Role of Assigned Certifier in Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014

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Role of Assigned Certifier in Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – SI-09

On the 1st March 2014 the above amendment came into effect on the Building Regulations.

The changes in the above amendment concern the interests of persons issuing certificates and their respective insurability. They revoke and replace the previous amendment SI No. 80 of 2013 and “strengthen the current arrangements in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations”. (SI -09 p31)

These changes also acknowledge the transfer of legality to “recognise the online Building Control Management System as the preferred means of building control administration”. (SI -09 p31)

Regulation 7 amends the Article 9 of the Principal Regulations to provide a revised from of Commencement Notice where works involve creation of new building, extension of greater than 40m2 or application of Fire Notice. The Commencement notice must be filed electronically via the online Building Control Management System. Regulation 7 further amends the article to oblige a building owner to notify the Building Control Authority of any changes of ownership, the Builder or Assigned Certifier and provide adequate documentation of new assignees. (SI -09 p32)

Regulation 12 inserts a new Part IIIC to the Principal Regulations providing for Certificates of Compliance on Completion. A completion certificate must be sent to the Building Control Authority and included on the statutory register before works can be opened, occupied or used. The completion certificate must be signed by the Builder and the Assigned Certifier and must include full drawings which show how the building complies with the Building Regulations. (SI -09 p32)

It is clear that in this amendment that the Assigned Certifier acts as the Legal Body on Site and is the main contact for any issues arising from compliance/non-compliance with the Building Regulations. It is the job of the Assigned certifier to collect all relevant documents which needs to be relayed to the Building Control Administration. The Assigned certifier will also inspect and certify all the works carried out on the site and check that they comply with said Building Regulations. The Assigned Certifier can be the Architect who is registered according to part 3 or part 5 of the Building Control Act 2007 or an Engineer chartered by section 7 of the Institute of Civil Engineers Ireland Act 1969 and they become a signatory on all legal documents relating to the site.

Library Project

Part K

Technical Guidance Document K of the Building Regulations 1997 (Stairways, Ladders, Ramps and Guards) concerns access to Buildings built or which have experienced a change in use on or after 1 July, 1998. In my library project I consulted Part K1 Table 1 (Rise, going and pitch) for all aspects of stair design. The former Colaiste Mhuire building itself is a protected structure in which these rules would usually not apply but due to the change of use of the building from a school to a new library, these rules had to be applied on all alterations carried out. Part K1 deals wholly with stairways, ladders and ramps specifically the technical measurements of each; they also give guidance on design issues like varying treads, non-level steps and variable going which can be difficult for users to navigate. The document comments on other aspects of the design like headroom clearance, landings, handrails and guarding which aids designers in producing a fully compliant staircase for the building. I was able to apply these regulations with regard to the public nature of the build using the public column of the table. Any ancillary staircases left over from the original design were altered to comply with these new regulations. This is most evident in the circulation of the library core structure. Part K2 of this document also applied to this new central core. Part K2 deals wholly with guarding against the risk of falling in the building and concerns barrier design in which it suggests the height, spacing and material of these barriers. Part K3 does not apply to the building as access for vehicles at ground level due is already dealt with by external ramps which are not part of the site. After dealing with all these aspects, the onus is on the designer to compile all of this into Part K4 of the regulation. This article deals with the application and compliance of the above standards in the project.

Table 1 Rise, going and pitch Par.1.1.4

Stairs

Rise (R) (mm)

Going (G) (mm)

Pitch (degrees)4

Optimum

Max.

Min.

Optimum

Optimum

Max.

Private1

175

220

220

250

35

42

Semi-public2

165

190

250

300

31

38

Public3

150

180

280

300

27

33

Note:

1. Private stairs means stairs used by a limited number of people who are generally very familiar with the stairs, e.g. the internal stairs in a dwelling.

2. Semi-public stairs means stairs used by larger numbers of people, some of whom may be unfamiliar with the stairs, e.g. in factories, offices, shops, common stairs serving more than one dwelling or apartment.

3. Public stairs means stairs used by large numbers of people at one time, e.g. in places of public assembly.

4. To ensure that the steps are suitably proportioned and comfortable to use, the rise and the going should be considered together. For comfortable gait the sum of twice the rise plus the going (2R+G) should be between 550 mm and 700 mm with an optimum of 600 mm.

5. For stairs, which are intended to satisfy the needs of ambulant disabled people see Technical

Guidance Document M – Access and Use.

Table 1,p6

Part M

Technical Guidance Document M of the Building Regulations 2010 (Access and Use) concerns access to Buildings built or which have experienced a change in use on or after 1 January, 2012. The document fully concerns access and use of the building, its facilities and its environs. It requires that regardless of age size or disability all buildings (new, extensions and alterations) are accessible and usable while all new dwellings are visitable. Importantly in my case, the document takes referral to material alterations and change of use to existing buildings, in regard to its adoption without modification may not be appropriate. Buildings of architectural or historical interest are likely to incur these alterations.(Part M, p7) Due to the nature of my library design, an extensive alteration to an existing historical building, we would apply section 2 of the guidance document which regards existing buildings other than dwellings where it is not practical to apply section 1.

Article 0.8 of the document relates to the possible problems experienced by protected buildings such as the former Colaiste Mhuire school. It states that it is important to establish what is inherently historical to the building and by establishing this it will be easier to work around this particular element to provide compliant accessible solutions. It makes referral to the possibility for partial dispensation or relaxation of the regulations according to consultation with the local Building Control Authority.

In terms of the application of Part M to my design, after consultation with lecturers, we decided that the historical aspects of the designs of 23-28 Parnell Square North would include the entirety of buildings 23,24,28 and the complete facade facing on to Parnell Square North. The remainder of the building has already been extensively altered by the Colaiste Mhuire school over its life span so its historical aspect has been negated. This is where I have located my new library core. This element of the design is completely accessible with compliance to Part M however other elements of the project are not strictly compliant due to the respective historical nature and subsequent problems with alteration.

With respect to Part M2 of the document, the external pavement has been altered to include a ramp compliant to both Part K and Part M for ease of access to the main library entrance.

To comply with Part M3 regarding sanitary facilities in accordance to articles 2.4, they have been located on the basement floor and arranged in such a way to allow universal access throughout. They have been located close to an elevator and universally designed stairs to allow ease of access. In respect to fire safety there are emergency exits which are present on the basement floor to external spaces .

While the project is not wholly compliant with Part M, it is hoped that due to the presence of at least one route through the building which is compliant that the building would receive special dispensation in accordance to its historical importance, allowing it to function as the new city library.

References

  1. Statutory Instruments, S.I. No. 9 of 2014, Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (http://www.environ.ie/en/Legislation/DevelopmentandHousing/BuildingStandards/FileDownLoad,35135,en.pdf, Accessed on 07/05/14)
  2. Building Regulations 1997, Technical Guidance Document K, Stairways, Ladders, Ramps and Guards (http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/BuildingStandards/FileDownLoad,1651,en.pdf ,Accessed on 07/05/14)
  3. Building Regulations 2014, Technical Guidance Document K, Stairways, Ladders, Ramps and Guards (http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/BuildingStandards/FileDownLoad,37830,en.pdf , Accessed on 09/05/14)
  4. Building Regulations 2010, Technical Guidance Document M, Access and Use (http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/BuildingStandards/FileDownLoad,24773,en.pdf ,Accessed on 07/05/14)

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