EOIN O’KEEFFE ARCHITECTS
01/03/2014

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BCAR) will apply to most building works (including new houses, housing and apartments, house extensions over 40m2, schools, factories, offices, shops, hospitals and other government investment projects) from 1st March 2014. While the building regulations themselves have not changed, the way in which compliance with the regulations is controlled has changed.

It is argued that the new building control regulations are needed:
– “to ensure properties are safe and compliant with the building regulations and to ensure the consumer gets what they pay for”.
– “to prevent the future re-occurrence of poorly constructed dwellings, pyrite damage and structures breaching fire regulations left as a legacy of a poorly regulated housing boom”.

Building owners, builders and designers need to be fully aware of the significant increase in the levels of accountability and the legal duties placed on them under the new building control regulations. One of the key points under the new system is the mandatory requirement for certification of buildings by “assigned certifiers”.

Building owners must now engage a registered architect, a registered building surveyor or a chartered engineer to act as an assigned certifier on most building projects. The building owner is also obliged to appoint a competent builder.

In an article in the Irish Examiner on Saturday 01 March 2014, the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) estimate that the new roles will increase the “time involvement” of professionals by “30% to 50%” depending on the nature of the project, thereby increasing the cost.

A building or site owner, must submit the following documents:

1. THE BUILDING COMMENCEMENT NOTICE – completed by Building Owner.

2. THE DESIGN CERTIFICATE – completed by the designer of the building (registered architect or quantity surveyor or charted engineer) certifies that the plans, calculations, specifications, ancillary certificates and particulars comply with the Building Regulations.

3. NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNED CERTIFIER (Notice of Assignment of Person to Inspect and Certify Works) – completed by: Building Owner.

This is where the Building Owner assigns an Assigned Certifier (registered architect or quantity surveyor or charted engineer) who will: “inspect the building or works and to coordinate the inspection work undertaken by others, and to certify the works for compliance with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations”. These inspections are to be in accordance with the new Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works.

4. UNDERTAKING BY ASSIGNED CERTIFIER – Form of Certificate of Compliance – completed by Assigned Certifier

The certificate saying that the Assigned Certifier has inspected in accordance with the Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works and that effectively the building complies with the Building Regulations.

5. NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT OF BUILDER – completed by: Building Owner

Notice by Building Owner assigning a specific person as Builder of the building or works

6. UNDERTAKING BY BUILDER – FORM OF CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE – completed by: Builder (“a Principal or Director of a building company only”). A change from the role of “direct labour” / “self builder”!

Certificate by Builder saying that he has built in accordance with the Design Certificate and therefore in accordance with the Building Regulations.

7. CERTIFICATE OF COMPLIANCE ON COMPLETION – completed by: Builder & Assigned Certifier

The certificate signed by Builder & Assigned Certifier that essentially “the building or works is in compliance with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations”

For reference, below is a recent local authority guide & FAQs to the public on Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2104). Link to PDF here:
http://www.louthcoco.ie/en/Services/Building_Control/Guide-to-the-Building-Control-Amendment-Regulations-2014.pdf

The above text is only guidance and is not an exhaustive list of the requirements imposed under the new BCAR. People need to familiarise themselves with the legislation if they are considering undertaking works that might be considered to fall within the scope of the BCAR.

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