Options for Certification

In order to download a certificate from the SER website the Certifier is required to record the method that has been used to certify the design in Schedule 2 of the certificate.

This schedule is not intended as a qualification of the extent of certification (SER certificates certify the entire building in respect of the structural requirements of Regulations 1.1 and 1.2). Nor is it intended as a scoping exercise, or check list, for the project and should not be construed as such. The schedule is intended to record  whether the Certifier has certified common elements of the building, as designer, checker, on the basis of a review, or for elements outwith their competence and experience where they have relied on the advice of a third party expert or specialist.

The Certifier can choose from a number of options, which may be used in conjunction, when undertaking the certification for a project. Whichever option is chosen, for each aspect of the design, it must be recorded along with the reasons for that choice for future audit. This Guidance Note is intended to explain the intention behind the options offered by the system.

Certifiers are reminded of their holistic responsibilities in respect of the compliance of the whole building and in particular of the need to carefully consider the interfaces and interaction between various building elements. This is of particular importance where they have fulfilled different roles in respect of the design of various elements of the building.

It is important to appreciate that certification and checking are separate activities. Certifiers cannot delegate their responsibilities to a third party, although they may take advice from others. Design checks should only be undertaken by an individual with the necessary experience in the particular aspect of the check. Further guidance on certification checking is provided in Guidance Note 11.

Appendix A, while not exhaustive, has been provided to assist the certifier identify structural elements that may be encountered on a project and the information that will be necessary for the Certifier to undertake the task.

Certifiers should be aware that all items listed on any Schedule 1 (Third Party Designed Details) are still included in the ‘coverage’ of the certificate and that the Certifier is in effect confirming that the design of these elements complies with the appropriate Regulations and Technical Standards through the inclusion of a sufficiently detailed performance specification in the Warrant application package. Building Elements listed in Schedule 1 should therefore also be included in the Schedule 2 of the certificate, along with the option used to certify the adequacy of the conceptual design and performance specification which form part of the warrant application (in accordance with this Guidance Note).


Notes on Suitability

Option 1
Certifier was Designer, design checked by others

  1. Where the Certifier is also the designer, an independent check of the design must be undertaken prior to certification by a suitably experienced person.

  2. Certifiers may only design those aspects of the building for which they are suitably experienced.

Option 2
Certifier was Checker, design carried out by others

  1. Where the Certifier is also the checker the design should be carried out by a suitably experienced person.

  2. Certifiers may only check those aspects of the design for which they are suitably experienced.

  3. Certifiers may be checking the work of other employees in the same company or may be carrying out a detailed check on a design prepared by others.

Option 3
Certifier was neither Designer nor Checker

  1. Certifiers should carry out a review of the design to satisfy themselves that the design complies with the relevant standards.

  2. The extent of the review will depend on the competence of the designers and checkers.

  3. This option may be used where senior members of staff are reviewing work carried out and checked by staff under their control or when they are reviewing designs submitted by third party designers, including those employed by specialist sub-contractors.

  4. There should be sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the designs have been adequately checked by competent persons as set down in Guidance Note 12.

  5. Certifiers must make a suitable record of their review, and the enquiries made to satisfy themselves of compliance.

  6. Certifiers may wish to request CVs or other documents from third party designers and checkers to demonstrate their qualifications and experience to assist them in determining the extent of the review that they need to carry out. However, there is no requirement to do this.

  7. It should be noted that there may not be any obligation on third party designers and checkers to provide the certifier with CVs or other documents.

  8. It is not sufficient just to rely on CVs and other documents that demonstrate the competence of the designers and checkers as evidence of the adequacy of the design.

  9. Where the competence of the designers and checkers cannot be verified Certifiers may have to arrange an alternative check or undertake the check themselves; in the latter case option 2 would then be the appropriate certification option.

  10. Certifiers must satisfy themselves that the design complies with the required Standards.

Option 4
Certifier used competence of an identified third party

  1. Option 4 is only to be used where the design of the element under consideration is outwith the competence and experience of the Certifier and only in circumstances where the extent to which the option is used on the project is limited. Certifiers should always consider whether or not they have sufficient competence to certify the project.

  2. For the few elements on projects where this option is used, the Certifier may rely on advice as to the adequacy of the design given by a suitably qualified and experienced person, who has reviewed the design on behalf of the Approved Body.

  3. It is not considered appropriate for the certifier to rely solely on the competence of a third party designer employed by a supplier or sub-contractor as evidence that the design is compliant. The advice should come from a suitably experienced person who is able to give the certifier impartial advice.

  4. Certifiers retain responsibility for the integrity of the checking process and must see that there is sufficient evidence to show that the designs have been checked by a competent person to the level set down in Guidance Note 12.

  5. Certifiers must make a suitable record of how they satisfied themselves of compliance.

  6. Relying on the advice of an identified third party does not absolve the Approved Body and the Approved Certifier of their respective obligations under the Scheme.

Option 5
Certifier was Designer and Checker and self-checked the design

  1. Option 5 should only be used for the certification of works associated with Risk Group 1A described in Guidance Note 12, where the Certifier is also the designer and has carried out a separate self-check of the design prior to certification.

  2. Evidence of the check should be retained with the certification records and made available, if required, at audit.


Appendix A: Checklist of Structural Elements

It is the responsibility of the Certifier to identify all of the building elements that should be covered by the design certificate for each specific project.  The following list is intended to assist with that process however it should not be regarded as exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the SER Procedures for Auditing the Activities of Approved Bodies and Approved Certifiers.

Design Feature


Information to be Supplied to Certifier



Other Information

Details of Structural Design Team

Design team organisation



Names of companies providing structural design and scope of their appointment


Designers and checkers



Details of individuals responsible for design / checking including qualifications and experience

General Design Overview

Condition assessment of existing building


As built

Report on condition


Loading assessment





Overall stability



Statement of approach


Disproportionate collapse



Statement of approach


Site investigation scope and application to ground conditions


BH/TP locations

Ground investigation reports (factual & interpretative)


Bearing capacity





Mineral stability / grouting



Specification/completion report


Spread foundations








Specification & method statement


Cantilever retaining wall
Piled retaining wall
Mass gravity wall





Anchored wall



Specification and details of anchoring system

Ground Improvement

Dynamic compaction
Vibro compaction



Specification/ test reports

Structural Fire Protection

Elements of structure



Period of fire resistance and method/specification for achieving required standard


Portal frames



Boundary condition requirement

Principal Superstructure

Structural frame
Structural movement joints
Suspended floor(s)
Loadbearing walls
Slab on solid
Shear walls
Racking panels
Stair enclosure(s)
Roof structure
Link bridges
Galleries and catwalks
Ties, fixings & connections




Building Envelope

Masonry / brick / block
Wall cladding
Rainscreen cladding
Roof cladding
Glazing systems
Curtain walling



Specification - Calculations may be replaced by appropriate test certification


Cladding movement joints



Specification for construction


Wall ties



Certification reference


Fixings & Supports



Calculation may be replaced by appropriate test certification

Secondary Structure

Protective barriers



Specification and fixings details


Internal partitions
Suspended ceilings



Calculations may be replaced by appropriate test certification for proprietary systems

Other Structure

Catwalks and gangways
Tank supports
Stages and raised platforms
Tiered seating
Bridges, boundary walls & fences
Advertising hoardings



Specification - Calculations may be replaced by appropriate test certification for proprietary systems

November 2018

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