Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Questions (132)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

132. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the fact that the builder’s undertaking on the certificate on completion according to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 is to be signed by the principal or director of a building company only, if he will explain the status of a private person, such as a self-builder, in relation to this certificate of completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14236/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

On 26 February 2014 my Department issued an Information Note on the Implications of SI No. 9 of 2014 for Self-Builders to local authorities and industry stakeholders and a copy of this note has now been place d in the Oireachtas Library for the information of members.

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI No. 9 of 2014) place no restriction on self-build and there is no difficulty in a self-builder signing the statutory form of undertaking by the builder at commencement stage or the statutory certificate of compliance on completion (Part A).

In introducing statutory certificates of compliance , SI No. 9 of 2014 supports and preserves the statutory responsibilities (on owners, designers and builders) that are already set out under the Building Control Act 1990. The chain of responsibility begins with the owner who, under SI No. 9 of 2014, must now sign the commencement notice and the notices of assignment of the Builder and of the Assigned Certifier.

The notice of assignment of a builder requires the owner to declare they are satisfied that the assigned person is competent to undertake the works. The essential point is that the owner acts with responsibility in assigning a competent builder. In practice, this assigned person will be a sole trader, a company or a self- builder and their status is irrelevant once competence is assured. If for any reason the assigned builder changes, the building owner is obliged to inform the local authority and to assign and notify a new builder.  The significance of this is that the assigned builder (and no one other than the assigned builder) must sign Part A of the relevant Certificate of Compliance on Completion.

Where the person assigned is a firm, the signature must be signed by a Principal or Director i.e. it should not be signed by an employee. This qualification of the signatory is only necessary in the case of a company. Where a self- builder is acting on his or her own behalf there are no agents or intermediaries involved and the potential for confusion over legal responsibility does not therefore arise.