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Letter from Iaosb to Minister Hogan for further clarification of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014
Dear Minister Hogan,
RE: Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9, 2014
Following my previous letter to yourself and your department on 30th of January 2014 regarding the above Amendment, we still have not had any response to the points and questions raised. I notice that in response from the questions asked kindly on our behalf by Mr. Thomas P. Broughan T.D and Ms. Ann Phelan T.D, there was a few further points that we would be very grateful to you for further clarifications.
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 544 of 28 January 2014, if persons who self-build their homes will be required to take on full responsibility for ensuring that the properties concerned are in compliance with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (SI No 9 of 2014)..
- Thomas P. Broughan.
For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 5th February, 2014.
Ref No: 5852/14
REPLY - Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Mr. P. Hogan)
The Building Control Act 1990 places a legal obligation on owners, designers and builders to ensure that their building complies with the relevant requirements of the building regulations. These obligations apply to all sectors of the housing and construction market, including the self-build sector. Local building control authorities have powers to inspect and enforce compliance and where concerns exist in relation to a particular building, the authority may serve an enforcement notice on both the owner and the builder. In a self-build situation the owner and the builder will be one and the same. The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations do not change or vary the legal position set out in the Act of 1990. It will, however, greatly strengthen the arrangements currently in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation …“In a self-build situation the owner and the builder will be one and the same. registration of certificates.” Not under the document Building Control (Amendment) S.I 9, 2014. According to the wording on the document, the building owner and the building contractor are not the same. This is specially evident on CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE ON COMPLETION where the signature has to be done by (to be signed by a Principal or Director of a Building Company only). Your comment regarding the sentence in the bracket would be greatly appreciated.
… and In practice, even in a self-build situation, the owner-builder may contract out certain construction tasks. Under the new Regulations the owner-builder will also be required to engage competent registered professionals to undertake the design and to perform the role of the Assigned Certifier who will prepare an inspection plan, ensure this plan is implemented by himself and others and, in conjunction with the self-builder, sign the Certificate of Compliance on Completion. The resolution of problems arising between the owner-builder and any of the parties engaged by them as Designer, Contractor or Assigned Certifier is a matter between the owner, the relevant parties and their insurers, subject to the terms of any contracts in place. Where contractual issues cannot be resolved through dialogue and negotiation they can be enforced by civil action through the courts.
” in conjunction with the self-builder, sign the Certificate of Compliance on Completion” I would like to point out again that under CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE ON COMPLETION a self builder can not sign this document as they might not be a principle or director of a building company (Only), and if they do so surely they will be breaking the law. Your comment would be greatly appreciated.
Ref No s : 7123/14
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will respond to correspondence sent by the Irish Association of Self Builders which sought clarification to correspondence sent from the RIAI to his Department regarding the Building Control (Amendment) S.I. 9 Regulations (details supplied); if the code of practice for inspections has been finalised or not to date; if the electronic systems for lodgement of commencement notices and design certificates have been tested or rolled out; questions surrounding the updating of construction contract forms; the issue of the finalised versions of the design and completion certificates and if they are available; and if his attention has been drawn to the potential increasing risk of unforeseen delay in construction projects, embroiling new contracts in claims for additional payments, and increased cost for building owners, for commissioning bodies and house purchases..
Details: RIAI Letter sent by Mr. Robin Mandel (S.I Doc. 2) dated 15th January 2014.
Ref No s : 7124/14
To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will clarify in relation to the Statutory Instrument 9 of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations to be enacted in March 2014, if an owner who intends to build who accepts responsibility and ensures that building or work concerned complies with the requirements of the second schedule to the building regulation, and if the owner does everything necessary to achieve this and signs the certification on completion, taking legal responsibility as a builder, if they can then go ahead and self- build; and if so, should the wording, to be signed by a Principal or Director of a building company only, under the Certification Section in the Building Control Amendment S.I. 9, be removed as self-builders may not be a principal or director of a building company; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
REPLY - Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Mr. P. Hogan)
I propose to take Questions Nos. 137 and 138 together.
A reply to the Irish Association of Self Builders will issue within the next week.
We would like to thank you in advance and look forward to your reply.
The Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works has now been finalised and was circulated to industry stakeholders on 7 February 2014. The new online Building Control Management System will provide a common platform for clear and consistent administration of building control matters across the local authority sector. Briefing and guidance for local authority staff on the new system has begun in recent weeks and arrangements are being made to brief key industry stakeholders on 17 February 2014 , before the system is made publicly available in advance of 1 March 2014. The prescribed forms of the statutory certificates of compliance required at design and completion stage of a construction project are included in the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 as signed into law on 15 January 2014. The impact of the Regulations for building owners and commissioning bodies and, in particular, the implications for projects currently subject to tender or for which contracts have recently been signed were addressed in the reply to Question No. 119 of 29 January 2014. My Department is continuing to liaise closely with the relevant Departments and agencies in relation to this aspect of the matter. Concerns that the new regulations prevent a self-build situation are unfounded although all house-builders must comply with them . An owner who intends to self-build will, as before, assume legal responsibility for ensuring that the building or works concerned are compliant and they will be required, as builder, to sign the Undertaking by the Builder and the Certificate of Compliance on Completion. Arrangements for a smooth transition to the new regulatory environment are well in hand and my Department will continue to work with all parties to ensure they understand their obligations and the steps necessary to meet them.
“An owner who intends to self-build will, as before, assume legal responsibility for ensuring that the building or works concerned are compliant and they will be required, as builder, to sign the Undertaking by the Builder and the Certificate of Compliance on Completion.” Minister, once again I would like to point out that a self builder can not sign the form unless they are a principle or director of a building company as it is written in the law that was passed by you as Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9, 2014 on 15th of January 2014.
“Briefing and guidance for local authority staff on the new system has begun in recent weeks and arrangements are being made to brief key industry stakeholders on 17 February 2014”. I would just like to point out a recent letter from Robin Mandal, President of RIAI dated 29th of January addressed to Minister Bruton confirming his concern about the timing of the introduction of the Building Control (Amendment) S.I 9 of 2014. He goes on to say that The Regulations mark a significant change in the way building projects are managed: a new regime of Design Certifiers, Assigned Certifiers, inspection, documentation and records involved. Some of the supports for proper implementation of the Regulations on 1st of March are not yet in place or fully tested- including the electronic system for uploading submission of notices, the final code of practice for inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Building Control Framework, while other elements such as the project insurance recommended by the Pyrite Panel are unlikely to be in place for some time. We fear that the confusion and problems arising in the absence of their readiness will lead to: Delay in the roll out of badly needed projects, unforeseen costs and contractual claims from Contractors, and reputational damage to our building control system with consequent impact on Foreign Direct Investment. And in conclusion, He writes that in his opinion and of RIAI, neither the public sector nor the private sector are ready for the Regulations implementation deadline of 1st of March and the risk profile on many fronts would be high if we were to proceed, knowing this to be the case. Having waited twenty years for an overhaul of Irish Building Control, it would be inadvisable to start implementing it in haste without all the necessary components and supports being in place”. Well Minister, I think that Mr Mandal as the President of one of the main key industry stakeholders is not convinced that you are ready.
Minister Hogan, with all duo respect you and your department might be under the understanding that the local authorities are all ready for this but I assure you that many of the staff employed in these departments still do not exactly know what Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014 is and therefore can not advise the general public. Please find attached an article from Wicklow Times North about when this amendment was introduced to the local councillors. I do not think that they were impressed.
And finally Minister, I would like to bring to your attention a recent leaflet that is being put on local authorities websites called “Guide to Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014” . I would be grateful if you could pay attention to number 11 and 12 which contradict each other.
11. I am building by direct labour, who do I nominate as the builder The Undertaking by a Builder can only be signed by the builder who, preferably is registered with the Construction Industry Federation and can provide a ‘Construction Industry Register Ireland’ (CIRI) number. Further details can be found on www.cif.ie
12. I am a building owner. I have designed my own building and intend to build by direct labour. Do I still need an assigned Certifier. If your development is one of the types listed in Question 8 then, Yes, you must still nominate an Assigned Certifier. Additionally, you must, yourself, sign the ‘Undertaking by Builder’ document. In doing so you will undertake the responsibility for compliance with the Building Regulations.
Minister, while there are some positive points on this Amendment, the country is not ready for it. This Amendment will effect a large amount of families who are hoping to be able to build their own homes. I do understand that Ireland needs to have an overhaul on the Building Control as suggest by Mr Mandal but I am pleading with you not to rush this Amendment through without further review on the effects it would have on self builders and the country. Please do not make the same mistake that were made by the previous government.
Look forward to hearing from you soon.
Irish Association of Self Builders