If I choose to ‘opt out’ do I still get a compliance cert at the end?
Q: I’m self-building in ROI and chose to opt out of the certification process, does this mean I won’t get a completion cert at the end of the works?
A: By opting out of the statutory certification process you are in many ways reverting to the way things were before the Building Control amendment was introduced: you will continue to file your commencement notice and tell the authorities who your builder is (this can be you if you are going down the direct labour route). The additional requirements are that you will have to submit your Compliance Documents before you start work and tell them you intend to opt out. This is done online on the Building Control Management System (BCMS).
You cannot however upload any Compliance Documents onto the system post-completion or during the course of the build. The documents you file are uploaded at the commencement notice stage so you won’t get a chance to file your Building Energy Rating, present technical drawings or as-built plans, for example.
Furthermore, you will not be required to file a completion certificate onto BCMS. Selfbuild asked the Department of Housing if they were thinking of introducing a facility to upload additional documents for those who opt out. Their reply was that the Department was not looking at introducing a Statutory Certificate of Compliance on Completion for owners who choose to opt out of statutory certification. The Department also pointed out:
“It is important to remember that irrespective of whether the homeowner decides to comply with the statutory certification requirements or to follow the alternative ‘opt-out’ process provided for in the regulations, they must continue to meet their obligation under the Building Control Act 1990 to 2014 to ensure that the design and construction of the building concerned complies with all the relevant requirements of the Building Regulations 1997-2017.”
To answer your question most self-builders, even those who opt out, have an independent qualified party (e.g. architectural designer, engineer, etc.) overseeing the works at key stages. This design professional should be able to draw up a completion certificate for you based on their involvement in the project. This will not be a statutory certificate of compliance but a completion certificate. It is something to discuss with them at the earliest stages of the project, and to put in your written agreement.
More information on the difference between opting in and out is outlined in the Information Note for Owners of new dwellings and extensions who opt out of Statutory Certification for building control purposes:
Next FAQ: What’s the best heating system to comply with the ROI building regulations? Full list of FAQ:Selfbuild Q&A
Astrid Madsen is the editor of SelfBuild & Improve Your Home magazine. She previously held the same role in an Irish trade publication, before that she worked at the National Standards Authority of Ireland. She graduated with a BA in Urban Studies from Columbia University in New York and holds an MBA from the Instituto de Estudios Bursatiles in Madrid. France of origin, she now lives in Portarlington, County Laois, where she's taken on the task of renovating a listed building! Email email@example.com