I’ve done a similar post to this already but over the last week or so I’ve been listening to the Priory Court case on Joe Duffy’s Liveline ( http://www.twitter.com/talktojoe1850 ) and thought I’d elucidate on a few misconceptions:
1. Planning Permission gives the regulations, codes or details of how a building is constructed.
It’s seems to be a very common misconception (in Ireland) that your planning permission covers all the details on how your building complies with the Building Regulations.
The Planning Acts have a minimum scale of drawings (excluding site locations & layouts) of 1:200 – what possible detail could be shown at this scale? There is also no requirement to show or include any form of construction on how the building is actually constructed; the planning requirements are only concerned with the external materials of a building in terms of material and colour.
The important item to understand is that the planning permission of your building are determined by the Planning Acts whereas whether your building complies with the Building Regulations is determined by the Building Control Acts – two completely different Acts with two completely different concerns.
2. The Building Regulations just aren’t good enough
The Building Regulations are fine, in fact the Irish Regulations are some of the most stringent in Europe. The problem is with the entire concept of self-regulation (more below).
3. The Architects are to blame for signing off defective work
False (and True)
If this is what happened then yes, the architects are completely responsible (and liable) for certifying defective, non-compliant work.
It would however, be interesting to know if it was actually architects that were the inspecting professionals, I’ve heard the name “architect” bandied about on the Joe Duffy program willy-nilly and as we all know, every man and his dog could (and still does) call themselves an architect with barely any professional education, training or experience.
A small story: I was asked to add a few more houses to a small housing estate in County Mayo, I duly gave my price and was told it was way too expensive;I was then duly informed that the going rate for design, construction drawings, inspection and certification for each house was €500; how on earth can you seriously inspect work (which takes many,many visits) within this price, let alone include the design,planning and construction drawings! One of the callers to Liveline had it dead right “he who pays the piper calls the tune”. Needless to say, I didn’t get the job.
4. Self-Regulation is fine in Ireland
Obviously heard much less nowadays but I’ve heard this from other architects and I’ve even heard a senior member of the RIAI laugh at the suggestion of Local Authorities performing Building Control inspections (as per the UK) and this type of effective Building Control will “never happen in my lifetime”. Well, hopefully the debacle that is the Priory Hall Development will start the ball rolling for implementing an effective Building Control system that includes for the checking of Building Regulation drawings prior to development and then the continuous inspections during the build. It is only when these two things happen that Building Standards will improve and finally and actually meet Building Regulations and not create a scenario where potentially hundreds of peoples lives are put in risk. Remember also that I suspect the Priory Hall Development is just the tip of the iceberg.
Comments as always welcome…