Wednesday, 12 March 2014
Ceisteanna - Questions - Priority Questions
Building Regulations Application
I wish to state clearly and unequivocally that self-build and building by direct labour arrangements continue to be possible under the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, which came into operation on 1 March 2014.
The Building Control Act 1990 places a statutory obligation on owners, designers and builders to design and construct buildings in compliance with the requirements of the building regulations. These statutory obligations apply to all sectors of the housing and construction market, including the self-build sector.
In a self-build, the legal responsibilities of both the owner and the builder rest with the self-builder. Under the new regulations, an owner who intends to self-build will, therefore, notify the building control authority prior to commencement that he or she is the builder and will sign and lodge the new form of undertaking by the builder. By signing the notice and the undertaking, the self-builder declares that he or she will construct the dwelling in accordance with the design as certified; that he or she and any persons employed or engaged to undertake any part of the works will be competent to undertake such works; that he or she will co-operate with the inspection plan prepared by the assigned certifier, who is the registered construction professional required to be engaged during construction to inspect and certify the building; and that he or she will take all reasonable steps to ensure he or she will certify the works in conjunction with the assigned certifier on completion.
In regard to allowing local authorities to have designated, qualified personnel provide the final decision on buildings, the new regulations do not involve local authority approval of buildings. The regulations seek to make those legally responsible for the quality of construction, that is, owners, designers and builders, accountable for the steps they have taken to ensure that the building complies with the building regulations. Local authorities have strong powers of inspection and enforcement under the Building Control Act 1990 but these remain separate and complementary to the building control regulations, including the recent amendments under SI 9 of 2014. In these circumstances, the question of halting the implementation of the regulations does not arise.