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The Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) is established and operated by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) for the purpose of developing and promoting best practice in the sector. In its establishment the CIF has responded to the wishes of the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and expects that the Register will help users of construction services when selecting a competent contractor/ builder and otherwise discharging their responsibilities under the Building Control Regulations.
All CIRI registered members have made firm commitment to excellent building principles and to abide to an Industry Code of Ethics. In addition the Register contains important information about its members and this information may assist owners when selecting a contractor/ builder.
CIRI registered members must be VAT registered (if applicable), maintain appropriate insurances, and must ensure compliance with all statutory regulations.
The CIRI Code of Ethics requires registered members to be advocates of quality construction practice to colleagues and to the general public, and to accept the economic, social and environmental responsibilities associated with working on construction projects.
If you have any concerns that your CIRI registered member is in breach of the undertakings provided on registration, or that the information provided on the Register is incorrect or misleading, you may make a complaint to the Construction Industry Registration Board (CIRB). The Construction Industry Registration Board (CIRB) is an independent board established to provide governance to the Construction Industry Register Ireland. Decisions of the CIRB regarding any complaint may be appealed to an independent Complaints and Appeals Committee who’s decision shall be final and binding.
Whilst registered members have to conform to certain criteria upon joining the Register and throughout their membership, the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) does not offer any guarantee against their work. The Construction Industry Registration Board offers a formal complaints procedure where it is believed that a registered member is in breach of a statutory requirement, has failed to adhere to the Code of Ethics or Commitments made on registration, or has provided incorrect or misleading declarations on registration. CIRI will endeavour to provide advice and to assist in the resolution of any issues between a registered member and their client amicably and in a timely fashion in so far as is possible.
The CIRB or the CIF is not in a position to make a judgement on the technical and construction rights or wrongs or a particular case or in apportionment of blame to an individual or company.
Before making a complaint to the CIRB, the following actions are advised:
If you do not receive a satisfactory response to the concerns raised, or if you cannot reach agreement on an appropriate solution, you may contact the CIF for general advice.
Some concerns and disputes may relate to matters agreed in the construction contract and these are best dealt with by using the facilities provided in the contract for resolving disputes. These may include; Mediation, Adjudication, Conciliation, Arbitration and possibly Litigation, all of which are further discussed in Appendix 1.
CIRI provides guidance and advice on the duties and responsibilities of registered members and assist you in ascertaining the appropriate procedures to follow. If the matter is straightforward such as an alleged delay in communication between the registered member and the client, CIRI can intervene and ask that the member deals with the client’s business expeditiously.
Under the provisions of the Construction Industry Register Ireland, CIRI will offer an independent Mediation Service aimed at resolving problems and disputes between registered members and their clients. The Mediation Service will require the agreement of both the client and the member to proceed. Mediation has the advantage that if a resolution is possible, the matters can be resolved quickly and at low cost. Normally, each party (the client and member) bears their own costs and the parties are jointly liable for the mediator’s costs in equal shares unless the mediator decides otherwise.
CIRI is not in a position to intervene in any contractual dispute between a registered member and a client or to give specific advice or assistance on any technical issue.
Any person may make a formal complaint to the Construction Industry Registration Board (CIRB) if it has grounds to believe that the registered member is in breach of a statutory requirement, has failed to adhere to the Code of Ethics, or has provided incorrect or misleading declarations on registration. All documentation submitted should be referenced as “Notice of Complaint to CIRB”. The CIRB will investigate all complaints and will enforce appropriate sanctions where complaints are upheld. The sanctions may include removal of the member from the register. The CIRB has the authority to suspend a member whilst investigations are being carried out.
Where it is determined that a registered member is guilty of poor professional performance or misconduct the CIRB may;
Any sanction taken by the CIRB against a registered member may be deemed to be information available to the public and be available on the CIRI public database.
If the complainant or the registered member is dissatisfied with the outcome, they may appeal the decision to the CIRI Complaints and Appeals Committee (CAC). Notice of appeal must be received by CIRI within 21 days of the date of the CIRB’s decision.
CIRI will appraise the complainant of progress and let them know of the outcome.
Complaints about a registered member should be submitted to:
Construction Industry Registration Board
Construction Industry Federation
Mediation is an informal process designed to establish agreement between the parties. A mediator may be identified in the building contract or appointed by agreement between the parties. Mediations are generally low cost, however where agreement cannot be reached the mediator will not make a recommendation and the parties will have to proceed to another form of dispute resolution, unless the matter is otherwise agreed.
The parties to a construction contract may agree to mediation whether or not it is provided for in the contract.
Conciliation and Arbitration
Conciliation and Arbitration are the standard dispute resolution procedures provided in most building contracts. Conciliation is a two step process where, firstly, the conciliator seeks to establish an agreement between the parties. Where this cannot be achieved the conciliator will issue a recommendation. The conciliator’s recommendation is binding on the parties, save in the circumstances that one or other seeks an Arbitration. Conciliation is a semi-formal process and the costs are moderate to high for the parties concerned.
Conciliation procedures have been published by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland in agreement with the Society of Chartered Surveyors and the Construction Industry Federation.
Arbitration is normally final and binding on the parties. It is a formal and often lengthy process similar to litigation. Costs are generally high, sometimes to the extent that it may not be an affordable option.
The Construction Contracts Act 2013 introduced Statutory Adjudication to building contracts. Adjudication has been used in the UK and other countries from many years and is seen to be an expedient and low cost procedure for dispute resolution. Adjudication will be available to parties to a building contract on a statutory basis irrespective of whether it is provided for in the contract
The Construction Contracts Act 2013 sets out the adjudication process in the event of payment disputes. Procedures for appointment of Adjudicators have not yet been finalised by Government.
Legal Action (Litigation)
Litigation is seldom desirable as a means of resolving construction disputes, however where the building contract does not provide, or the parties cannot agree on any of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods discussed above, it may be the only option available. Advice should always be sought from a legal practitioner, expert in construction law, before resorting to the Courts.
The procedure for the appointment of Mediators, Conciliators and Arbitrators is set out below. Note that the specific procedures for appointment may vary depending on the terms and conditions of the contract entered into between the parties. Parties are advised to check the terms and conditions of their contract prior to appointment of mediators, conciliators or arbitrators:
Either party may activate the mediation process by giving written notice to the other party seeking the appointment of a mediator. If the parties are unable to agree upon a mediator within a period of 15 working days of the notice seeking the appointment of a mediator, either party may apply to the President of the Construction Industry Federation who shall appoint a mediator. If there is a fee for the appointment, the parties shall share it equally. Once a mediator has been appointed to a dispute between the parties, unless the parties agree otherwise, the same mediator shall deal with all other disputes between the parties, provides he/ she is agreeable to do so.
If the mediation is concluded without the dispute having been resolved, either party may activate the conciliation process by giving written notice to the other party seeking the appointment of a conciliator. If the parties fail to agree a conciliator within 15 working days of the notice seeking the appointment of a conciliator, either party may apply to the President of the Construction Industry Federation who shall appoint a conciliator. If there is a fee for the appointment, the parties shall share it equally.
The parties shall jointly appoint an arbitrator and, if the parties are unable to agree an arbitrator to be appointed, the arbitrator shall be appointed by the President of the Construction Industry Federation.
15 January 2014