Monday 23rd January 2023: The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland has described a case it took against a man for wrongly using the title building surveyor as “very serious” and welcomed the court’s view on the importance of bringing such prosecutions, to ensure the protection of the general public.
Damian Brennan, Kiltubrid, Three Mile House, Monaghan, pleaded guilty to wrongly using that title on a tender document for the procurement of remedial works to blocks of apartments to the value of €800,000 in May 2019.
The offence is contrary to Section 46(1)(a) of the Building Control Act, 2007 and can carry a fine of up to €5,000 and a 12-month sentence.
The prosecution at Dublin District Court on Monday 23rd January was brought by the Society, the leading professional body for property, land and construction professionals in Ireland.
Evidence was taken from Gwen Wilson, SCSI Registrar, concerning the background of the matter.
Ms Wilson stated that Mr Brennan had been advised in 2018 that the use of the protected title (building surveyor) was illegal, without having attained the requisite registration.
The Registrar made reference to a 9 May 2019 letter of tender for the procurement of remedial works to blocks of apartments and based upon the evidence, the court was satisfied that Mr Brennan was holding himself out as a building surveyor.
Ms Wilson explained to the court the importance that appropriate persons are registered with the Society for the protection of the general public, to which the court completely agreed.
The court noted Mr Brennan’s guilty plea and no previous convictions, and, in his ruling, Judge Anthony Halpin said that he believed it was appropriate in the circumstances that he would apply the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 in this matter, rather than a conviction.
The court ordered that Mr Brennan pay a contribution towards the Society’s legal costs and make a charitable donation.
The court gave Mr Brennan twelve months to pay and adjourned the matter back to his court on 22 January 2024 to confirm that his directions have been complied with.
Afterwards, Ms Wilson said the case raised very serious issues.
“The SCSI’s role is to safeguard the public interest by ensuring professionals using the protected titles Building Surveyor and Quantity Surveyor are registered with the SCSI. Further, under the Building Control Act 2007 (“2007 Act”), the SCSI is the regulatory body tasked with prosecuting parties who allegedly breach these provisions, under the 2007 Act. The offence which Mr Brennan pleaded guilty to before the Dublin District Court this morning is very serious, with potentially grave consequences for the public and the built environment at large.
A registered Building Surveyor is a surveyor involved in all aspects of property and construction, from supervising large commercial mixed-use developments to planning domestic extensions.
A registered Building Surveyor can also act in the integral role of an Assigned Certifier with responsibility for certifying building projects from design to completion stage ensuring the safety of our buildings.
Before engaging a Building Surveyor and Quantity Surveyor, we strongly advise to always check that the person is registered with SCSI. Otherwise, there is a risk of hiring an individual who does not have the required expertise to complete or certify a project and is not governed by the code of conduct.”
You can check the SCSI register here https://scsi.ie/the-register/check-the-register/