1. Introduction - what are the BCAR regulations?
1.1 Status and Purpose of Code
(1) This Code of Practice is published by the Minister with reference to Article 20G of the Building Control Regulations. The purpose of the Code of Practice is to provide guidance with respect to inspecting and certifying
works or a building for compliance with the requirements of the Second Schedule to the Building Regulations1.
(2) Where works or a building to which the Building Control Regulations apply are inspected and certified in accordance with the guidance contained in this Code of Practice, this shall, prima facie, indicate compliance with the
relevant requirements of the Building Control Regulations.
(3) The provisions of any guidance contained in this Code of Practice concerning the use of a particular inspection framework or approach will not be construed as prohibiting the use of other suitable frameworks or approaches.
(4) The Building Control (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2015 (S.I. No. 365 of 2015) give the owner of works involving the construction of a new single dwelling, on a single unit development, or of a domestic extension, the
facility to opt out of the requirements to obtain statutory certificates of compliance signed by a registered construction professional. An Information Note for Owners of new dwellings and extension who opt out of Statutory
Certification for building control purposes is available separately on the Departments website2. This Code of Practice does not apply in such circumstances.
1.2 Overview of Code
Building Control Regulations provide for matters of procedure, administration and control for the purposes of securing the implementation of the requirements of the Building Regulations and of demonstrating how compliance with such requirements has been achieved in relation to the building or works concerned.
This Code of Practice gives practical guidance on relevant statutory provisions for persons who undertake the role of Assigned Certifier as provided for in the Building Control Regulations and who are tasked with preparing an inspection plan to be implemented by themselves and others during construction in order that they are in a position to sign the Certificate of Compliance on Completion as Assigned Certifier.
The code sets out standards and procedures that should be adhered to by:
• Building owners
• Building Control Authorities
• Building materials and component manufacturers.
This Code of Practice covers the inspection and certification aspects of the Building Control Regulations and replaces the Code of Practice dated February 2014 and applies to buildings and works for which Certificates of Compliance under the Building Control Regulations are required. The areas covered include:
• Lodgement of plans and documentation
• Inspections during construction
• Roles and duties.
1.4 Regulatory Design Principles
The overall objective of the revised building control system is to achieve better building construction. The aim is to ensure that all involved in the construction process and the regulatory system work effectively to achieve this. A set of design principles has been used in developing the system of building control and in particular this code. These principles are summarised as follows:
1) using a number of complementary measures and interventions to achieve compliance;
2) putting in place reasonable and appropriate interventionist measures as necessary to ensure quality outcomes are achieved;
3) providing early warning of non-compliance (for the benefit of private sector and building control authorities) so as to build in regulatory responsiveness and to increase the dependability of outcomes;
4) empowering third parties (both commercial and non-commercial) to positively influence compliance with regulatory requirements, thereby achieving better outcomes at less cost and deploying available regulatory resources as
effectively as possible; and
5) encouraging all participants to achieve good outcomes and recognising that, while the legal requirements set minimum standards which must be achieved, there should be an ambition to exceed these.
1.5 Regulatory Oversight
Oversight is central to the revised arrangements for the control of building activity that will operate from 1 March 2014. Building Control Regulations require the private sector to play an active part in achieving compliance and providing better buildings. A key aim of the Code is for regulatory oversight to ensure a culture of compliance with
Building Regulations using a risk based approach to target those who are noncompliant.
Building Owners, Designers and Builders are responsible for the notices, certificates, plans and documentation that are to be lodged with building control authorities.
Regulatory oversight is necessary in order to ensure that any failure of regulation among the agencies involved – be they Building Owners, Designers, Builders and/or Building Control Authorities is detected and remedied in an effective and timely manner.
A key element in detection is the system of risk analysis, whereby the online Building Control Management System, having regard to the notices and documents lodged at commencement, will inform the Building Control Authority’s decisions to deploy available resources towards the inspection and investigation of those construction projects where the risk of failure is highest. This will help Building Control Authorities to escalate findings of non-compliance and, where necessary, effectively use their powers of inspection, enforcement and prosecution in the event of serious breaches of Building Regulations. The aim is that the powers of enforcement and prosecution will become a more credible threat to those who are non-compliant.