AKC News // Registration of Architects, Building & Quantity Surveyors

Roche publishes major Building Control Bill

  • Architects and other Building Professions to be Registered
  • New Energy Rating requirements for houses and businesses
  • Better building access for people with Disabilities
  • Stricter Controls on Fire Safety
  • Enforcement of Building Code to be tightened

"A good day for the consumer": Roche

"The Building Control Bill 2005 will be seen in years to come to be one of the most progressive pieces of consumer law to be brought forward in recent decades," said Mr. Dick Roche TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. The Minister was speaking today (22 December 2005), when announcing the publication of the Bill.

The Bill achieves this on a number of levels:

  • It will assure the public calling themselves Architects, Building Surveyors and Quantity Surveyors are properly qualified.
  • It strengthens the enforcement of Building Control law to ensure that Ireland's high building control standards are fully adhered to.
  • It provides for the energy rating of houses and commercial buildings ? together with new Building Regulations these measures will bring long term cost savings to householders and business and help meet Ireland's greenhouse gas emission obligations under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Bill also marks a further move in implementing this Government's commitment to disability by requiring commercial buildings and apartments blocks to be certified as being compliant with Disability Access requirements.

"With building activity running at all time record levels in Ireland, it makes sense to strengthen our building control system; and to seek to improve the energy performance of our existing and new building stock", said Minister Roche.

Statutory Protection of Titles of certain Building Professions

Minister Roche stated: "The time is long overdue for legislation to protect consumers from unqualified people passing themselves off as qualified building professionals. Accordingly, the Building Control Bill 2005 provides for the registration of the titles of:

  • Architect
  • Building Surveyor, and
  • Quantity Surveyor.

This means that only qualified people on a statutory register will in future be entitled to use these titles. The statutory registration system for architects is to be administered by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) and for building surveyors and quantity surveyors by the Society if Chartered Surveyors (SCS) . Minister Roche stressed that: "the eligibility criteria for registration will not be decided by the relevant registration bodies. The Bill lays down a rigorous system to ensure that the highest standards are met."

Amendment of the Building Control Act 1990

Minister Roche noted that: "We've now had almost 15 years experience of the operation of the Building Control Act 1990 (which came into effect on 1 June 1992). It is now timely to strengthen the provisions in the light of practical experience to date in the building industry, feedback from local authorities and advice from the Building Regulations Advisory Body (BRAB)".

In particular, the Bill focuses on enhancing fire safety controls, better compliance with the disability access requirements of the Building Regulations, and gives teeth to the enforcement of building control legislation.

"The introduction of a Disability Access Certificate will ensure that the disability compliance requirements of the Building Code are fully respected. This is one of my Department's core commitments to the disability sector. The requirements will advance the rights of people with disabilities to enter and use buildings & a precondition for equal access to services and employment.

In parallel with the publication of the Bill today, I am also embarking on a public consultation exercise to review the current building control standards as they relate to disability & the Part M requirements. I hope all interested parties will actively engage in that process," stated Minister Roche.

EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

On energy performance Minister Roche pointed out that: " the heating and cooling of buildings account for an estimated 45% of energy consumption and of related CO2 emissions. The conservation of energy in buildings must be a key part of any energy policy at national or EU level and is a cornerstone of the National Climate Change Strategy."

"This Bill, together with new Building Control Regulations which I will be announcing shortly will put Ireland to the forefront of the EU in driving energy efficiency in our homes, offices, factories and other commercial buildings. This will be a win/win situation for energy savings and the environment."

"This is a progressive Bill. It is a Bill which will be welcomed by all who interact with the building industry and those within it who are entitled to have their reputation protected.

"It will enhance fire safety, promote energy efficiency, advance the rights of people with disabilities, and drive innovation in the building sector. With Ireland now taking active steps to implement the EU Directive on Energy Performance in Buildings it is yet another area where Ireland is leading the way in Europe on environmental performance," concluded Minister Roche.


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Note for Editors

Procedures for entry onto Statutory Register

Architects, Building Surveyors and Quantity Surveyors with appropriate third level education and training will be entitled to automatic registration, via an Admission Board.

However, for persons with long standing experience, but without formal qualifications, the Bill provides for a transparent system of an independent Technical Assessment Board and Appeals Board, with a final right of appeal to the High Court.

The various registration related Boards will have a majority "lay" (non-building professional) representation and will be chaired by a lawyer or retired judge. The registration provisions in the Building Control Bill take account of the recently adopted EU Directive on the Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications(2005/36/EC of 7 September 2005).

Amendment of the Building Control Act 1990

The main amendments to the existing building code as follows:

  • Disability Access Certificate (DAC) system: introduction of a DAC system, whereby the design of new Non-Domestic Buildings (factories, offices, shops, hotels, restaurants etc.) and Apartment Blocks will have to be certified, by the local building control authority as compliant with Part M (Access for People with Disabilities) of the Building Regulations, before work commences. This is in accordance with a recommendation made by the Report of Commission on the Status of People with Disabilities and fulfils a commitment made in the DEHLG Outline Sectoral Plan published under the Disability Act 2005.
  • Fire Safety Certificate (FSC) system: the existing system is to be refined, as recommended by the Building Regulations Advisory Body (BRAB).
  • High Court Injunction: right of building control authority to obtain injunction to be broadened to allow, for example, an injunction to be obtained stopping the construction or occupation of new building for which a Disability Access Certificate of Fire Safety Certificate has not been sought or granted.
  • Summary Prosecution: building control authority to have option to prosecute all offices under the Building Control Act 1990 in the District Court, as an alternative to prosecution on indictment by the DPP. This will simplify the prosecution process. Where the authority is successful in obtaining a summary conviction, any fine imposed by the District Court will accrue to the authority.
  • Maximum Fines: the maximum fine for a summary conviction is being increased from €1,000 to €5,000 and, in the case of a continuing offence, from €190 per day to €500 per day. The maximum fine for conviction on indictment is being doubled from €12,500 to €25,000.

EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive

The Building Control Bill 2005 transposes the following provisions of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (2002/91/EC of 16 December 2002):

Building Energy Rating (BER): of new Dwellings, with effect from 1 January 2007: new Non-Domestic Buildings, with effect from 1 January 2008; and Existing Buildings, when sold or let, with effect from 1 January 2009;. This will require the issuing of certificates for these buildings when they are sold or let explaining the energy rating and suggesting ideas for improving energy efficiency, e.g. installation of insulation.
Alternative Renewable Energy Systems (ARES): economic and technical feasibility of ARES to be considered during the design of large new buildings over 1,000 m2 (10,800 square foot), with effect from 1 July 2006. Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) will publish software in 2006, to assist designers in carrying out such assessments.
Dates as set out in Draft Action Plan to Implement the EPBD in Ireland (April 2005), to be specified in Regulations to be made under Building Control Bill 2005.
File Updated On: 22:12:2005

Source: http://www.environ.ie/DOEI/DOEIPub.nsf/0/203164c399e8d7c3802570df00358755?OpenDocument

Date : 25-01-2006