RIAI EGM : Seven issues for architects to consider
RIAI EGM : 7 issues for architects to consider
We look at some of the issues noted in the recent resolution for an EGM in the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) the representative body for architects. This was called for by members and is scheduled for Tuesday 12th August 2014.
Here are some of the headline issues that affect consumers, other registered professionals and industry stakeholders that attendees might wish to consider.
1. Consumer rights
In her guest post Deirdre Ni Fhloinn, specialist construction lawyer, noted the lack of any new consumer protections in the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations S.I. 9. Quote:
“There are no new legal rights or remedies for consumers created by BC(A)R S.I.9 2014. Rather, the benefits to consumers are intended to result from improvements in the building process, such as the requirement for an Assigned Certifier to devise and implement an inspection plan.”
Will the extensive new paperwork and administration of SI.9 create what previous Minister Phil Hogan intended, a record to track liability for consumers in the event of a defect occurring; or is it just a meaningless additional paper exercise? Quote from our post:
“What appears to have been delivered, at enormous cost to the industry and consumer, is an inadequate online system that is not secure and can be easily manipulated; a public record that does not keep any of the technical documentation lodged for access by consumers (only notices received and issued as confirmed in the Code of Practice) and finally a regulatory system that does not deliver any improvements to technical standards or enhancements to consumer protection.”
Given the recent occurrence of pyrite in defective blockwork and numerous high-profile demolitions around the country, will SI.9 bring an end to the issue of defective building materials, or just further distance local authorities from their market surveillance responsibilities and place a target on one Certifier’s back?
Quote from the new Minister Alan Kelly :
“While the new regulations do not make explicit reference to Declarations of Performance for construction products, given the regulations require both the design professional and the assigned certifier to sign statutory declarations (the latter in conjunction with the builder) certifying that the building/works has been designed and constructed in compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations, Declarations of Performance may be relevant as a means of demonstrating that “proper materials” have been used in accordance with Part D of the Building Regulations”
Have a listen to the senior executive of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Tom Parlon, on the radio show “The Last Word” and consider, have the builders gotten away with it? Have Builders ended up with less responsibility for their work under SI.9 than they had under the previous system? Quote from Tom Parlon:
“There are penalties already under the new building regulations, everything must be signed off by a competent Assignee, who can only be an architect, a building surveyor or an engineer, and in signing off ON BEHALF OF THE BUILDER (our emphasis), there are obligations there and they have to stand over those”
Do we have a reasonable system that allows everyone to share proportionate liability should a defect occur, or are we back to earlier versions of SI.80 with one person taking responsibility for the entire building process, issuing unqualified guarantees on behalf of the entire design team and the contractor? Quote from our post:
“The Law Society Practice Note to all solicitors says that the Completion Certificate only will be used for conveying property. This means that the buyer will only have the Completion Certificate and none of the supporting documents or Ancillary Certs. It’s back to single point responsibility.”
Are they really off the hook or is SI.9 playing with words? Builder/developers are coping with the new administrative roles and requirements. Quote:
“This arrangement in the build-for-sale sector, where a registered professional is a direct employee of a developer, will minimise the administrative burden of the new regulations on developers while allowing them to retain a separate design team on minimum service contracts as before, for the initial stages of a project only (and planning compliance).”
Architects are being told “the train has left the station”, “move on and get on with it” etc. How are developers ‘getting on with it’? Are they driving the train? Quote:
“Developers can set- up project-specific companies (a shelf company) for each development. In many cases this is done for financing/ licensing purposes anyway and each company is folded-up after completion to minimise liability. Everyone else will get sued except the main beneficial owner, the developer.”