CIRI Raising Construction Sector Standards
The Construction Industry Register Ireland ensures that there is a reputable industry that is subject to regular oversight and approval, which provides member clients with the assurance that they are contracting a committed construction professional. SEAN MURPHY reports.
In 2014, the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) was introduced on a voluntary basis as an essential component of a suite of measures to increase compliance, competence and oversight in the construction industry. CIRI was established by the CIF in consultation with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government as the definitive listing of main contractors and subcontractors operating in Ireland that are competent to carry out works on behalf of public and private clients. Each company on the Register must meet particular prequalification criteria to qualify for CIRI registration. Anyone can access the Register at www.ciri.ie to find a contractor, subcontractor or tradesperson, or to check if a company they are considering to contract is on the Register.
Explaining the necessity of CIRI, Hubert Fitzpatrick, Director of Housing & Planning, CIF, points out that it is not in the industry’s interest that individuals can suddenly set themselves up as builders and portray themselves as competent builders when they have absolutely no experience or competence in this area.
“We want a reputable industry that is subject to regular oversight and approval,” he explains. “Those that play by the book are entitled to be protected by the scheme so that those who willingly take shortcuts or don’t have knowledge of the industry are not allowed to operate within the industry.”
CIRI has three registration categories: Builder; Building Services Contractors; and Specialist Elements (Specialist Contractors).
The overall goal of CIRI is to foster improved standards and continuing professional development (CPD) throughout the Irish construction industry.
Currently, CIRI has over 820 registered members that have achieved and displayed a baseline standard of competence. Applicants under the current CIRI process must demonstrate competence and experience in the profile for which they require registration, in addition to tax clearance and confirmation that appropriate insurances are in place. This provides for a reputable industry that is subject to oversight and approval. Membership of CIRI is not something that can be purchased and displayed for a company’s advertising. The registered title is a professional designation granted to an applicant who meets specific requirements as outlined by the CIRI Admission and Registrations Board. CIRI’s introduction into the construction market is gaining momentum and is being recognised as a hallmark of quality in the private sector, which is most welcomed.
Continuous Professional Development
One of the core requirements for continued membership is an ongoing requirement CPD. Currently, as the construction industry is evolving, advances in technology, changes in regulation and increased specialised areas underline the importance of establishing a programme that offers staff opportunities for ongoing skills and knowledge development. CPD is the one way to get ahead and keep up to date with the changing regulations and processes, as well as to adapt to a rapidly changing workplace.
The CPD Pillars under CIRI include:
- Health and Safety
- Building Regulations
- Technology and Innovation, and
- Business and Management.
The practice of CPD is a long-established method to maintain and raise standards for members of representative professional bodies. CIRI, through the CIF Learning & Development Department, supports construction companies to engage in CPD programmes by helping with the planning, delivery and recording of training for staff at all levels within small-, medium- and large-sized companies. Programmes offered are delivered in a structured fashion, targeted to enable companies to address areas of risk. Risks stem from legislative (eg, Health and Safety & Welfare at Work); regulatory (eg, BC(A)R); technological (eg BIM); and organisational (awareness of staff development as a central management function) factors.
By adhering to CPD requirements, members will be CIRI-up-to-date on best practices and regulatory obligations, ensuring employers are up to date while continuously maintaining and improving standards.
Who administers CIRI?
The CIRI board consists of a chairperson and 10 members. The chairperson is a registered construction professional approved by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.
Membership of the board includes:
- Five persons appointed by Government Ministers and Public Sector Agencies
- Two persons who are registered construction professionals
- Three persons who can be registered members of CIRI
All in all, CIRI is seen to be a positive move in the construction industry and can be both used by the consumer in their search for a builder and the builder in their search for a subcontractor.
How CIRI works for consumers
Consumers can search on the CIRI online database at www.ciri.ie in a number of ways:
- Look for a particular member by CIRI Registration Number, company name, or primary contact name
- See what builders, contractors, specialist subcontractors or tradespersons are registered in their area
- Search from 30+ categories of registration.
How to register your company on CIRI
Contact the CIRI office or visit www.ciri.ie and complete the online application form.
The CIRI office reviews each application for completeness before submitting the application for review by the CIRI Admissions and Registrations Board.
If approved, a business is added to the CIRI Register, and the company receives a unique CIRI Registration Number and a profile on the Register. Registration also entitles members to use the CIRI logo on stationery, marketing material and websites.
CIRI Online Induction Course
CIRI offers the mandatory CIRI Induction Course online, which can be completed as and when it is convenient, in the learner’s own time and environment.
The course gives an overview of the processes for registering with CIRI, the CIRI Code of Ethics, a rundown of the CPD obligations and further information on all components of CIRI. The course is broken down into four modules. Each module is followed by a set of assessment questions, which must be correctly answered before the next module can be accessed.
Once all modules have been studied, and questions completed satisfactorily, the participant is eligible to apply for CIRI registration in their desired category.