In the post-boom years, defective workmanship in the construction of many properties in Ireland, both residential and commercial, has come to light. Issues such as pyrite damage and fire regulation breaches have dominated headlines, blighted the construction industry and soured consumer sentiment towards the sector. These matters have not gone unnoticed by the legislature with the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 published by the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government on the 15 January 2014 and enacted on 1 March 2014.
Which works will the Regulations apply to?
From 1 March 2014, the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (the "Regulations") will apply to a broad variety of construction projects, including new houses, house extensions over 40m2 and building works that require a Fire Safety Certificate.
New Statutory Roles
Before the works start, the "Design Certifier" must certify that the design of the works complies with the Regulations. The building owner must also appoint a "Builder" and an "Assigned Certifier" at this stage.
Commencement Notice and 7 Day Notice
The Commencement Notice or 7 Day Notice must be filed via the online Building Control Management System ("BCMS") with outline plans, calculations, specifications and preliminary inspection plan. The Regulations introduce a number of new certifications which must also accompany a Commencement Notice or 7 Day Notice:
- Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Builder);
- Notice of Assignment of Builder;
- Certificate of Compliance (Undertaking by Assigned Certifier);
- Notice of Assignment of Person to Inspect and Certify Works (Assigned Certifier);
- Certificate of Compliance (Design).
Once the works are complete, the Assigned Certifier and Builder must sign a Certificate of Compliance on Completion which must be filed before works or a building can be opened, occupied or used.
Failure to comply with the requirements of the Regulations is an offence punishable by fines and / or imprisonment.
Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works ("The Code")
The Code was published in February 2014 and provides useful guidance for potential Assigned Certifiers, Builders, Design Certifiers on how best to ensure compliance with the Regulations.
The obligations to inspect and certify a building's compliance with the Regulations during a build and on completion will go a long way towards addressing the concerns of the main stakeholders in the construction industry. The Regulations impose significant new certification and filing duties on the key players in the construction sector: building owners, builders and designers. While the benefit in these new statutory obligations is clear, it will arguably increase the cost of procuring the completion of construction projects. It is vital that stakeholder groups ensure they are fully informed of their new responsibilities under the Regulations and of the consequences of non-compliance.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.