Reforms Are Coming to Ireland’s Building Control Regulations

by Brian Flax | Aug 06, 2015

It’s almost hard to believe that S.I No. 9 of 2014 has already been in place for a full year (where has the time gone?). The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 was signed by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government on 15th January 2014 and came in to full effect on 1st March 2014 with a goal of strengthening building control and putting in place building certification requirements. The regulations prohibited building owners from using or occupying a new building before a Certificate of Compliance on Completion was registered by the Building Control Authority.

The Basics of Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I No. 9 of 2014)

Any Commencement Notice issued after 1st March 2014 requires compliance with S.I. No. 9 of 2014. This includes:

  • The design and construction of new dwellings, or an extension to a dwelling that is larger than 40 square meters
  • Any works or buildings which must comply with Part III of the Building Regulations (Fire Safety Certificates) including day centres, buildings including a flat, hotels, shopping centres etc.

Commencement Notices issued before 1st March 2014 have not been required to comply with S.I No. 9 of 2014.

The amendment introduced a number of changes to Ireland’s Building Regulations:

  • Commencement Notices must be filed electronically on a Building Control Management System – to include a variety of documents from plans to product specifications. The owner of the building is required to assign a builder, and a designer is required to certify the building’s design. The Commencement Notice must also include an Inspection Plan.
  • The building owner must submit a Notice of Assignment to Inspect and Certify Works which nominates a person, an Assigned Certifier, to the Building Control Authority. This person becomes responsible for inspections throughout the build process and certifying the works (compliance with all Building Regulations) once complete.
  • Other forms such as the Certificate of Compliance – Design, Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Assigned Certifier), Notice of Assignment of Builder and Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Building) are also required.

To summarise, the building’s owner must certify the competency of the builder and the Assigned Certifer, the Assigned Certifier must certify that he or she will use reasonable skill, care and diligence during all inspections and when certifying the works or building (or when using a person on his/her behalf) and the builder must certify that he or she has been chosen by the owner to carry out the works and is competent to do so.

A Certificate of Compliance on Completion is completed by both the Builder and the Assigned Certifier when the works are finished (Part A by the Builder and Part B by the Assigned Certifier). This is to include the official Inspection Plan and any changes made to this plan throughout the works as required. The Building Control Authority then has a responsibility to register these certificates and make them available to the public.

What the New Reforms to S.I. No. 9 2014 Will Do

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Paudie Coffey, T.D., and Minister Alan Kelly, T.D., have announced reforms to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 as they relate to single dwellings and for extensions in a domestic application. The reforms will replace the need for Certificates of Compliance that were mandatory under S.I. No. 9 2014 and instead allow owners that are self-builders, for example, to show they have met Building Regulations (at a minimum) through alternative measures.

The reforms will introduce a Local Authority inspection process with cooperation between the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and The County and City Management Association. The new process should continue to ensure that single dwellings and extensions on existing dwellings continue to meet Ireland’s Building Regulations and Building Controls.

The mandatory requirements of S.I. No. 9 2014 will still apply to commercial buildings and multi-unit residential developments, for example. Local Authorites will now have to comply with all building control regulations, as well.

Increasing the Number of Assigned Certifiers

The new reforms announced will also help to increase the number of Assigned Certifiers required by Building Regulations. The current technical assessment procedure is only open to a small number of architects that meet requirements, limiting the number of Assigned Certifiers currently available to builders across Ireland. The reforms will introduce a new ‘special entry’ path while still adhering to the practice-trained and career requirements for building certifier candidates. Irish Building Magazine also notes that the registration of architectural technologists is also in the works to help expand the pool of eligible candidates while continuing to ensure all new buildings continue to meet building control requirements.

A quote in the same Irish Building Magazine article from Minister Coffey says “This approach restores the balance of power to consumers. Nobody who invests in their own home would spend money on substandard work but people should not have to pay at inflated rates for excessive inspection services”.

The new reforms to Ireland’s Building Control Regulations will be effective as of 1st September 2015.

Many in the construction industry have been vocal about their support or opposition of the new reforms. Be sure to comment below and add to the discussion.

Source: “Kelly and Coffey Announce Reforms to the Building Control Regulations | Irish Building | Ireland’s Leading Construction News & Information Portal.” Irish Building Magazine. N.p., 01 Aug. 2015. Web. 05 Aug. 2015.