The latest Building Control regulations impose much higher standards on the inspection and certifying of building work commenced after March 2014.
The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, which came into effect on 1 March 2014, impose much greater demands regarding the certificates that engineers and architects must supply to those for whom they carry out building projects.
The new Irish Building Regulations were announced in 2013 but were superseded by the 2014 Regulations after representations from the industry. Any projects with a commencement notice after 1 March 2014 are affected by the new regime. An online Building Control Management System now controls the submission of documents.
Before construction commences
- The Commencement Notice must now be signed by the owner of the works. Significant changes have been made to the documentation required to be submitted with a Commencement Notice and 7 Day Notice. In general, they must be accompanied by:
- Plans and other documentation necessary to outline how the proposed works or building comply with the Building Regulations;
- A Certificate of Compliance (Design) to be completed by the “Assigned Certifier” (who must be a qualified and registered Engineer, Architect or Building Surveyor)confirming that he has been commissioned by the owner to design, in conjunction with others, the building or works, is competent to carry out the design and to coordinate the design of others and that the plans have been prepared by him and the other design professionals in compliance with the Building Regulations
- An undertaking the Assigned Certifier to inspect the building or works and to coordinate the inspection work of others and further undertaking to certify, following the implementation of the inspection plan, compliance with the Building Regulations.
- An undertaking by the Builder confirming that it has been commissioned by the owner to undertake the works and that he is competent to do so. The Builder can be the owner.
- The builder must also undertake to construct the works in accordance with the plans and in compliance with the Building Regulations, to cooperate with the inspections by the Engineer and to certify the works are in compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations.
Before a building can be opened, occupied or used, a Certificate of Compliance on Completion is required to be registered with the local authority and signed by the Builder and the Assigned Certifier and must be accompanied by plans outlining how the completed works or building differ from the plans and other documents submitted with the Commencement Notice and that they comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations and that the construction was inspected by the engineer during construction.
Code of Practice
A Code of Practice for Inspecting and certifying buildings and works has been published by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government for the purposes of providing guidance with respect to inspecting and certifying works. Compliance with the Code of Practice will, prima facie, be taken as compliance with the relevant requirements of the 2014 Regulations. However, the use of another inspection framework or approach is not prohibited.
The local authorities will maintain all of the documents lodged with them including drawings, Certificates of Compliance and the other documents lodged which may be accessed on the website or at the offices of the local authority.
Supervision and compliance
The local authority have the power of inspection and compliance checking based on the documents submitted to them. Failure to comply with the 2014 Regulations is an offence which may result in the imposition of fines and/or imprisonment.
The new regulations impose substantially greater obligations on supervising architects/engineers/surveyors and will undoubtedly increase the cost of construction. However, the will hopefully result in a better designed and constructed building stock.
Those building by direct labour (who, under the regulations, are both owner and builder) must be very careful to follow the regulations in case they end up in a position where their building is not properly certified and entered on the local authority’s register. This would cause great difficulty for them in selling or mortgaging their property.
In the event you need advice in this area, please contact our managing partner, Niall Farrell.