Assigned certifier – what is it and how will they benefit my project?
Building Control Amendment Regulations S.I. No. 9/2014
The Building Control System aims to ensure the safety of people within the built environment and is centred on the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2014 which provides for the making of Building Regulations and Building Control Regulations. The Building Regulations 1997 – 2014 are a set of legal requirements for the design and construction of new buildings. It also applies to extensions, material alterations and certain changes of use to existing buildings. The aim of the Building Regulations is to provide for the safety and welfare of people in and about buildings. The Building Control Regulations 1997 – 2015 provide for matters of procedure, administration and control for the purposes of securing the implementation of and compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations. On the 1st March 2014, new laws relating to the commencement and certification of construction works came into effect (BCAR 2014). The new laws include the nomination of a ‘Builder’ to carry out works in accordance with the Building Regulations, and the nomination of a competent person, an ‘Assigned Certifier’ to inspect the works to ensure compliance with the Building Regulations. The submission of additional documentation with a Commencement Notice at commencement stage, and the introduction of a Certificate of Compliance on completion are some of the new requirements introduced.
The role of the Assigned Certifier is to act as a single point of contact for co-ordination of the design, inspection and certification of a building project from the design stage (pre-commencement), until completion. The purpose of the role is to demonstrate that all necessary Building Regulations have been considered at the design stage and that these have been implemented in the final constructed building or works. The Assigned Certifier is an integral part of the project team, acting in a coordination role between the design team, contractor and client in relation to the overall compliance and certification with regards Building Regulations
The nominated Assigned Certifier must be a registered professional (Chartered Building Surveyor Chartered Engineer, or Registered Architect) with relevant experience and competency in relation to complex construction projects. The duties and responsibilities of the Assigned Certifier at each stage are detailed in the “Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Building and Works 2016”.
Benefits of the BCAR Process
Traditionally, the policing of the construction process has relied on a self-assessment model involving builders and professionals who provided opinions on compliance. It has become evident over the last decade that there were serious deficiencies with this approach. It translated into poor quality, inspection and certification of construction projects as evidenced by pyrite damage and serious fire safety deficiencies such as with the Priory Hall Development.
The Regulations impact on all stages of the building process from initial design to completion and achieve greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations. The addition of an Assigned Certifier to coordinate and oversee inspections and certify the building on completion has greatly increased the emphasis placed on construction quality and compliance. Previously designers would issue opinions on substantial compliance. The Amendments now require strict confirmation that the works comply and each designer must supply a suite of Ancillary Certificates confirming same at completion.