It is anticipated that the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) will be enacted in January 2018 by the General Scheme of the Building Control Bill 2017 (the Bill). The aim of CIRI is to ensure that a high level of quality, competence and good practice in construction works is maintained. It is hoped that this will reassure consumers that they are dealing with a competent and compliant operator.

Director of Housing for the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Hubert Fitzpatrick, welcomed the progress of the Bill, stating that “all registered builders placed on the register will be required to undertake continuing training and development so that they keep abreast of new building regulations requirements and building standards.”

Registration

In order to register with CIRI, all builders, including registered companies, partnerships or sole traders, must prove competency for the category of works for which they are seeking to register.

Cost

The fee for registration is €738 but according to the Department of Housing’s Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) the new statutory register will be run “on a cost-recovery, not-for-profit basis”. In addition, it is “anticipated economies of scale will significantly reduce the registration fee”. In this way, the RIA anticipates that costs will be borne initially by organisations/persons at the registration stage and will ultimately be transferred to consumers availing of construction works and services in both private and public sectors.

Enforcement

The RIA outlines that CIF will be responsible for enforcement. It is envisaged that under the statutory scheme it will be an offence to:

  • give false or misleading information to the registration body in the context of an application for registration or a complaint or appeal being considered by the registration body
  • portray themselves as a registered member of CIRI when not
  • undertake works which come within the scope of the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2014 unless registered to do so or otherwise exempt
  • as a registered member or an applicant, fail to notify the registration body of a material matter
  • as a registered member, engage in any class of works beyond the scope of the registered activities

Those found guilty of an offence will be liable, on summary conviction, to a class A fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months.

Complaints

The RIA provides that where a registered member is found to have breached the requirements of registration CIF may, depending on the nature, extent and seriousness of the improper conduct or breach of registration requirement concerned, decide to apply the following penalties:

  • advise, admonish or censure the registered member
  • suspend the member’s registration for a specified period
  • impose additional conditions on the member’s registration
  • deregister the member

Any decision to apply a penalty other than to advise, admonish or censure requires confirmation of the High Court before it can be applied.

Benefits

The RIA outlines that CIRI will help consumers benefit from:

  • enhanced regulation and accountability for construction entities
  • compliant operators who are supported and non-compliant operators who are challenged
  • aiding individual operators and the construction industry generally to develop capacity and standards on an ongoing basis

Conclusion

CIF and the building sector in general have welcomed the move towards statutory registration which is seen as an important step in re-establishing public trust and confidence in the construction industry.

Companies can register by contacting CIRI offices or visiting www.ciri.ie and completing the online application form. The Department of Housing has promised to make CIRI registration mandatory since its inception. However, the Bill is currently in its pre-legislative stage and will be under intense scrutiny before being enacted in January 2018. Accordingly, all construction industry participants, including builders, contractors and specialist subcontractors, should make note that mandatory registration now appears likely to commence in 2018.