New Building Regulations from 1st March 2014

The new Building Control Regulations are a first essential step in eradicating the legacy of building failures this Govt inherited such as Priory Hall and pyrite damage. A critical function is consumer protection. The new Regs don’t actually change the legal obligation  on owners, designers and builders to design and construct buildings in accordance with the Building Regulations . They simply require them to demonstrate how these obligations have been met and provide greater clarity.

The new Building Control Regulations provide that:

  1. building drawings be submitted to the local authority before works commence.
  2. design of building is certified to comply with the Building Regs before works commence.
  3. owners must appoint a competent builder[1] to undertake and certify construction.
  4. owners must appoint an ‘assigned certifier’ to: (i) prepare an inspection plan for the building works; (ii) carry out or oversee inspections in accordance with the inspection plan; and (iii) certify that the works are in compliance with the building regulations upon completion.
  5. designers, builders and ‘assigned certifiers’ must accept legal liability for their work.
  6. any change in circumstances in terms of owner, builder or assigned certifier must be notified to the local authority.
  7. a Code of Practice (COP) has been developed by the Department in consultation with the professional bodies (i.e. SCSI, RIAI, ACEI and EI) and the CIF, which  outlines the roles and responsibilities of owners, designers, builders, assigned certifiers, etc. during building works.
  8. drawings and particulars relevant to the building works will be accessible to any person who subsequently acquires an interest in the building.
  9. building control authorities will have to draw-up a risk-based inspection plan of building activity within their area (e.g. they might decide that a single bungalow in open countryside is a low risk building activity and therefore not a priority for inspection, whereas a block of apartments in a town might be deemed high risk activity.)

The objective is to:

  • establish a clear chain of responsibility from before commencement of works to completion.
  • place a legal obligation on professionals and builders to confirm compliance with building regulations.
  • have in place a comprehensive inspection plan.

[1] CIF have initiated a voluntary register of builders, which will be placed on a statutory basis by 2015