The introduction of the new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (“the 2014 Regulations”) was the subject of some debate and in particular was criticised by many consumers as having huge cost implications for them in the construction of a new home for their personal use.
The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government engaged in a consultation process in relation to the 2014 Regulations in Spring 2015 and following this the Building Control Amendment No. 2 Regulations 2015 (the “2015 Regulations”) were brought into effect on 1 September 2015.
The system introduced under the 2014 Regulations provided for the appointment of an “Assigned Certifier” who would oversee the inspection plan for the construction and inspect and certify compliance with the Building Control Regulations both during construction and again on completion. This was criticised by some as leading to increased professional fees by adding another layer of self-certification to the system and having a particularly harsh effect on one off home construction or domestic extension.
Under the 2015 Regulations, the construction of new single dwellings and domestic extensions will not be subject to the mandatory certification requirements of the 2014 Regulations. An owner of such a property can chose to either:
(i) abide by the certification and inspection process set out in the 2014 Regulations; or
(ii) opt out of the 2014 Regulations requirements by filing a “Declaration of Intention to Opt Out of Statutory Certification” when filing the Commencement Notice for the development works.
The Department of Environment, Community and Local Government has issued a detailed information note for owners who opt out of the certification requirements under the 2014 Regulations and advise homeowners to carefully consider the implications of opting out of the certification system.
The change has been welcomed by many owners seeking to build their own home and/or carry out an extension to their home as it is believed that this will alleviate the higher professional fees which were being charged in order to comply with the 2014 Regulations.
Concerns have been raised by the industry in general however arguing that having an exemption available for one category of property will potentially lead to a two-tier housing market (those developments which are certified under the regulations and those which are not) and result in differing levels of compliance with building standards in Ireland.