Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find the more frequently asked questions from consumers about the Voluntary Construction Register (VCR)
- 1. What is VCR?
VCR is a reliable official online register of construction professionals. VCR stands for Voluntary Construction Register. The register will help consumers benefit from enhanced regulation and accountability as applicants are vetted on their competence and experience.
VCR is an official online register, supported by Government, of competent builders, contractors, specialist sub-contractors and tradespersons who undertake to carry out construction works. Its objective is to be recognised as the primary online resource used by consumers in the public and private procurement of construction services.
The register contains the name, address, contact details, website address, a description of the type of activities undertaken by the business and geographical area of operations.
- 2. How does the online register work?
The register is a repository of reputable construction professionals all approved by the VCR Admissions and Registrations Board (VARB). It can be searched by, category, or member name (if you have it). As well as searching by category, you can search by county to find a construction company or specialist in your locality.
- 3. Why was VCR set up?
The registration body, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) responded to a request from the Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government to set up VCR. VCR has been established to develop and promote best practice. The central purpose of the VCR registration process is to assist governance and statutory performance compliance.
The register was set up in tandem with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations in 2014, where all Commencement Notices, Notice of Assignment of Builders, Undertakings by Builders and Certificates on Compliance on Completion by a builder require the VCR registration number of the builder (where applicable).
- 4. What types of builders are on the register?
There are over 30+ categories of registration. The register is designed for all construction practitioners including; main contractors and builders who deliver overall projects, specialist contractors and sub-contractors who deliver overall projects and/or elements of projects, other trades who may be engaged by other contractors, sub-contractors or by domestic clients.
Disciplines listed on VCR include builders and contractors who specialise in extension and refurbishment projects, mechanical and electrical contractors as well as a list of specialist contractors covering anything from plastering, plumbing, masonry, roofing, piling, demolition, masonry, gazing, carpentry, flooring, tiling, scaffolding, joinery, radon protection, fire safety, waste water treatment and much more.
- 5. What does the VCR Admissions and Registration Board (VARB) do and who sits on the VARB ?
The VCR Admissions & Registrations Board (VARB) ensures that the highest standards of VCR are maintained to secure the on-going credibility of the VCR register. The Board established and oversees standards of ethics, competence, skills and knowledge in the construction industry. The Board consists of a chairperson and ten members. The chairperson of the Board is a registered construction professional approved by the Minister of the Environment, Community and Local Government. Membership of the Board includes
- 5 persons appointed by Government Ministers and Public-Sector Agencies
- 2 persons who are registered construction professionals
- 3 members who can be registered members of VCR
- 6. What are the register’s requirements?
In order to register with VCR, all builders, including registered companies, partnerships or sole traders must prove competency for the category of works for which they are seeking to register. To get on VCR, all applicants must prove their are competency and experience. They must also meet the following criteria:
- Submit details of completed projects to demonstrate experience and competent;
- Adhere to an industry Code of the Ethics and Obligations;
- Must be tax compliant;
- Commit to undertaking continuous professional development (CPD);
- Comply with health and safety regulations relating to the construction industry;
- Show they have the relevant insurance policies in place;
- Obey all the latest building standards and regulations;
- Attend a VCR induction course.
In order to become a member of VCR, applicants are required to demonstrate practical hands on experience of working in construction and demonstrate a knowledge and understanding of the legislative and regulatory context in which construction is practiced. Applicants must outline details of a minimum of three projects demonstrating their construction experience and match the competencies claimed as part of the application process for registration.
Membership runs on a yearly basis and each year members are subject to CPD obligations, which cover four categories - Building Regulations, Health & Safety, Technology & Innovation, and Business and Management. CPD is important as the onus on CPD will foster improved standards throughout the construction industry as more companies upskill and grow their knowledge base. If as a member you do not comply to the CPD requirements, membership will not be renewed.
- 7. Do I have to pay to use this register as a consumer?
No! this is a free service. Its objective is to be recognised as a primary online resource used by consumers in the public and private procurement of construction services.
- 8. Do I have to pay to become a member of this register?
Yes, the fee for joining the register is €600 + VAT at 23%. This comes to a total of €738. To apply to join the register, click here.
- 9.What is CPD and why do members have to commit?
CPD is learning that enhances a person’s existing occupational, technical and professional competence. All VCR members must commit to CPD, under 4 key pillars in the building industry
- Building Regulations and Building Control
- Safety Health and Welfare
- Technology and innovation
- Business and management
CPD is vital under VCR as it ensures people continue to be competent in their profession. An increasingly competitive society requires that members engage in CPD. CPD will enable the VCR member to focus on and apply attention to important areas of development and take appropriate action to address any shortfalls in knowledge.
With the right knowledge and understanding of the construction environment members will be equipped to be even more professional and to contribute substantially, creating a greater level of professionalism in the industry.
- 10.Can a consumer lodge a complaint about the conduct a registered builder with the VCR Admissions and Registration Board(VARB)?
Yes. A copy of the procedure for making a complaint is outlined below:
- Step 1: Ascertain that the builder in question is indeed a member of the Voluntary Construction Register (VCR) – Search our member directory at www.voluntaryconstructionregister.ie or email firstname.lastname@example.org;
- Step 2: Upon receiving formal confirmation that the builder is a member, a formal letter of complaint should be sent addressed to: Voluntary Construction Register, Construction house, Canal Road. Dublin 6 signed by the complainant;
- Clearly outlining the circumstances that give rise to the complaint
- Highlight what clauses of the Code that the member has in your view breached;
- Include all relevant supporting documentation; and
- Detail any prospective or ongoing legal proceedings in relation to the matters raised.
- In response, the full complaint will be copied to the member concerned.
- The VCR Admissions and Registration Board will investigate complaints received unless:
- it is satisfied that the complaint is not made in good faith;
- it is satisfied that the complaint is frivolous or vexatious or without substance or foundation;
- Following inquiries, it is satisfied that the complaint is likely to be resolved by mediation or other informal means between the parties concerned.
- Decisions made by the VCR Admissions and Registration Board relating to all investigated complaints will be communicated to both the complainant and the builder.
- VCR cannot deal with complaints against builders who are not members of VCR.
- 11. What are building owners obligations when engaging a Builder?
The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 state that a building owner is required to assign a competent builder who will construct in accordance with the plans, specifications and Building Regulations, and who will sign the Certificate of Compliance on Completion. Builders included on VCR are regarded as competent for projects consistent with their registration profile.
- 12. What are key issues for a consumer to address prior to appointing a builder?
- When selecting a builder, check the VCR registration, experience and track record of the builder.
- When engaging a builder, a consumer should ensure that they have clearly defined and specified the works to be undertaken by the builder.
- Consumers should ensure that any planning approvals required for the project have been secured.
- Drawings and specifications for the works should be priced in advance, agreed and included in the contract to be signed by both the builder and the consumer.
- The contract should include specific references setting out how a potential dispute can be resolved including options for mediation, conciliation or arbitration.
- A programme for completion of the works including hours of work should be agreed in the contract.
- Responsibility for a new building site will normally rest with the builder.
- In the case of works to a private house which is not being occupied by the owner at time the works are being undertaken, responsibility for the building will normally rest with the builder. The nature of the responsibility including responsibility for any household contents should be clarified in the written contract documentation for the works.
- In the case of works to a private house and the owner remains in occupation while the works are to be undertaken, hours of work, programme for works, storage areas for plant and machinery including tools, together with care and maintenance of existing fixtures, fittings and furnishings should all be agreed at the outset.
- Standard of finish including removal of all builders’ materials from site and cleaning of the areas where works are to be undertaken should all be agreed prior to contract signing.
- Copies of the builders’ insurances including public liability, employers’ liability and all risks insurances should be sought from the builder prior to contract signing.
- Payment terms, and the basis for certification of works for payment should all be included in the contract. Payment will normally be subject to certification by a registered construction professional such as a building surveyor, architect or an engineer.
- 13. Is the member builder subject to a Code of Ethics?
- 14. How do I contact the VCR office?
The VCR office can be contacted via email or by phone on the details below. We address all submitted questions.
Voluntary Construction Register
c/o Construction Industry Federation
Phone: 01 406 6094