Business Building Owner - The Legal Roles You May Need!
Being a Business Building Owner setting about doing any design or construction works in Ireland can be complicated these days; especially with all the new roles which are now your legal responsibility.
New regulations were introduced in the attempt to bring much needed improvement in quality and accountability in the building sector. However, these new regulations merely left us all, including clients, wondering why an initiative intended to improve on-site standards has in reality just meant more and more paperwork and increased costs to all.
The general roles of Architect, Engineer, Services Consultant and Quantity Surveyor have been around for many years, and most Business Building Owners are familiar with them; so we won’t get into explaining these roles here. But we will explain your role as “Building Owner” and the other regulatory roles you may need to consider. We will try to keep it as simple as possible!
Building Owner - Client
As a Building Owner/Client you now have legal responsibilities when it comes to carrying out design or construction works on your building, under Building Control, Health & Safety and Energy Performance.
Under the Building Control Regulations the person who has commissioned or paid for the works and who has legal entitlement to have such works carried out on their behalf, is referred to as The “Building Owner”. Under these regulations you, the Building Owner, may have to appoint a Design Certifier, Assigned Certifier and Assigned Builder. These roles are explained below. If you want to find out if and when you need these roles, check out our Journal Post When do I need the roles of Design Certifier, Assigned Certifier & Builder?
Under the Health & Safety Regulations you are referred to as The “Client”, as you are a person who has commissioned or paid for the works and who has legal entitlement to have such works carried out on their behalf. Under these regulations you, the Client, may have to appoint Project Supervisors for both the Design and Construction stages. These roles are explained below. If you want to find out if and when you need these roles, check out our Journal Post When do I need the roles of PSDP and PSCS?
Under the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations the person who commissions the construction of a new building other than a dwelling and/or offers a new or existing building for sale or letting, shall secure a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate and an Advisory Report for the building before it is occupied for the first time, and make them available to any person expressing an interest in purchasing or taking a letting of the building. You must use a registered BER Assessor to obtain a BER Certificate. This role is explained below.
As a Building Owner/Client you have many legal obligation, one of which is to appoint competent professionals to these roles with adequate resources to design, construct, inspect and certify your building works. A competent person must possess sufficient training, experience and knowledge appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken, taking account of the size, nature or complexity of the building or works.
Most RIAI registered Architects can fulfil the roles of Architect, Design Certifier, Assigned Certifier and PSDP for you – all under one roof. Most competent CIRI registered Builders can fulfil the roles of Assigned Builder and PSCS for you – all under one contractor. Competent and registered BER Assessors can be found on the SEAI National Register.
Building Control Regulatory Roles
A Design Certifier is the person appointed by the Building Owner, under the Building Control Regulations, at the start of the design process, to design and coordinate the design by others, and to certify such design is in compliance with regulations. A Design Certifier must be a Registered Architect, chartered engineer or a registered building surveyor and must be competent to perform the duties for the specific project. As the Building Owner, you must appoint a Design Certifier prior to commencement of the Design Stage of a project.
An Assigned Certifier is the person appointed by the Building Owner, under the Building Control Regulations, to inspect and certify the building works and to coordinate the certification by others including the builder. An Assigned Certifier must be a Registered Architect, a chartered engineer or a registered building surveyor and must be competent to perform the duties for the specific project. As the Building Owner, you must appoint an Assigned Certifier prior to commencement notice lodgement, and commencement of works on site.
An Assigned Builder is a competent builder appointed by the Building Owner, under the Building Control Regulations, to build and supervise the works in accordance with relevant regulations. The Government is committed to establishing a statutory Register of Builders, and a voluntary Register is already in place (www.ciri.ie). It is the building owner’s responsibility to be satisfied that the builder is competent.
Safety, Health & Welfare Regulatory Roles
Project Supervisor Design Process
A Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP) is an individual or body corporate appointed by the Client, under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations, to oversee the coordination of the design work, and must have the necessary competence to carry out the relevant duties. The project supervisor design process must be appointed before design work commences. This is to ensure effectiveness in addressing and coordinating safety and health matters from the very early stages of a project.
Project Supervisor Construction Stage
A Project Supervisor Construction Stage (PSCS) is an individual or body corporate appointed by the Client, under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Regulations, to manage and co-ordinate health and safety matters during the construction stage. The project supervisor construction stage is appointed before the construction work begins and remains in that position until all construction work on the project is completed.
Energy Performance of Buildings Directive Regulatory Roles
Building Energy Rating Assessor
A Building Energy Rating Assessor is a suitably competent & trained person registered with SEAI on the National Register of BER Assessors. Only persons on this register can carry out a Building Energy Rating assessment and issue a certificate. A Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate indicates your building's energy performance. It is similar to the energy label for household appliances. The certificate rates your building on a scale of A-G. A-rated being the most energy efficient and G-rated being the least energy efficient. The Non-Domestic Energy Assessment Procedure (NEAP) is Ireland's official methodology for calculating a Building Energy Rating (BER) for non-domestic buildings.