB conference in October 15

Where to find everything part 1? BC(A)R SI.9

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Where to find everything PART 1? BC(A)R SI.9

Your essential Building Control ( Amendment) Regulation links. Don’t take our word for it go to source- here are all the source documents frequently referred to in any discussion about the regulations, including the regulations. Click on the link after each title to get to the site:

The Regulations: click link here

The Technical Guidance Documents (TGD): click link here

The BCMS ‘Building Control Management System’: click link here

The Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government: click link here

The Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Works: click link here

The 34 Building Control Authorities ( city and county councils): click link here

The SCSI Owners Guide: click link here

The local authority Building Control regulations leaflet: click link here

Cork County Council guidance for Commencement Notices: click link here

 

RTÉ Radio: Pyrite Alert

danger_ahead

In this alarming radio piece on the “This Week” programme from Sunday 8th June on RTÉ Radio 1, the recent warning concerning pyrite affected blockwork is discussed.  New and very recent pyrite affected buildings appear to have been brought to the attention of the Department and Minister over 2 months ago, but are only coming to public attention now after recent alerts by professional representative bodies representing engineers and architects (ACEI and RIAI).

Listen to RTÉ Radio 1 podcast- click here

It is being alleged that current problems center around pyrite affected blockwork, a potentially more serious issue than previously affected pyrite affected ground floor slabs. Pyrite affected blockwork may require entire dwellings to be demolished; pyrete affected ground floors could be removed while leaving the overall building relatively intact.

We believe pyrite affected blockwork may have been detected in new housing in Drogheda and at least one school (under construction) in the Leinster region. It is not clear how this recent pyrite manifestation will affect certification (and certifiers) and the new system of building regulation introduced in March 2014, and it remains to be confirmed how certifiers can issue guarantees for building materials (like blockwork) in the absence of an independently certified and inspected system of quarries or building materials.

The cornerstone of the new bulding regulations was to be accountability and traceability of all materials, workmanship and professional input. This was to to eliminate issues such as pyrite- the Minister stated a “Clear and auditable trail” would ensure effective eliminate of a re-occurrence of the pyrite problems that permeated boom housing around the country. These new cases are notable as they appear to be recently completed or projects currently under construction.

Building control authorities are actively involved, as they are responsible for inspection of sites and building materials. A report is awaited from the Department of the Environment.

More information will be posted as it become available.

Other posts of interest:

RIAI PRACTICE ALERT: Pyrite in blocks – click link here

Practical Post 16: Pyrite and certification? – click link here

The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel – click link here

Radio Clip- O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer – click link here

Assigned Certifiers facing jail? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

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

Dáil: Proactive vs Reactive Building Control? BC(A)R SI.9- click link here

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here

 

The current cost of Building Control

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The following list is the costs for Building Control in Local Authorities in Ireland currently, listed by county. Information source is the informative Government website link below (scroll down county by county- see relvant section “Enforcement and Building Control: Ensuring compliance with planning permissions and regulations through inspections and enforcement actions.“). Link:

http://localauthorityfinances.com/spending/1/.

Please note the following figures appear to include planning services also. If anyone has a more detailed breakdown please contact us.

County      Cost

Carlow   €352,000 (0.8% of €44m or €6.37 per person)

Cavan   €170,400 (0.3% of €56.8m or €2.33 per person)

Clare   €2,147,600 (1.3% of €165.2m or €11.14 per person)

Cork City   €991,200 (0.6% of €165.2m or €8.91 per person)

Cork County   €2,146,900 (0.7% of €306.7m or €5.21 per person)

Donegal   €1,108,800 (0.8% of €138.6m or €7.19 per person)

Dublin City   €4,028,500 (0.5% of €805.7m or €7.34 per person)

DL-Rathdown   €1,650,000 (1% of €165.5m or €7.91 per person)

Fingal    €1,740,800 (0.8% of €217.6m or €6.30 per person)

Galway City   €322,800 (0.4% of €80.7m or €4.74 per person)

Galway County   €974,400 (0.8% of €121.8m or €5.42 per person)

Kerry   €1,580,800 (1.6% of €98.8m or €10.61 per person)

Kildare   €1,107,000 (0.9% of €123m or €5.25 per person)

Kilkenny   €490,400 (0.8% of €61.3m or €5.07 per person)

Laois   €539,000 (1% of €53.9m or €6.51 per person)

Leitrim   €306,900 (0.9% of €34.1m or €9.53 per person)

Limerick   €1,385,600 (0.8% of €173.2m or €6.77 per person)

Longford   €449,000 (1% of €44.9m or €11.93 per person)

Louth   €745,800 (1.1% of €67.8m or €5.96 per person)

Mayo   €622,500 (0.5% of €124.5m or €5.02 per person)

Meath   €486,500 (0.5% of €97.3m or €2.74 per person)

Monaghan   €208,000 (0.4% of €52m or €3.37 per person)

Offaly   €325,200 (0.6% of €54.2m or €4.09 per person)

Roscommon   €727,200 (1.2% of €60.6m or €11.82 per person)

Sligo   €707,000 (1.4% of €50.5m or €10.64 per person)

South Dublin   €1,741,600 (0.8% of €217.7m or €6.21 per person)

Tipperary   €1,514,400 (1.2% of €126.2m or €9.32 per person)

Waterford   €493,200 (0.4% of €123.3m or €4.23 per person)

Westmeath   €924,000 (1.5% of €61.6m or €11.07 per person)

Wexford   €1,338,400 (1.4% of €95.6m or €9.54 per person)

Wicklow   €928,000 (1% of €92.8m or €6.48 per person)

EDIT: 

Following our post a comment suggested this link “Get raw data about local authority income and spending in Ireland” link here (from same Govt website).

Local Authority raw data excel doc here: Local-Authority-Raw-Data-1

Please note this is a revised version of an earlier post which had some arithmetic errors which have now been corrected. Many thanks to Building Control Departments for spotting these and bringing them to our attention.