Recent high profile cases relating to building control issues have been the recent focus of Government attention. This led to the introduction of Building Control (Amendment) Regulations in 2013 with the aim of increasing focus on care and safety in the industry. The 2013 Regulations were due to come into effect on 1 March 2014. However, following lengthy consultation with stakeholders, various concerns with the 2013 Regulations were identified, including in relation to the insurability of persons required to issue certificates, the need for modification of those certificates and some other essential corrections.
In response to these concerns, the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 were recently introduced. The impact of the Regulations will have a profound effect on the industry in Ireland.
The Regulations which are far reaching provide for:
- Appointment by the building owner of an “assigned certifier” such as a registered architect or chartered engineer, who accepts legal liability for co-ordinating, inspecting and certifying during the process and at completion that the works comply with the Regulations
- Mandatory certificates of compliance to be signed by designers and builders and in certain cases, owners, at commencement and on completion of the works
- Mandatory inspections
- Electronic filing on a Building Management System with the relevant building control authority, at commencement and on completion of the works, of various documents including plans and certificates, inspection plan and certificate of compliance to demonstrate compliance
- Validation and registration of the certificate of compliance on completion
The certification process imposes increased responsibilities on and potential liabilities for certifiers including professionals, builders and owners of public and private sector property. It is also likely to potentially increase costs relating to project administration, programming and insurance. Failure to comply with the Regulations may lead to fines and/or imprisonment.
The Regulations are in effect since 1 March 2014 and apply to any development that is subject to the Regulations from that date. Critically it should be noted that a building cannot be occupied or used until the final certificates of compliance are filed and registered with the building control authority.
A Statutory Code of Practice has been published for the purpose of providing guidance with respect to inspecting and certifying works for compliance with the Regulations.
Owners and respective professionals should seek advice, as appropriate on the implications of the Regulations to their new role and responsibilities.