In 2014, the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) was established as an online register of competent builders, contractors, specialist sub-contractors, and tradespersons to carry out construction work. Its objective is to be recognised as the primary resource used by consumers and industry professionals in public and private procurement of construction services. Today, the Irish construction industry still seeks a comprehensive solution to the challenge of identifying competence. That answer lies in CIRI being brought onto a statutory footing. As it stands, CIRI is a positive initiative for the construction sector and consumers alike. Bringing the scheme on a statutory footing would provide a comprehensive source for consumers and professional bodies to identify competent members who have demonstrated standards of quality, have the relevant educational training, and proven past experience in any given sector of the industry.
The requirement for each member to renew their registration membership is used to promote upskilling and CPD. Renewal requires that members ensure adequate insurances are in place, provide evidence of completion of Continuous Professional Development (CPD), and evidence of tax clearance, as well as a declaration that they have received no convictions in relation to building regulations, financial management, revenue and taxation, or otherwise. Disciplinary procedures act as a deterrent to individuals/companies trying to deviate from the requirements of the scheme. Sanctions are varied, and can include suspension, removal from the register, written warnings, and conditions imposed on the registration.
CIRI works alongside the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BCAR) which set the minimum standards for design and construction/alteration to buildings. Introduced in 2014, it currently references a CIRI registration number on its ancillary certificates as a means to aid demonstration of competency.
This is important given the emphasis on hiring a competent builder/construction company under the revised regulations. The draft bill for CIRI, which was published in 2017, defines competence as the submission of evidence of related works undertaken, relevant education qualifications that applies to categories for which registration is sought, or the employment of construction professionals with relevant experience/qualifications applicable to the category for which registration is sought.
Registered architect and elected Fellow of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Mr. Aidan O ‘Connor has now been appointed as Chair of the CIRI Admissions and Registration Board by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government. Mr O’Connor has stated ‘CIRI has been a very positive initiative for the construction sector. The government, in recognising the role CIRI is playing in improving standards, has committed to supporting its wider adoption throughout the industry. CIRI has an extensive system of checking contractors to make sure that people are hiring a reputable worker that they can trust.
CIRI gaining statutory recognition is key for industry and further promotes an enhanced regulatory environment with high standards in the industry being maintained. CIRI is an important tool for industry professionals in vetting construction companies and sole traders deemed competent as a requirement under the regulations.