Opt-in or out? of Building Control – The pro's & cons cc @BRegsBlog

Following on from THIS POST on the ‘Opting-out’ change to S.I.9 of Building Control, here’s a post outlining my personal opinion on the pro’s and cons of whether you should ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’.

An explanatory Information Note by the Dept of Environment explains the two systems well and can be downloaded (via The BRegs Forum site HERE)

Opt-in:

Summary:

You opt-in to the S.I.9 system of Designer, Assigned Certifier and Completion Certificate signed by builder (Part A) and by registered construction professional (Part B) and accompanied by up-to-date schedule of compliance documents and the inspection plan as implemented.

Pro’s:

• The investment in the design, inspection and certification of works will pay dividends in terms of delivering a quality, compliant building. This is from the Dept of Environment Information note!

• There may be less legal implications should you decide to ‘opt-in’. The ‘Information Note goes on to say:

“Homeowners should appraise themselves of any potential cost or other implications that may arise as a result of choosing to opt out of the statutory certification process. Prior to deciding on whether or not to avail of the opt out option, it is recommended that a homeowner should consult with their solicitor.”

This sounds very ominous.

• If the shit does hit the fan then there’s a very definite paper trail (theoretically) identifying who is at fault. It is appreciated that it will be the Assigned Certifier almost certainly in court first but the use of Ancillary Certifiers identifies key people at both design, construction and inspection stages who will get sued after.

Cons:

• There is an inherent cost involved in appointing a Design and Assigned Certifier. Current figures have this as in the region of an average €3000 – a small price to pay to ensure the delivery of a “quality, compliant building”

• There is still doubt for self-builders if they opt-in to S.I. 9 that they are able to sign the Completion Certificate as the Cert needs to be “to be signed by a Principal or Director of a Building Company only”

• There is an inherent administrative and liability burden on behalf of all the professionals involved as well as the builder and owner.

Opt-out:

Summary:

The Building Regulations were amended via SI 365 on September 1st 2015 to allow homeowners constructing a single one-off dwelling or extension to opt-out of the general requirement of having the dwelling/inspected designed, inspected and certified by a design professional (SI 9)

Pro’s:

• You are saving money on the cost of the ‘Designer’ and ‘Assigned Certifier’ but this could be a false economy?

• Opting-out appears this is legally the only option for self-builders to design and construct their own house in line with the statutory instruments.

• There is a considerably less red-tape for all concerned

Cons:

• As opposites to the ‘Information Note’: the lack of a design professional may result in the delivery of a poor, non-compliant building. This is especially relevant in the context of only 12-15% of projects forecast to be inspected by each Local Authority.

• There may be legal implications should you decide to ‘opt-out’. Read the information note text above again for this.

Disclaimer:

All advice online is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support – in and of itself – should legal action be taken. Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.

It is an offence to carry out any work that requires planning permission and the offence can carry very heavy fines and imprisonment. You can find out whether your work requires planning permission via a Section 5 Declaration to the Local Authority

It is an offence for a person to carry out either works or a Material Change of Use to which the Building Regulations apply without notifying the Building Control Authority via a Commencement Notice.

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