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Irish Association Of Self Builders

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Irelands largest construction website

BCAR S.I.9, What's another year? Construction Magazine Sunday, 1 February 2015
Page 2

Michael Collins, former President of the RIAI says the Building Control Amendment Regulations introduced “extended and cumbersome self certification by designers, main and subcontractors to replace the failed self certification system that preceded it. “The same as the old system however, the new one is set to fail in protecting the consumer, particularly in speculative  residential development,” he says. “As we have seen in other sectors of society, a system which relies on people certifying their own work cannot and will not work. “Apart from this fundamental flaw, the legislation is badly drafted,” Collins says. “Basic issues related to extensions of less than 40 sqm, the legal position of self-builders and technologists, liability of assigned certifiers, the absence of any system of rectification of non-compliant buildings, the lack of co-ordination with standard forms of contracts, are only a part of the picture. “The negative impact on construction starts is not being broadcast but is real.” “Publicly-funded school projects are stalled. Housing costs will continue to rise as shortages tighten. “Other problems will emerge. The construction sector faces turmoil in which almost everything about building regulations will be decided in the courts, bringing more uncertainty, cost, delay and frustration. “Contracts and work practices which have taken decades to evolve are set at naught. “The solution is a system of independent inspection as works successfully in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.” The new rules have impacted on suppliers to the industry too. “Overall, having these new regulations in place and having the necessary statutory stamp on a building project is a good thing for the industry and, ultimately, the client,” says Sean Moran of HPC Group which operates a number of builders’ providers outlets.“However,” says Moran, “complying with the regulations has created its own difficulties for suppliers to the trade. “Initially there was considerable pressure on the sales departments in the various builders’ suppliers and some confusion in responding to requests from builders to provide evidence that all products supplied complied with the new building regulations. “Builders and the various trades persons require documentary proof that all products supplied are fit for their intended use, bear CE marking and comply with the various European and Irish standards. “Providing the requisite information on all products has placed quite an administrative burden on builders’ merchants. “While the relevant information has been generally available, gathering and collating all the documentation is a time consuming process and requires all manufacturers and suppliers to provide relevant product information/certification etc. to merchants to be passed on to clients. ‘“Declaration of Performance’ is now one of the most commonly heard phrases in the sales offices of all our HPC Group branches. “We provide a Declaration of Performance, covering all aspects of the regulations for all products supplied. We have built a database of all products which can be forwarded to our customers on request.”

Gerry Fallon b rand development manager at Expert Hardware says there has been “a mixed reaction” from their customer base. “While everyone agrees that the new regulations will play an important role in the pursuit of more robust building control, the increased number of mandatory certificates now required and extra financial burden, falls directly on those intending to build,” says Gerry. “For a typical 200sqm, the estimated additional workload just to an architect or engineer who is acting as an assigned certifier could be 100 additional hours approximately, which would typically cost an extra €5,000. “These levies and other associated compliance costs which builders who are registered with the Building Control Authority now have to undertake, are placing more obstacles in the way of those intending to start new builds or extensions over the 40sqm threshold. “These new regulations in turn could also slow down the rate of growth in the construction sector which would affect the hardware industry which has had a very difficult few years since the downturn.”

Finally, it’s over to the constructors and Dominic Doheny, Senior Vice President, CIF, who stresses that all that has actually happened here is that the oversight for the construction process, including supervision and certification, has changed. “It means that there is certification from registered professionals confirming that what was designed is built in accordance with the building regulations,” says Doheny. “I would think that is a good thing and addresses consumer/ end user concerns that the statutory building regulations requirements have been complied with. “I don’t necessarily agree with the cost imposed on the client for delivery of these regulations. Doheny adds: “The new registration process for builders, Construction Industry Register Ireland, has in conjunction with the Department of the Environment Community and Local Government, been established by the CIF to provide a registration process for competent builders. “This is to be put on a statutory footing in 2015. Members of the newly established register of builders will undertake continuing professional development to ensure that their teams are trained and aware of new building requirements and processes.Many construction companies are already providing this training to their construction teams,” adds Doheny. “The CIF, as part of its membership package, in conjunction with CIRI will be rolling out courses to make sure all builders from the small one-off guys up will understand and know what their obligations are. It will dovetail into the system as neatly as possible.” Says Doheny: “The legal responsibility for builders to build in accordance with the building regulations always applied and were being implemented by the vast majority of builders. “However, the new regulations will make it difficult for the ‘rogue builder’ to have a place in the reputable and professional construction industry that we all strive to achieve and maintain.”

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