Monday, March 31, 2014

New Building Control Regulations - what are they?

Since March 1st 2014 new houses, extensions over 40m2 and buildings which are subject to a Fire Safety Certificate (for example, certain alterations and most commercial work) are subject to new Building Control Regulations.

(i) Building owners (of the above) will now need to appoint a 
design certifier (an architect, engineer or building surveyor) 
prior to construction.  The design certifier will confirm that the 
design complies with Building Regulations.  

(ii) The building owner will also have to appoint an assigned 
certifier (an architect, engineer or building surveyor) to certify, along with the builder, during construction, that the building is constructed in compliance with Building Regulations.

In practice this will lead to greater oversight of both the design and construction processes but, being a private function, will attract more fees for the building owner.  Our current estimate is that the service would increase the fees (to architect) by somewhere in the region of 20-35%. 


Approximately one year ago the Government and Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DoELG) passed S.I. no. 80 of 2013 into law but it contained some fundamental flaws which made its operation “uninsurable” by Professional Indemnity providers. A huge effort was put in (mainly voluntary) by RIAI committees, Council Members and staff, in conjunction with other stakeholders, to make the system workable and insurable.  The outcome was the adoption of S.I no.9 of 2014 (replacing S.I.80 of 2013) in January of 2014 about five weeks before the enactment date of March 1st 2014. A Code of Practice issued by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government explains this law in greater detail.

Minister of DoELG Phil Hogan's view was that the RIAI, amongst other professional bodies, had a year to prepare it's members but, as the updated S.I. is only just out now, the RIAI has only recently begun to train it's members.  The new mandatory online lodgement system (for Commencement Notices) only became available on March 1st and the entire system is a challenge to clients, practitioners and local authorities alike due to lack of any meaningful run-in period. We at Help My House are prepared for these new regulations and will continue to serve our clients in the best possible way.