Tag Archives: si.9

SI.9 | What’s another year?

one-year-on

 27 February 2015

In two days time, on Sunday, 1st March 2015, the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations SI.9: 2014 will be one year old. It has become clear that issues with SI.9 are not just ‘teething’ problems that will settle down. In fact many in the construction industry who embraced the change are now struggling with legal and practical implementation problems that cannot be resolved within the legislation.

The BRegs Blog has brought together a community of industry experts and commentators as we reach this important milestone and the imminent review of the legislation. In the coming week or so we will be publishing a series of posts on SI.9 – one year on. This will commence on Monday.

The BRegs Blog is changing!

  1. The BRegs Blog will launch a new e-zine this afternoon that gathers all SI.9 related information (tweets, photos, blogs, comments and other media links) into one easily accessible weekly digest. It will be published each Friday lunchtime as an alternative to the Saturday Summary.
  2. On the last Saturday of the month we will publish a Top Five of each month’s most read posts. This will publish tomorrow.
  3. In parallel with condensing relevant news feeds into single ‘editions’ the BRegs Blog will be posting fewer posts that are more considered with news items moved to the Friday E-zine’.

The BRegs Blog is stepping up to put forward real practical solutions for an effective system of Building Control. The blog continues to enjoy extraordinary support from most representative sectors of the construction industry. The minimal criticism being made would appear to be from those who don’t read it or are challenged by any questioning of SI.9.

The BRegs Blog promotes effective Building Control improvements and best practice standards of inspection.

Thanks for your continued support,

BRegs Blog Admin. Team

RIAI | Village Magazine Again!

JG RM

Robin Mandal (L) and John Graby

For the third consecutive issue Village Magazine, Ireland’s premier political publication, features the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI). Village Magazine’s exposé of events at the organisation will have architects and industry observers wondering what is really going on at the Merrion Square HQ of the RIAI. It may be perceived an unnecessary distraction for architects who have had a very challenging year since the introduction of SI.9.

In the February edition (published 6th February 2015) there is a four-page article on the RIAI where editor, Michael Smyth, continues his description of the management of the organisation by its CEO, John Graby and President, Robin Mandal (see extract below). As far as the BRegs Blog is aware no formal public response to the previous issue’s allegations has been forthcoming from the RIAI.

Village Magazine alleges:

  • 13* of the 15 surviving RIAI Past-Presidents have called for the appointment of independent external experts to urgently assist in a comprehensive reform and restructure of the RIAI organisation and its operational policies.
  • A confidential RIAI Council mediation in October 2014 mandated the President to initiate the process of retirement of the RIAI CEO/Registrar, John Graby;
  • A €1 million annual payment of public monies is paid to the RIAI to recruit and employ architects who are deployed in the public sector;
  • Costs including travel expenses were incurred by the CEO/Registrar and a former President, Michelle Fagan, to ‘hand-deliver’ a medal for achievement to Kevin Roche, an ex-pat architect in New York;
  • A potential conflict of interest for the RIAI CEO/Registrar as conduit for complaints against architects and as director of an insurance company which receives sensitive information;
  • Confusion over a combined financial charge for being on the Register of Architects and being a member of the RIAI and the opaque fee structure and assessment of the hardship provision under the Building Control Act 2007 by the CEO/Registrar.

The Village Magazine article ends by noting that the President of the RIAI informed members that 2015 would be the “Year of Change”.

BRegs Blog Note: The 4-page February 2015 feature referred to above is now available on the Village website- for full article click title “RIAIsing the stakes. | Village

*The two immediate Past Presidents, Paul Keogh and Michelle Fagan (who are both members of the RIAI Council 2015) do not appear to have signed this statement.

Village Magazine is sold by most newsagents (€3.95).

.jpeg Extract of Village Magazine article

1234

Other posts of interest:

What’s happening with the RIAI? | Village Magazine December 2015 / January 2015

John Graby – RIAI, CEO | “Phil Hogan did not bulldoze through SI.9′

Minister Paudie Coffey |Keynote Address to Housing 2020 – Design + Delivery Conference

RIAI Complainee investigates IAOSB Complaint

Radio Clips: RIAI and CIF differ on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9

Minister Paudie Coffey |Keynote Address to Housing 2020 – Design + Delivery Conference

Paudie 3

February 11th 2015

Address by Mr. Paudie Coffey T.D. Minister of State Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government at “Housing 2020 – Design and Delivery” the Joint Housing Conference of the RIAI & the Department at Dublin Castle on Tuesday 10 February 2015 at 9.00 am.

Speech cleared by Aidan O’Connor, Principal Adviser, Architecture/ Building Standards.

Introduction

I am pleased to welcome you all here this morning for the resumption of our conference programme.

I compliment all concerned in the RIAI and my own Department in creating this forum where industry professionals, academics, policy makers, planners, local housing authorities and voluntary housing bodies can collectively engage with and respond to the many challenges we now face.

If ever there was a time for creative solutions, joined up thinking, collaborative approaches, the time is now.

Housing and Construction

The timing of this conference is fortuitous coinciding as it does with the recent launch by Minister Kelly and I of the Social Housing Strategy 2020.

Economic growth, social progress and environmental sustainability require a capable and effectively performing housing and construction sector.

The Social Housing Strategy 2020 stands side by side with the broader Construction 2020 strategy.  Together they comprise some 112 measures which set out a credible and achievable context for ensuring that the housing and construction sector are aligned to the needs of our economy and its citizens.

Minster Kelly, myself and our colleagues in Government are determined to deliver these measures and will not be found wanting in working hard to create the conditions necessary to ensure the delivery of social and economic infrastructure that will allow people to live and work in a built environment that is user friendly, safe, secure and sustainable.

This means working openly with stakeholders to overcome the challenges of:

  • Careful manpower planning that ensures the right skills and training are in place to respond effectively to growing construction demands following several years of little or no activity;
  • Close alignment of the planning and development system with current and future  investment and infrastructural needs
  • The need for new and innovative investment funding and investment models that provide the wherewithal to meet real and growing demands

Our recent return to growth does not in itself herald the end of constraints on resources.  We need to ensure that public investment is targeted wisely and effectively, not least the €2.2 billion now committed to the delivery of 10,000 social housing units over the next 3 years.

The welcome return from a period of low or minimal housing provision to one where, thankfully, significant investment is again possible, comes with its own stresses and strains.  We are expected to respond to the current high level of pent-up demand for housing while simultaneously addressing and keeping apace of future needs.   It is important therefore that we act quickly, decisively and responsibly in delivering appropriate solutions to current and future housing needs.

Housing Challenges 

The future of a great many of our citizens is heavily reliant on the successful implementation of the Social Housing Strategy 2020, which I know you have already considered in detail during yesterday’s session addressed by Bairbre Nic Aongusa from the Department’s Housing Division.

The range of critical issues which inform this strategy and your conference programme are the traditional dilemmas for policy makers and practitioners in the housing domain, such as the challenge of matching supply and demand, aligning regional and local planning processes with needs, housing standards, funding arrangements.  Far from ever becoming resolved, they continue to throw up fresh challenges.

In addition we face further challenges particular to the present moment including the challenges of kick-starting a building industry that has been mothballed for several years, of translating the return to confidence into tangible investment, of enticing unoccupied buildings back into the market place, all the while, of course, dealing with a market place that is itself still in correction mode.

The Government’s vision for the future of the housing sector in Ireland is based on choice, fairness, equity across tenures and on delivering quality outcomes for the resources invested.   More than anything else, though people want to see delivery and I am personally focussed on the reality that action not rhetoric solves problems.

Private Housing  

Outside of state provision, it is essential that we have a vibrant private housing sector that operates to the same core values as the Government in terms of offering consumers fair play, quality standards and value for money.

Again, the availability of funding for developers and for potential buyers alike is an essential critical success factor for progress in this sector.   This forms a key topic in our Construction 2020 strategy.  In my own view, the expectations of financiers and developers in particular must become attuned to the fact that market circumstances have changed fundamentally.   There is no prospect of the market returning to where it was pre-2006.  Expectations and investment decisions must therefore be framed around today’s operating environment and outlook.

Conditions now seem conducive to allowing business to take place and it is in everybody’s interest that this happens sooner rather than later.

I look forward therefore to seeing what may come from the session later today to be led by Michelle Norris of UCD.

I also believe the upcoming conference on Construction Financing Options being hosted by the Department of Finance will be significant in highlighting the increasing levels of capital available for financing viable construction and development projects in Ireland.

Quality and Standards

The theme of quality and sustainability stands out strongly across the suite of presentations you will hear.

This is as it should be.  Public tolerance for poor building quality has been well and truly exhausted.

On the building control side of things, for which I hold ministerial responsibility, we now have a credible regulatory framework that empowers competence and professionalism in the design and construction process and that requires owner/developers, builders and professionals to account for their statutory obligations.

I look forward in the coming months to working with industry, local authorities and all stakeholders to review the arrangements now in place during their first 12 months in operation.  It is important that we identify what further steps are necessary to refine and streamline the regulatory process in order to ensure that all our citizens can enjoy the quality built environment they expect and deserve.

The next key ingredient rests in the Government’s commitment to the introduction of statutory registration for builders and contractors.  The Construction Industry Register Ireland or CIRI will give consumers the reassurance that they are dealing with a competent and compliant builder.

I believe this register will become the foundation stone of quality in the industry and I look forward to seeing it develop into a robust, statutory register.

Conclusion

By way of conclusion I want to thank the impressive line-up of speakers and panellists for their generous contributions without which this conference would not be possible.

No stakeholder, be they Government representative, public servant, industry expert or consumer advocate, has a monopoly on the wisdom or perspective necessary to identify practical solutions to the problems we face or the right to impose their preferred solutions on others.  Ultimately, it is only through dialogue and interaction that real and lasting solutions emerge.

That is why events such as today’s conference are so vital and so necessary.

I encourage you all to participate as fully as you can in that spirit so that together we can

  • Take on board the lessons of the past and deliver quality housing solutions
  • Ensure that quality and sustainability becomes the watchwords in all we do
  • Continue to question, to inquire and to develop innovative solutions to what are perennial challenges

Know that in applying this approach in our own work and promoting it within our own sphere of influence we help transform the culture of the entire construction industry towards quality and sustainability.

On that note, I wish you well with what promises to be an enjoyable and stimulating event.

Thank you.

SI.9 | The Right to self-build is O.K. – if you live in the U.K.

s300_Right_to_build_960x640

 06 February 2015

When SI.9 was introduced last year it sounded a death knell for the centuries old tradition of affordable self-building in Ireland. It is hard to fathom why the Department of the Environment would do this in the middle of a housing and financial crisis. In marked contrast our nearest neighbours in the U.K. are doing the exact opposite. Across the Irish Sea they are rolling out comprehensive incentives and supports to get ordinary people building their own houses. See link here:

Extract:

New ‘Right to Build’ areas at forefront of helping aspiring self-builders

The ‘Right to Build’ is the latest in a range of measures designed to help those looking to build their own home in the U.K. Eleven areas will benefit from the latest U.K. government-backed opportunity to help aspiring custom or self-builders get their projects off the ground. These 11 chosen areas will establish and maintain a register of prospective custom and self-builders in the area and begin to identify shovel-ready sites for those on the register – becoming the first to offer local people the right to design and build their own home often at a lower cost than buying an existing property.

U.K. Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

“We’re determined to help anyone who aspires to own their own home – whether that’s buying on the open market through schemes like our Help to Buy, or to build. This is one of a range of measures we’re taking to help aspiring homeowners, but also to get Britain building – and thanks to our efforts, house building levels are at their highest since 2007 and rising. Aspiring custom or self-builders will be able to register their interest with the council, who will then be required to offer suitable serviced plots for them that are for sale at market value. But it will open up the opportunity to self-build beyond those with “grand designs” so even more people can realise their self-build ambitions.”

In Ireland if you are a building contractor and a Director of your own firm with at least three years relevant experience, there is no problem with building for yourself. Otherwise, you will have to hire a professional contractor from the soon to be mandatory Construction Industry Federation’s (CIF) own register. The additional cost to employ a CIF registered builder makes house building projects unaffordable for most people. Industry estimates put the additional cost to a typical self-builder at 22%, or over €40,000 on a €180,000 house.

It would appear that SI.9 is causing huge numbers of self-build house projects to be abandoned due to these increased costs, and is a drag on increased housing supply. Minister for State, Paudie Coffey T.D. indicated last month that the unforeseen consequences of SI.9 on self-build is something he has asked his Department to examine.

Other posts of Interest:

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

UK and Ireland: Take a quick drive to Newry with BReg Blog…

SI.9 costs for a typical house

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

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

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9? 

The self build world has been thrown into disarray

Self Builder petition- BC(A)R SI.9

Law Society response to self-builders

Self building, self-regulation & the consumer

Breaking News | BRegs Blog | Breaking Records

250000

 

We are temporarily dispensing with our one post a day limit to bring you the breaking news that this blog has just exceeded a quarter of a million views since starting a little over a year ago (see the little bean counter on the right)!

That is a phenomenal response for what is, let’s face it, a blog about building control and the BRegs Blog Admin team are very grateful for your ongoing support.

thank_you