DFCE Points the Way Forward for Self-Build
The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations BC (A) R were introduced on March 1st 2015. The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government hope that the new regulations will play an important role in the pursuit of an improved culture of building control with an increased focus on care and safety in the construction industry. However, they are also bringing about significant change.
Those undertaking building projects now have to nominate a builder to carry out works in accordance with the Building Regulations, and nominate a competent person as an ‘Assigned Certifier’ to lead inspection of the works to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations. It will also involve the submission of additional detailed documentation with the Commencement Notice at commencement stage; and the introduction of a Certificate of Compliance following completion of works.
The Assigned Certifier needs to be either a Chartered Engineer, a Registered Architect or a Registered Building Surveyor. At the time of writing the appointed builder just needs to be competent to carry out the proposed works, but it is understood that during 2015 the builder will have to be a member of the Construction Industry Register of Ireland (CIRI).
Minister Alan Kelly’s Department is undertaking a review of the BC(A)R, particularly in relation to reducing the burden on people building or extending their own home, with the current regulations being considered too onerous for this cohort. A particular concern expressed by the Irish Association of Self-Builders (IAOSB) is that the requirement to appoint a CIRI registered builder effectively eliminates the option of self-build.
DFCE is of the opinion that the existing BC(A)R is a very welcome development, but strongly feel that the option of self-build is something that must remain open for one off houses and extensions. In order to maintain appropriate supervision and competency, we feel that admission onto CIRI should be accepted for construction professionals such as Registered Architects, Chartered Engineers and Chartered Surveyors. This would enable the following:
- Self-Builders can continue to manage and control their own builds.
- A suitable supervisory regime can be agreed with the construction professional, who must be competent to oversee the works in accordance with the Code of Practice.
This option would give increased choices to those building or extending a home. They can either choose to hire a CIRI registered builder to supervise and build the works, or they can self-build with the aid of suitable supervision from a competent construction professional. This competition will ultimately help to drive down costs on homeowners and help them retain choice.