1.1 Any person may make a formal complaint in writing by addressing the Complaint Form to the CIRI Admissions and Registration Board (CARB), Construction House, Canal Rd, Dublin 6 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
CIRI can only make decisions on issues that relate to 'poor professional performance' or 'professional misconduct'. Professional Misconduct is defined as a breach or a material breach of statutory requirements or providing incorrect or misleading declarations on registration. Poor Professional Performance is defined as a failure of a registered member to meet the standards of competency that may be reasonably expected of builders practicing building.
The CARB cannot provide a redress /compensation scheme for the complaint but can address the continued membership of the registered member.
2.1 Complaints may relate to a breach of any of the following conditions of CIRI registration
- a. Where a registered member undertakes works in a class of division of the register for which they are not registered and are not exempt from registration;
- b. Failure by a registered member to notify the registration body of any material matter that is likely to have a bearing on their registration
- c. Where a registered member failed, in connection with the carrying out of building works for which they are registered, to meet the standards of competence required for such registration;
- d. Failure by a registered member to implement an acceptable plan for CPD;
- e. Where a registered member has been convicted and disqualified from signing and submitting certificates of compliance pursuant to section 17 (7) of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation 2014;
- f. Failure by a registered member to declare any previous convictions under the Building Control Act 1990-1914 or the Health and Safety Act 2005;
2.2 Persons making a complaint against a registered builder in relation to the builders continued CIRI registration should have exhausted all other reasonable dispute resolution options for their complaint prior to making a complaint to the CIRI Admissions and Registration board.
For example, the following categories of complaint will not be considered valid by the CIRI Admissions and Registration Board:
- a. Builders who are not on the register;
- b. Standards of works/finishes which were accepted at the building hand over stage;
- c. Building works undertaken by the builder prior to the registration of the builder as a CIRI Member;
- d. Work that is subject to any civil/legal proceedings;
- e. Building works carried out more than 7 years prior to making the complaint;
- f. Commercial matters such as pricing or payment issues;
- g. Employment issues, such as hours of work or contracts of employment;
- h. Complaints that arise out of an absence of a contract with a clear scope of works and pricing;
- i. Complaints where all reasonable dispute resolution mechanises for the resolution of the complaint have not been exhausted.
2.3 Evidence of the contractual relationship between the CIRI Builder / Member and the complainant must be submitted with all applicants.
2.4 Where the CIRI Admissions and Registration Board (CARB) received a complaint, it shall cause an investigation of the matter, the subject of the complaint, to be carried out unless-
- It is satisfied that the complaint is not made in good faith,
- It is satisfied the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or without substance or foundation, or
- Following the making of such inquiries as the CIRI Admission and Registration Board (CARB) thinks fit, it is satisfied that the complaint is likely to be resolved by mediation or other informal means between the parties concerned.
2.5 Where the CIRI Admissions and Registration Board (CARB) decides that a complaint falls within subsection 2.1.(a-f) it shall give notice in writing to the complainant and the registered member to whom the complaint relates to and provide a time frame for response to the CARB.
Where, following the receipt of a complaint by the CIRI Admissions and Registration Board (CARB), if CARB considers that an investigation is warranted, it:
- a. shall give notice to the registered member to whom the complaint relates of the receipt of the complaint and setting out particulars of the complaint,
- b. shall afford the registered member an opportunity to respond within an indicated time period from the date on which the registered member received the notice at (i) above, or such further period at the Board may allow
- c. May appoint an inspector to carry out an investigation who, following completion of the investigation, will submit to it an investigation report
3. What can CIRI Do?
3.1 The CIRI Admissions and Registration Board (CARB), having considered all facts submitted to it, may do one or more of the following:
- a. advise, admonish or censure the registered member in relation to the matter complained of;
- b. direct that during a specified period, the registered member’s inclusion on the register shall be suspended;
- c. erase the registered member’s name and details from the register;
- d. direct that the registered member’s name and details remain on the register but impose such conditions as the Admissions and Registration Board considers appropriate, to be complied with by the registered member, and the CIRI Admissions and Registration Board (CARB) shall notify the registered member of the Boards’ decision, the date thereof and the reasons therefor and of the registered member’s rights of appeal to the Appeals Committee against the finding.
3.2 Any registered member or applicant for registration adversely affected by a decision of the Admissions and Registration Board made,
- a. May appeal to the Appeals Committee against the decision.
- b. An appeal shall be in writing and lodged with the Appeals Committee within 3 months after the date of the decision being appealed against.
- c. The appeal shall specify the decision to which the appeal relates and the grounds on which the appeal rests.
- d. An appeal may be based on either procedural or substantive matters.
- e. A person may, at any time before the appeal is heard, withdraw the appeal in whole or in part by notifying the Appeals Committee in writing of the withdrawal.
- f. The Chairperson of the Appeals Committee may-
- direct in writing an appellant to attend before the Committee on a date and at a time and place specified in the direction,
- direct in writing any other person whose evidence the Appeals Committee may require, to attend before the Appeals Committee on a date and at a time and place specified in the direction, and may direct the person to bring any document in the person’s possession relating to the appeal,
- request the Admissions and Registration Board whose decision is being appealed against to produce any documents in its possession relating to the appeal, together with its observations on the appeal,
- give any other direction for the purpose of the proceedings that appears to the Chairperson to be fair and reasonable.
3.3 On the hearing of an appeal under this section the Appeals Committee may-
- a. confirm the decision of the Admissions and Registration Board subject to any amendment thereof the Committee thinks fit,
- b. annul the decision and direct the Admissions and Registration Board to make a new decision, or
- c. give such other directions as it thinks fit.
Formal complaint to the register - Step by Step Process
Step 1: Ascertain that the builder in question is indeed a member of the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) - Search our member directory at www.ciri.ie or email email@example.com
Step 2: Upon receiving formal confirmation that the builder is a member, a formal letter of complaint along with a complaint form should be sent to: Construction Industry Register Ireland, Construction house, Canal Road. Dublin 6 signed by the complainant;
- a. Clearly outlining the circumstances that give rise to the complaint
- b. Highlight what clauses of the Code that the member has in your view breached;
- c. Include all relevant supporting documentation; and
- d. Detail any prospective or ongoing legal proceedings in relation to the matters raised.
All documentation associated with formal complaints should be referred to as ‘Notice of Complaints to CIRB. Complaints about a registered member should be submitted in writing to:
Construction Industry Register Ireland
Construction Industry Federation
CIRI cannot deal with complaints against builders who are not members of CIRI. CIRI is not a redress scheme.
DISPUTE RESOLUTION IN CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS
- Building and engineering work in Ireland covers a very wide scope of industrial, commercial and residential construction activity, ranging from infrastructure projects costing several hundred million euro to the renovation and/or extension of small residential or commercial properties. The vast majority of this work will be carried out under one of the many standard forms of construction contract. Many of these contracts have been in general use, both in Ireland and internationally, for several decades and include a range of RIAI, FIDIC, EI/ICE, and NEC contract forms. In 2007 the Department of Finance introduced a suite of contracts, known as the Public Works Contract Forms, which are in use on virtually all Government funded projects. These contracts are now available from the website of the Department of Expenditure and Reform.
- The documentation comprising a construction contract includes not just the formal conditions of contract, but also, as a minimum, the specification and drawings describing the work to be completed, and a pricing document setting out the basis on which the Contractor will be paid for the construction work. Disputes can arise during construction work for a variety of reasons, including, but certainly not limited to, unforeseen site conditions, the cost of instructions to the Contractor to carry out additional or varied work, and disagreements over the scope and specification of the design. It is internationally recognised that litigation in the Courts is a particularly unsatisfactory process for the resolution of construction disputes. Such disputes are often technical and complex and not necessarily related to the interpretation of the contract terms and conditions but to the interpretation of the ancillary documentation describing the design, specification and the site conditions which will be encountered during the course of the work.
- Historically, all standard forms of construction contract included at least one dispute resolution process as an alternative to litigation. Currently, virtually all provide that the parties engage in a two-step alternative dispute resolution process when construction disputes arise. Originally arbitration was the chosen alternative, but over the past fifty years arbitration has evolved into an expensive and protracted procedure which has singularly failed to deliver satisfactory dispute resolution outcomes to construction disputes. In consequence, since the mid 1980’s, parties to construction contracts in both Ireland and the UK have sought alternatives to arbitration. In Ireland this quest led to the development of conciliation (or more recently mediation) as mandatory dispute resolution steps in construction contracts before proceeding to arbitration. In the UK, the mandatory first step before arbitration is adjudication under 1996 and 2009 Economic Development and Construction Acts. In Ireland the Construction Contracts Act 2013 was introduced by the Government as a statutory process to deal with payment disputes in response to difficulties encountered by sub-contractors on major development projects.
- Any consumer or private entity, who engages a Contractor to carry out construction work on their behalf, should ensure that they do so by means of a formal contract. Ideally one of the standard forms of contract should be used. If not, the contract documentation should be in writing, and should include a clear description of the scope of the work to be undertaken, the agreed payment terms and contain a dispute resolution process which is an alternative to arbitration or litigation. The use of a standard construction form of contract will usually meet this latter requirement and will facilitate the timely and cost-effective resolution of any dispute which arises from the construction work. Remember that if disputes arise and an alternative dispute resolution procedure, ideally either conciliation or mediation, is not specified, then the default procedure will be litigation.
Hereunder is a brief description of the various alternative dispute resolution mechanisms referred to above.
Adjudication, in Ireland, is a statutory process intended to regulate payments under construction contracts. The legislation in question is the Construction Contracts Act 2013 which sets minimum contractual payment arrangements for all construction contracts, covered by the Act. Either party to the contract may refer a payment dispute to the adjudication of a person agreed between them, or failing such agreement, on the application of either party, to the adjudication of a person appointed by the Chairperson of the Construction Contracts Adjudication Panel.
Contracts with a value of less than €10,000, or which relate only to a dwelling with an area of less than 200 m2 , occupied, or intended to be occupied, by one of the parties, are exempt from the Act. A detailed explanation of the arrangements for the conduct of adjudications is set out in a Code of Practice, published by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. Adjudication in Ireland is untested and was primarily intended to resolve payment disputes between Main Contractors and sub-contractors and may not be suited for the resolution for disputes on private residential contracts.
Conciliation is a dispute resolution process which, in Ireland developed as an alternative to arbitration in the mid 1980’s. In many standard construction contract forms it is a mandatory, first dispute resolution step, and the parties proceed to arbitration only if they fail to reach agreement at conciliation. It is, in effect, a facilitated negotiation with the primary purpose of assisting the parties to reach an agreed settlement. Correctly conducted it is a quick, informal and relatively low cost procedure with no role for formal advocacy or legal representation.
Conciliation is a confidential and without prejudice process where the Conciliator’s role is to explore the strengths and weaknesses of each parties’ position. The Conciliator can meet with them separately and/or jointly and explore possibilities for settlement not possible in either adjudication or arbitration. If an agreed settlement is not achievable, the Conciliator will then issue a formal Recommendation which will state the Conciliator’s opinion as to how the parties can best dispose of the dispute between them.
Originally the intention of the Conciliator’s Recommendation was a pragmatic settlement proposal which could take account of factors outside the strict contractual relationship between the parties and was “not necessarily based on any principles of common law or equity”. Under the Government’s Public Works Contract Forms the Conciliator is obliged to base the Recommendation “on the rights and obligations of the parties”. Each of the Professional Bodies and the CIF maintains panels of Conciliators from which the parties to a construction contract can select a Conciliator. Each has Conciliation Procedure documents which govern the conduct of conciliation, and will, on the application of one of the parties, and if the contract conditions so provide, nominate a Conciliator to deal with their dispute.
The use of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution process has increased significantly in recent years, not just for the resolution of construction contract disputes but with a more general application to litigation before the Courts.
Mediation, like Conciliation, is a form of assisted negotiation, but unlike Conciliation it is purely facilitative, and the role of the Mediator is to assist the parties to arrive at their own decision. It provides even greater flexibility than Conciliation and the parties are not necessarily bound by the rights and obligations set out in their contract in seeking a compromise on their respective positions.
Mediation is a voluntary process and as such is one which is most likely to result in the retention of existing commercial relationships. It is conducted on a wholly confidential and without prejudice basis and, as in Conciliation, if it is unsuccessful in achieving an agreed settlement, nothing revealed in the course of the process can be used in any subsequent proceedings. It is also a relatively inexpensive and speedy process in which the role of the Mediator is to explore with the parties their interests, strengths and weaknesses and identify possible areas of compromise which could lead the parties to an agreed settlement. It can be used at any stage in the development and/or adjudication of a dispute.
All the Professional Bodies maintain Panels of Mediators and can provide Mediation Procedure documents. In addition, the Mediation Association of Ireland are available to advise on the appointment of Mediators.
Arbitration was originally developed in the UK in the eighteenth century as a confidential alternative to litigation. It began life as a process whereby commercial disputes between members of trade associations were resolved by referring them to the determination of a respected peer group or individual within the trade association. It was designed as an inexpensive, easy and timely process which resolved disputes without damaging existing commercial relationships. Over the years it has evolved into a highly legalistic, potentially very expensive, and protracted process which is unsuited to other than high value disputes.
While CIRI has made every attempt to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information provided. It is provided without warranty of any kind, and we do not guarantee its accuracy, integrity or quality. The information provided cannot be substituted for the advice of a licenced professional relevant to your circumstances. You should not rely on any information appearing on www.ciri.ie to make (or refrain from making) any decision or to take (or refrain from taking) any action on which reliance should be placed. Please see CIRI Terms and Conditions which apply to the use of the CIRI register.