The new building control regulations apply to works commenced after March 2014. The building owner must appoint a design certifier, an assigned certifier and a competent builder. A design certifier and assigned certifier must be either a registered architect, chartered engineer or chartered building surveyor.
The functions are now added to the scope of traditional contracts appointing design and construction professionals. Accordingly, the relevant institutions have modified their terms and conditions. Additional costs necessarily arise.
All building works except for extensions to domestic dwellings of less than 40 square meters are within the scope of new regime.
The legislation provides for statutory certificates and codes of practice for design and construction. Works must be designed and certified by a registered professional as above.
There is an Online Building Control Management System (BCMS) hosted by the Local Government Management Agency. A paper submission may be made, but there are additional administrative costs to cover scanning and uploading of submissions.
Building control authorities are expected to take a risk-based approach in respect of inspection. Those inspections do not relieve the building owners, designers and assigned certifiers of their assigned statutory obligations. The Building control authority should make their inspection reports available to the assigned certifier and contractor.
On lodgement of the commencement notice and other required documents, the building authority may undertake a validation process. It need not assess the documents from a technical perspective.
The building control authority must maintain a statutory register of building activity. The authorities have powers of inspection and enforcement.
A framework of standards is provided as guidance on how the building control system operates. There is standardisation of procedures for all authorities. The authority should carry out a risk analysis or inspection system of the design, inspection plan and the builder. It may seek additional information from the building owner, builder design team or assigned certifier during the construction.
The building control authority by desktop risk analysis may devise inspection schedules when design construction materials and site locations are identified as being prospectively problematic.
Role of Building Control Authority
The Building Control Authority should:
- process applications for Fire Safety Certificates and Disability Access Certificates and issue decisions on those applications;
- validate and register Commencement Notices/ 7 Day Notices and the accompanying Certificates of Compliance (Design), notices of assignment by Building Owner, and notices of undertakings by the Assigned Certifier and the Builder;
- undertake a risk analysis of each Commencement Notice/ 7 Day Notice submitted in order to inform its own inspection arrangements;
- advise the Assigned Certifier, in relation to issues of compliance relating to the building or works that are disputed by parties to the construction project;
- validate and register the Certificate of Compliance on Completion and accompanying documentation submitted in support of same; maintain the statutory Register; and
- maintain records, including records of inspection
Duties of Building Owner
The building owner must
- appoint for most building works after March 2014 a design certifier, an assigned certifier as well as a competent builder
- appoint a design team to design the new building in accordance with building regulations,
- appoint a competent builder to construct
- appoint a competent assigned certifier to prepare an inspection plan, inspect and certify the buildings and on completion to certify compliance with building regulations.
14 to 28 days before construction the building owner must give a statutory commencement notice. With the statutory commencement notice
- the design team is to issue a statutory certificate with backup drawings and information confirming that the building is designed in compliance with the building regulations.
- the assigned certifier issues an inspection plan to the building control authority.
- the builder issues a statutory certificate confirming they will construct in accordance with the building regulations.
- If required, a fire safety certificate must be already granted before this notice is submitted.
The commencement notice may be submitted electronically together with drawings, specifications and fire safety and disability access certificates. The building owner submits a Commencement Notice via the online Building Control Management System (BCMS) hosted on localgov.ie. He must first register on the BCMS system.
The BCMS allow building owners to nominate an Assigned Certifier, Designer and Builder for the development works. Each party must be registered with the BCMS system to accept their respective roles in or sign their respective statutory forms.
There are three other types of less elaborate commencement notices
- A Commencement notice without compliance documentation is the simplest type of notice and is required for material alterations in a shop, office or industrial building where a fire safety certificate is not required. It may also be used for extensions to dwell houses which measure 40 sq m or less but which requires planning permission.
- A Commencement with opt out declaration may be used for the construction of a single domestic dwelling on a development site, or for the extension of a domestic dwelling of MORE than 40 sq m, where the owner is choosing to opt out of the requirement for statutory certification.
- A Seven day notice is similar to that described above and allows works to commence before a final fire safety certificate is granted. It must be accompanied by a valid fire safety certificate application.
Undertakings for Certificates are required as follows:
- Design certificate by the design certifier at commencement
- Undertaking by the assigned certifier at commencement
- Undertaking by the builder at commencement certificate of compliance on completion by the builder and by the assigned certifier at completion stage
- Undertaking by the assigned certifier to lodge certificate of compliance at completion stage.
The online submission at commencement stage will typically include the following:
- Commencement Notice (or 7 Day Notice);
- plans, calculations, specifications and particulars as are necessary to outline how the building proposed works or building will comply with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations relevant to the works or building concerned, and including –
- general arrangement drawings – including plans, sections and elevations; ·
- a schedule of such plans, calculations, specifications and particulars as are currently designed or are to be prepared at a later date;
- the completion of an online assessment, via the Building Control Management System, of the proposed approach to compliance with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations (Parts A to M);
- the preliminary Inspection Plan prepared by the Assigned Certifier;
- a Design Certificate (with a schedule of Ancillary Certificates by members of the design team, who should also sign their certificate);
- a Notice of Assignment of Assigned Certifier by the Building Owner;
- a Notice of Assignment of Builder by the Building Owner; g) form of Undertaking by the Assigned Certifier;
- form of Undertaking by the Builder and i) the appropriate fee.
The plans and documents required at commencement stage in case of a new dwelling will include
- general arrangements of plans,
- drawings and sections,
- schedule of plans,
- calculations and specifications.
- completion of an online assessment is via the Building Control Management System of the proposed approach to compliance
- preliminary inspection plan prepared by the assigned certifier.
It may include drawings of further details, general arrangements, structural drawings showing the main structural element and specifications including materials and products and performance specification for elements that may be subject to ancillary certification.
On receipt of the Commencement Notice, together with the notices of assignment of Builder and Assigned Certifier and their respective undertakings and the Design Certificate and accompanying plans and documentation the Building Control Authority will undertake a validation process on the documentation submitted.
There is no requirement or obligation on the Building Control Authority to carry out a technical assessment of the plans or other documents submitted, / Separate to its administrative function of maintaining the Register, Building Control Authorities have strong powers of inspection and enforcement under the Building Control Acts. They should exercise these powers based on the combination of risk-based assessment and random selection.
The purpose of the lodgement of plans, mandatory inspection by registered professionals, statutory certificates of compliance and registration of certificates and accompanying documentation is to ensure a strong culture of compliance with the Building Regulations, and greater accountability and transparency in the process.
From the Building Control Authority’s perspective, any plans and documentation lodged will be readily available should the particular project be selected for a building control inspection.
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