Will Stricter Building Regulations Improve Building Standards in Ireland? PART III

New building regulations 2013<< Continued from Part II.  In a similar way when we carry out a new build, extension or renovation, we should do as much research as possible and get the advice of as many professionals as possible to ensure the best job is carried out.  While the new regulations do not come into effect until 1 March 2014 and only appear to cover new builds and extensions greater than 40 square meters,  please remember that all building works must comply with the current building regulations and it is an offense not to do so.  In this regard you should always consult with a certifier before any building work commences.  In consulting with a certifier you will ensure there is less chance of ambiguity in relation to the design of any renovation or extension and that the proposed works will meet or exceed current building standards.

The current regulations do not put emphasis on the competence of the builder.  While the new regulations do put emphasis on the competence of the builder, it still does not appear to do more than ask the property owner and builder to certify themselves that the builder is competent.  Therefore with the new regulations it will still be up to the property owner as it is presently to determine if the builder is competent to carry out the works.  We normally recommend that you get phone numbers of references from the builder and check them out.  We recommend that you should look for qualifications, examples of previous work carried out and any other details that you need.  The certifier should also be able to advise in this regard.  It might also be a good idea to request references from previous certifiers who have certified the builder’s work as well.

Where insurance is required to be held by the service provider we advise that you should request sight of evidence of the service provider’s insurance policy before the work commences. If you do not know if insurance is required or what type of insurance is required please ask an authorised insurance broker and he/she should be able to help.  It may also be prudent to ring the builder’s insurance broker to check the validity of the insurance and that is paid up to date.  We recommend that you agree with the service provider on some sort of stage payments for the job. Full payment should not be made until the job is complete.  We also recommend using an escrow payment facility which allows you to put the money into a holding account and to be released as each stage is completed after a certain number of days have been allowed for inspection.

So will stricter building regulations improve building standards in Ireland?  Well I think that while the new regulations have some deficiencies as outlined above they are a huge improvement on the current system.  The new regulations have been generally welcomed by all of the relevant industry bodies including the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI), The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), The Association of Building Engineers and the Construction Industry Federation (CIF).   I think from a property owner’s perspective we should always look at regulations like this as a minimum requirement and we should seek to go beyond what they require.  In doing this hopefully we can all play our part in improving building standards in Ireland.

Let us know what you think, if you have any comments or suggestions please fill them in below, we’d be delighted to hear them!

Cheers
Oliver Dempsey
Tradesmen.ie
27th May 2013

The following resources were used for research in the preparation of this article:-
http://www.environ.ie/en/Legislation/DevelopmentandHousing/BuildingStandards/FileDownLoad,32732,en.pdf
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1997/en/si/0496.html
http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/1990/en/act/pub/0003/index.html
http://www.environ.ie/en/DevelopmentHousing/BuildingStandards
http://www.irishbuildingmagazine.ie/2013/05/01/sign-on-the-dotted-line-a-new-regime-for-certification-under-the-building-control-amendment-regulations-2013
http://www.riai.ie/index.php/news/article/riai_welcomes_amended_building_control_regulations_but_cautions_more_needs
http://cif.ie/news-events/constructionissues/building-control-amendment-regulations-2013
http://www.herald.ie/news/but-nobody-is-responsible-as-five-groups-say-its-nothing-to-do-with-us-29169435.html
http://www.i-b-c-i.ie/docs/conferences/2013/1%20-%20The%20New%20Building%20Control%20Amendment%20Regulations%202013%20and%20other%20Legislative%20&%20Policy%20Developments%20-%20Aidan%20O%20Connor.pdf
http://surveyorsblog.wordpress.com/tag/building-control-regulations/
http://www.irishtimes.com/news/hogan-unveils-new-building-regulations-1.1349172
http://www.boards.ie/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2056921361
http://www.riai.ie/images/uploads/Code_for_Inspecting__Certifying_Building_Works-_Building_Control_Regulations.pdf

About Oliver Dempsey

Owner and Managing Director at Tradesmen.ie and contributor to the Tradesmen.ie Blog You can connect with Oliver on Google+ DISCLAIMER: All content provided in my articles is for informational purposes only. The information contained in these articles has been obtained from research carried out by myself through online and offline sources and through other writers and contributors who provide me with content. While I am responsible for the final editing of each article and I do my best to verify the information, I do not make representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information. Therefore you must not rely on the information contained in any of these articles and always make sure to seek the advice of a suitably qualified expert before embarking on any project.
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  • Joe Birmingham

    That’s great Oliver but what about the competent builders that are good at what they do, charge a fair price and don’t want to be bogged down with government inference and red tape at every turn about. I agree whole heartedly in checks and balances but at what stage is enough enough? As well to fund this proposed new system I am sure there will be a whole new range of taxs coming in. I am in business for myself, am fully taxed and insured which to me an unavoidable overhead in the cost of doing business. It seems to me if I need to start getting certs here and inspections there, it is going to get more expensive, which in turn will get passed onto the client and suffocate even more an already crippled economy. Let me also add in closing that to me Irish building practices are already some of the finest in the world, and although there are a few cowboys out there the rest of us small builders should not have to suffer.

    regards,

    Joe Birmingham

  • Mark

    Hi Oliver
    I think stricter regulations can help as I find in the construction trade there are alot of changers, I did a job Saturday and the man who owned the house was doing it up to rent when i pulled in i couldn’t believe the builder he was using not so long ago this man was selling vegtables in a vegtable shop here in wicklow town, he had 1 man plumbing who i recognised also who is not a plumber. From my point of view it can be frustrating competing with these men there seemed to be alot of guess work going on between them so hopefully with stricter regulations it will catch these men claiming to be qualified tradesmen out!!! : )

    Mark