Opinions on Compliance are required for all new build work and for any addition or extension work to an existing property.
Opinion on Compliance is an important legal document that certifies the building is in accordance with the planning permission granted and Building Regulations . They represent an essential element of conveyancing documentation and as such Architects adopt a significant liability in relation to the opinion they give.
RIAI members are advised to use the standard forms prepared by RIAI .
Since 1997 the Law Society has required that confirmation letters from consultants, contractors, sub-contractors, suppliers, etc. be attached to forms for Opinions on Compliance. RIAI members are advised to notify consultants, contractors, sub-contractors, and suppliers that they will be required to complete letters of confirmation. This notification should be given when consultants are appointed and in tender documentation and specifications. It is also recommended that tender conditions state that a final certificate will not be issued until such time as such confirmation is received.
What happens if the original Architect is not available?
There is no standard form for circumstances when an Architect is requested to sign an opinion on compliance for either planning permission or building regulations when they were not the architect for the building or development.
If the original Architect is still available, he or she is the appropriate person to sign the opinion.
If the original Architect is not available, either deceased or not contactable i.e. permanently residing abroad, an opinion on compliance for planning permission can be issued, if the planning permission file is available from the planning authority and confirmation is possible by comparison with the file and a visual inspection.
Confirmation with Building Regulations is not as simple, as the building or development has been constructed. Compliance with the Building Regulations could only be confirmed with confidence by opening up and the extent of opening up could be considerable, which in most cases is not viable. Compliance may possibly be confirmed where the original drawings are available for scrutiny and a comparison with the property or structure is possible. Compliance may also be possible for a simple structure.
Can the Architect, with confidence, confirm compliance with the Building Regulations ?
RIAI advises their members to exercise extreme caution and avoid offering opinions on Building Regulations when they were not the original Architect for the building or development.