Law

Introduction

In Ireland, housing signifies a vital aspect because it provides security to the people who live there. Nevertheless, the construction control system has declined significantly over the past years. The involved minister in this sector indicated that during his appointment to this position, he encountered several challenges in terms of how homes were constructed. Several homes were poorly constructed with several breaches that caused hazards. The minister also noted that he received several grievances from homeowners living in the homes that were poorly constructed.

All these factors combined led to the establishment of campaigns via the former presidents of the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI). These campaigns were aimed at introducing regulations that were not necessarily aimed at transforming the authority that regulated designers, architects and builders. These regulations offered a basis on which more clarification was to be sought and provided on the basis of minimum requirements for complete buildings. These regulations were mainly aimed at providing protection to consumers as well as restoring confidence of the entire construction industry among the people.

For these aspects to be achieved, several requirements had to be met. These included submitting compliance drawings to local authorities, developing inspection plans produced by registered engineers, architects or assigned certifiers. This was accompanied by the requirements that all designers append their signatures on mandatory compliance certificates before any construction could start. The focus of this paper is on the discussion of regulations that were initiated with an aim of reforming the entire construction industry. This discussion will include reforms that the law enacted in this country that touches on the construction control system in the entire country.

Mr. Phil Hogan, the Environmental, Community and Local Government minister declared several measures that the department and local authorities would incorporate in July 2011. The aim of this declaration was to enhance oversight and compliance with the construction regulations. The incorporated measures included: mandatory compliance certificate that would be introduced as a confirmation indicating that the statutory Building Regulations requirements have been met. Designers and architects had to submit drawings to local authorities prior the construction and after its completion. These drawings were to show the design of the buildings and that their construction processes complied with the set building regulations.  

Similarly, these measures aimed at pooling the staffs in the building control department to make them efficient and enhance proper use of resources in the local authorities. This was aimed at ensuring meaningful oversight and effectiveness in the activities that are performed during the building process. Additionally, there were standard approaches and protocols that had to be observed in order to ensure consistency in the entire country in regards to the administration of the functions or duties of the building controls. These measures also promoted further development and better support for the roles of building controls throughout the country.

Additionally, there were more measures that would reform building control according to the description of the document of public consultation. These called for the establishment of an approved register of certifiers or inspectors, contractors or builders’ registration and submission of the drawn designs electronically before any construction is started. The enactment of these measures was aimed at ensuring the implementation of these aspects as a way of establishing a stronger control system for buildings. The measures would also ensure quality results from any building process which is what the end users should expect.

There was a negative effect of the regulations of building control because they placed burdens on designers and architects. They gave exclusive focus on the document of public consultation about the responsibilities and roles of the construction professionals. There is no progress made in the other areas which would contribute to the realization of the desired results for consumers. The 2014’s Building Control Amendment or regulations that the environment minister published were aimed at preventing construction issues from reoccurring. These issues came from the use of defective materials that include pyrite. The implementation of the regulations was aimed at changing and improving building control via the provision of more regulations in the building sector. The measures ensured complete construction works with appropriate certification as per the acceptable industrial standards.

Huge burdens were imposed on the constructions owners, registered professionals and builders by these reforms. They had requirements to fulfill before and after the construction. Additionally, there was a revised process of initiating the application notice that includes completing mandatory certificates and forms. This involves the requirements for increased inspection conducted by registered experts and online management systems for building control. The first notice required different aspects as stipulated in the regulations. They include filing the management of building control measures electronically accompanied by plans, specifications, calculations and specific details of a designated work. The aim of this filing was to indicate compliance with the set regulations.

Additionally, online assessment had to be completed via the administration of building control of the approach proposed in the regulation. This assessment complied with the second regulations’ schedule and the plan of the preliminary inspection as prepared by an assigned certifier. A certificate complying with actual design and assignment notice for any qualified person to inspect and certify this work was to accompany the requirements.

Builders’ assignment notices as well as certificate complying with the builder’s undertakings and a fee were also required. Nevertheless, in cases where the commencement notice is rejected by the authority due to issues of non-compliance, a response may be issued within seven days on receiving the electronically filed notice. The same case can have a response in seven days on receiving a written notice that notifies the individuals who submitted it as well as the reasons outlined clearly.

Consequently, these instances can make the registered architect pursue Part Three of the 2007’s Building Control Act and the registered surveyors pursue Part Three of the 2007’s Building Control Act and act in the assigned certifier’s capacity. This can include the registered chartered engineers who also pursue Section Seven of the Chartered Amendment of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland Act of 1969 in executing the design certificate. In case the building owners opt to change their Assigned Certifiers, they are required to inform the control authority electronically or via other means. This should be done within 14 days. This would enable them to offer the necessary assignment forms and projects as per the regulations’ requirements.

Buildings’ ownership changes as well as works that relate to the buildings require new owners to notify the authority electronically or through other methods within 14 days about the new ownership. The forms used to apply for commencement notice can be used to apply for a 7 days commencement notice. During construction, the owner is mandated by certification and completion process to appoint their architect at the designing stage. This can also be the case with chartered engineers as well as building surveyors that the owner appoints to design their building or associated works such as the design for certified compliance that is required by the stipulated regulations.

As such, it is the mandate of the owner to appoint their assigned certifier to carry out their responsibility on the basis of their skills with diligence and care while inspecting the work that relate to the building. This facilitates processes’ coordination during inspection and certification of everything that is done during construction as well as the regulations that govern the implementation of the building plans. Competency is reflected by builder’s confirmation in regards to the undertaking as well as the works that relate to the building provided that they apply to ancillary certificates, calculations, specifications and plans. This can also include specific details that were included in the commencement notice that indicated the cooperation of the owner with the outlined inspections.

Towards the end of the works, an Assigned Certifier implements a compliance certificate upon completion that is in a format that the Sixth Schedule of Regulations includes as well as the specified actions, the inspected plans and the plans or they may require submission to the authority. This certificate’s execution takes place via the mandate that both the Assigned Certifier and the builder have. Once the entire process has been documented and received, the receipt date is recorded by the authority and appropriate considerations made within 21 days. This is followed by a consideration of certificate’s validation and notification of the individual who submitted it. The made regulations are applied to the works that relate to the construction process which require a certificate of fire safety, new dwelling as well as floor areas’ extensions which are more than 40 square meters.

If the regulations have not been complied with or observed, this causes offences which attract heavy fines or cases of imprisonment. The regulations maintain standard procedures and policies in all works that relate to buildings. They also provide comfort and assurance to the building owners that their buildings have been constructed according to the set regulation. Thus, their buildings have certification and approval from the industry after meeting the set industry standards.