The Building Control Act 1990 places a clear statutory obligation on owners, designers and builders to ensure that buildings are designed and constructed in compliance with the building regulations. This applies to all sectors of the construction industry, including the self-build sector. Neither the Building Control Act 1990 nor any regulations made thereunder, including the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, place any restriction on whom an owner may assign as a builder once the owner is satisfied that the builder is competent to undertake the works involved.
An owner who intends to self-build, and who contracts out elements of their work to other parties, must assume legal responsibility for ensuring that the building or works concerned will comply with the requirements of building regulations.
The reply to Question Nos. 432 and 434 of 4 February 2014 addresses some of the practical considerations that arise for an owner in meeting their obligations as owner and as builder in a self-build situation. An Information Note on Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and the Self-Build Sector issued by my Department on 26 February 2014 has also been placed in the Oireachtas library.
The responsibility of the manufacturers of construction products to provide robust and reliable information in relation to the performance characteristics of such products arises from Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down harmonised conditions for the marketing of construction products and repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC. In addition, the National Standards Authority of Ireland has also produced additional guidance in respect of some harmonised standards in the form of National Annexes or Standard Recommendations which set out appropriate minimum performance levels for specific intended uses of certain products in Ireland. The key effect of the EU Construction Products Regulations is that since 1 July 2013, manufacturers of any construction product which is covered by a harmonised European product standard (known collectively as hENs) are required, when placing a product on the market, to make a Declaration of Performance for the product, and to affix the product’s CE mark.
The recent reforms of the arrangements in place for the oversight of building activity will mean that all those along the supply chain, including small quarries and joinery shops, can now expect certification to be sought in relation to the products they carry.