The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013 under the Building Control Act 1990 were published by the Minister for the Environment on 4th April 2013. The new regulations will come into effect on 1st March 2014.
The new Building Control Regulations require:
Submission of compliance drawings and documentation to local building control authorities;
Setting out and executing an inspection place by the Assigned Certifier; and
Signing of mandatory certificates of compliance by the designer prior to construction and by the Assigned Certifier and the Builder when a building in complete.
Assigned Certifiers, (registered architects, engineers or building surveyors), will inspect building works at key stages during construction. The Assigned Certifier and the Builder will both certify that a finished building complies with the requirements of the building regulations.
The signed certificates will be statements on statutory forms stating that each of the key parties to a project certifies that the works comply with the building regulations and that they accept legal responsibility for their work.
The Assigned Certifier will be contracted by the owner/developer, which will add to the overall cost of building projects. Each Building Control Authority, when it receives the final Certificate of Compliance on Completion, will retain all drawings and particulars relevant to the project’s buildings/works and will include the final Certificate of Completion on its statutory register. The documentation will be accessible to anyone who subsequently acquires an interest in the building concerned.
The CIF has publicly commented on the publication of the new building regulations and has stated that while the new regulations will help ensure the work of builders who maintain higher standards is recognised and rewarded, they will also add to overall construction costs. The total construction cost of many new buildings can exceed the open market value of these buildings; therefore it is critically important that all other regulatory costs are reviewed so that unsustainable regulatory costs do not make construction and development unviable.
The Department of Environment is to follow the publication of the new building regulations with a Code of Practice for Inspection and Certification. The CIF was part of a sub-committee established in 2012 to assist in formulating a Draft Code of Practice. The Code of Practice is expected to be published by the Department in due course.
One of the major concerns of all industry and professional sub-committee members was the level of assessment, inspection and enforcement carried out by building control authorities. Building Control Authorities need be adequately resourced to ensure timely registration of Completion Certificates and to foster a more effective inspection and enforcement regime. This concern has been relayed to the Minister for the Environment. The Code of Practice will define the roles of the various parties: owner; builder; designer; co-ordination certifier and building control authority. The Code will also address ‘certification’: certificate of compliance (design); certificate of compliance (undertaking to inspect and certify); undertaking by builder; certificate of compliance (completion) and change of certifier or builder during the project. Lastly, the Code will address lodgement of plans and other documentation.
The CIF is developing a range of new training programmes for members on the practical elements involved in the application of the new requirements of the building regulations.