Author: Cormac Bradley BSc CEng FIEI MICE, construction manager, RPS Group (Ireland)
On 1 March 2014, a new regime of Building Control came into force. The implications of the new system of building control are set out in SI No.9 of 2014 and the associated Code of Practice for the Inspecting and Certifying of Buildings and Works.
These two documents were generated as a consequence of a consultation process that was initiated by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government (DoECLG) and involved the five major stakeholders in the building sector: the Association of Consulting Engineers of Ireland (ACEI), the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Engineers Ireland (EI), the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and the Society of Chartered Surveyors (SCSI). However, the Department received over 500 submissions on the subject.
No précis on the consultation process would be accurate if it did not record the fact that the new regime of building control has not been greeted with universal accord. Some professionals have concerns about the new regime and the liability issues that they perceive arise from the new responsibilities that emanate from the Regulations.
However, it must also be noted that the documentation that has evolved is the product of a consultation process and, accordingly, a compromise process. With five different institutions in the room, talking to government officials, not everyone was initially singing off the same hymn sheet. However, we should also remember the new Regulations and the associated Code of Practice have evolved as a consequence of Government engaging with the sector and, in that regard, we have enjoyed a much more ‘coal-face’ orientated process than may have been the case in the past.
Since the 1 March introduction of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BC(A)R), the four ‘design’ institutions have continued with meetings to develop the Ancillary Certificates that go with the Building Control Regulations and the associated Code of Practice. As with the original consultation process, not all the parties agreed initially, but ultimately the wording and format for the Ancillary Certificates to be used by design professionals was signed off by the four institutions with a further undertaking that no changes to these certificates would be made without the agreement of all four bodies. In parallel, the CIF has developed its own Ancillary Certificates to be used by the contracting fraternity.