Under the Act of 1990 Building Control Authorities have strong powers of inspection, enforcement and prosecution. While Building Control Authorities use enforcement and the courts to effect compliance where reasonable and appropriate to do so, desired results can also be achieved, and often are, through discussion and persuasion with the threat of legal action.
It is expected that Building Control Authorities will undertake an appropriate level of assessment and inspection informed by the risk analysis of Commencement Notices submitted via the Building Control Management System, thereby ensuring that available inspection resources are targeted towards projects carrying the greatest risks. Inspections by Building Control Authorities are undertaken in the interests of public safety and law enforcement.
This does not relieve building owners, builders, designers or assigned certifiers of their statutory obligations to build and construct in compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations and to demonstrate through inspection, certification and lodgement of documentation how compliance has been achieved in practice.
Where inspections are carried out by Building Control Authorities, they should make their inspection reports available to Assigned Certifiers and the Builders on an ongoing basis.The assigned certifier must implement the inspection plan with the builder. It must collate certificates, sub-certificates and ancillary certificates, warranties and tests as provided in the inspection plan with the builders. The assigned certifier is to respond to requests for additional information from the building control authority.
The assigned certifier and builder must gather the required certificates identified in the inspection plan from relevant sub-contractors, suppliers, testers and manufacturers. They must be satisfied that the building is built in accordance with building regulations. They must co-sign the statutory completion certificate and lodge it with the building control authority within 3 to 5 weeks of the completion date.
The assigned certifier must implement the inspection plan. It is to outline the nature, frequency and intensity of inspections and coordinate inputs from other project providers ensuring that inspections and tests are carried out. The provisions apply to all new dwellings, extension over 40 square meters and works where a fire safety certificate is required.
A certificate of compliance for the design must be submitted with a commencement notice; assigned certifiers must be named on a register maintained under building control regulations. The members of the design team should provide in their terms of appointment for inspection and design functions. The design certifier is to personally sign the certificate of compliance design.
Design work that is due for completion and specialist design work not available at commencement stage may require to be certified and submitted at a later stage. This should be before commencement of works or covered by ancillary certificates of compliance where appropriate.
The assigned certifier is a competent registered professional person so assigned in accordance with the building control regulations.
]The building owner is the person who has commissioned or paid for the works or has the legal entitlement to have the works carried out. The building owner must replace an assigned certifier or builder if the existing builder withdraws from the project.
There there is a change in the building owner the new building owner must give notice of the change to the building owner and also notify the building control authority in relation of all appointment.
The building may not be occupied, used or rented without being placed on the building control authority register. A certificate of compliance and completion must be signed by the builder and assigned certifier. There are statutory forms for the new certificates with standard wordings which may not be deviated from.
The builder is to certify his element of the work.
The builder must carry out works in accordance with plans and specifications of the design team and consultants as necessary and have regard to these in accordance with the requirements of the building regulations. The builder must ensure a competent person to oversee the construction. The builder must cooperate with the design test and the certifier. It must undertake the works in accordance with building regulations.
Materials must be complaint with building regulations. They must provide to the assigned certifiers such documents for which they are responsible. They must assist the assigned certifier in putting together particulars for the purpose of handover and certification. They must sign the certificate of compliance on completion and must maintain records.
The designer must design the elements of the work in accordance with the building regulations. He must design and certify the necessary plans, specifications and documentation which are required for the works. He must carry out works and inspections which are relevant to their elements of the design and liaise with the assigned certifier.
In relation to required ancillary certificates
- The designer must notify the assigned certifier of their proposed inspection regime for inclusion in the overall inspection plan. They must provide ancillary certificates when so required.
- The assigned certifier must inspect and coordinate inspection activities of others during construction. They must certify the works or building on completion. This does not include the supervision of the builder. The assigned certifier need not be but may be a member of the design team.
- The assigned certifier must provide and sign the statutory certificates namely the form of undertaking at commencement and the certificate of compliance at completion. He must coordinate the ancillary certification by members of the design team and others as relevant for the certificate of compliance and completion.
He must identify design professionals and specialists in conjunction with the builder from whom certificates are to be required. He must obtain all certificates required. He must coordinate all certifications of compliance for completion with the builder.
The assigned certifier in consultation with members of the design team must plan and oversee the inspection plan during construction. He must prepare the preliminary inspection plan and oversee adherence to it.
He must on termination of his appointment make available to the building owner the requisite certification prepared pursuant to the inspection plan. He must act as a single point of contact with the building control authority during construction. Records of inspection must be maintained.
At the completion stage the building control authority validates the certificate of compliance on completion. It includes details of the same in the statutory building control register.
The following four certificates are required to be submitted:
- the Design Certificate signed by the Design Certifier at the commencement stage;
- the form of Undertaking signed by the Assigned Certifier at the commencement stage;
- the form of Undertaking signed by the Builder at the commencement stage; and
- the Certificate of Compliance on Completion signed by the Builder and by the Assigned Certifier at completion stage
An assigned certifier may be an architect on the RIAI Register or a building surveyor on the SCSI Register, each under the Building Control Act 2007. They may be chartered engineers on the register maintained by the Engineers Ireland under the Institution of Civil Engineers Ireland (Charter Amendment) Act 1969 (Private Act).
On many projects there will be a range of ancillary certifiers certifying elements of the work including
- specialist consulting engineers such as in relation to structural, mechanical, electrical issues.
- designers of elements such as mechanical and electrical.
- other competent and technical tradespersons
- those that produce products.
Each certifier must use reasonable skill, care and diligence in performing their duties. The certificate of compliance on completion is to be supported by ancillary certificates from other members of the design team and specialist sub-contractors.
At completion stage, the Assigned Certifier is required to submit the following to the Building Control Authority:
- a Certificate of Compliance on Completion signed by the Builder (at Part A) and by the Assigned Certifier (at Part B);
- plans, calculations, specifications and particulars, showing how the completed building has achieved compliance with the Building Regulations must be lodged on the Building Control Management System when the Certificate of Compliance on Completion is submitted or at an earlier date. Where design documents have changed or supersede design documents previously lodged with the Building Control Authority with the Commencement Notice or at a later date, any such difference should be clearly identified;
- the Inspection Plan as implemented by the Assigned Certifier in accordance with the Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works.
Where there is a change in assigned certifier or builder during the project, this must be notified. It is necessary to liaise with the building control authority who may advise the parties in relation to requirements. A new commencement notice, and preliminary inspection plan may be required.
Records of each inspection must be maintained by the person responsible. They must be sufficient to identify the work inspected and identify any non-compliance. Proper evidence-based inspection arrangements and procedures must be in place.
The certificate of compliance on completion is signed by both the builder at part A and the assigned certifier at part B. Plans, calculations, specifications and particulars showing how the completed building has achieved compliance must be lodged on the building control management system when the certificate of compliance is submitted or on an earlier date.
The certificate of compliance on completion must be validated and registered by the authority before the building may be opened, used or occupied. It may be rejected by the building control authority within 21 days.
Validation by the building control authority will check in relation to completion of the certificate and signature by appropriate persons. The authority may check whether there are unresolved matters in relation to requests for information, enforcement notice or conditions attaching to a fire safety certificate or disability access certificate. The building control authority does not undertake a technical assessment.
On receiving the certificate and accompanying documents the building control authority records its details and considers whether it is valid. If it is valid it is entered on the statutory register. If the building control authority requires a revised certificate or further documentation it may within 7 days seek additional clarification.
It will include details of the certificate of completion and the statutory register.
Between three to five weeks prior to the nominated completion date the certifier may submit required documentation demonstrating compliance with the inspection plan with the authority. It may request the authority to consider the validity of the prospective certificate in order to facilitate the inclusion of the certificate of compliance on the statutory register on the nominated date. The authority may arrange validation checks to verify there were no unresolved issues.
Where the authority is satisfied the requirement in relation to the submission of documents have been met and a valid certificate of compliance on completion (consistent with the project as described in earlier documentation) is presented no later than 1 week prior to the nomination date.
The certificate of compliance will be included in the statutory register on the nominated date.
In the case of phased completion, a certificate of compliance may be submitted for each phase. Certificate of Compliance on Completion may refer to works, buildings, including areas within a building, or developments, including phases thereof. In such circumstances, one or more certificates of compliance on completion may be referenced to a single Commencement Notice.
All Builders and Assigned Certifiers signing Certificates of Compliance on Completion should clearly identify the precise building units or works to which it relates. Where it is in order to do so, the Building Control Authority should accept the certificate for the particular phase and place it on the register
Records must be retained for at least 6 years. This includes ancillary certificates, plans, specifications, documents and records of inspection.
There may be some overlap between documents held under safely held on the safety, health and welfare construction regulation.
The role of the Building Control Authority at completion stage is to validate the submission of the Certificate of Compliance on Completion and, where appropriate to include details of same in the statutory Register. The validation process will include checking that the certificate was properly completed and signed by the appropriate persons.
The authority will check that there are no unresolved matters in relation to requests under Section 11 of the Act or Enforcement Notices or conditions attached to Fire Safey Certificates, Disability Access Certificates, etc. It is not appropriate for the Building Control Authority to commence a technical assessment at this stage. Documents accompanying the certificate of compliance on completion should be retained on the Building Control Management System by the Building Control Authority.