The Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works brought in under the Building Control Regulations 2014 marks the end of one off visual inspections by architects for substantial development.
Prior to this the architect certified compliance with Building Regulations (think fire proofing) generally on completion of the project. How on earth could this properly confirm the building was safe without looking behind walls, under floors and roofs? It couldn't and so architects certificates of compliance rightly or wrongly became tick boxes for solicitors acting for a purchaser of property. But they were never worth the paper they were written on. The certificates became waivers of responsibility for architects.
We are all aware of the many apartment blocks now being exposed as unfit for human habitation principally because of a combined negligence by builders and architects. That prompted the new Building Control Regulations which now makes architects more accountable for their role in certifying building safety.
Now architects will be expected to produce an "Inspection Plan" which takes full account of relevant factors for the building work concerned. Those factors include: -
(a) type of building, type of construction and expertise of the Builder;(b) how complicated or relatively straightforward the method of construction is;(c) whether recent experience indicates current problems in interpreting and/or achieving compliance with certain requirements;(d) how serious the consequences of a particular contravention might be;(e) the impracticability or impossibility of subsequent inspection of closed up work; and(f) the speed of construction, or methods of fast track construction.
At last meaningful inspection!
While the builder is still responsible for supervision of the works, the assigned certifier is responsible for implementation of an inspection plan. This inspection plan will outline the nature, frequency, and intensity of inspections, coordinating inputs from other project providers and ensuring that inspections and tests are carried out. There is interreliance by all involved in the project, using a formal system of ancillary certificates. The provisions will apply to new dwellings (houses and apartments), extensions to dwellings over 40m2, and works where a fire safety certificate is required. Persons signing the Certificate of Compliance (Design) for submission with the commencement notice, and those appointed and signing off as assigned certifiers, must be a person named on a register maintained pursuant to part three or five of the Building Control Act 2007 (i.e., registered architects or registered building surveyors)