The regulations ignore key recommendations of the Pyrite Panel

by bregs blog admin team


Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

The Pyrite Panel completed its report in June 2012 to do with arrangements for repairs for up to 12,000 homes. Several key recommendations address Building Control and how to prevent the future devastation to homeowners and families. These recommendations have been ignored and are excluded from S.I.80. This is remarkable given the recent announcement by the minister of a proposed €50 million top up to the agreed €10 million fund to provide redress for distressed homeowners. Why valuable insights of the Pyrite Panel have not been adopted in the face of harrowing experiences of pyrite homeowners and the massive taxpayer costs is wholly unacceptable.

“An indelible mark has been left on the lives of homeowners and families – and the past few years have been a nightmare for them.. from our experience of many reports submitted to Governments in the past, we have seen significant delays from the time the reports have been submitted to the time the recommendations are implemented, if indeed they are implemented.” The Pyrite Panel 2012

Pyrite Panel recommendation 18: Mandatory certification system

“The Panel recommends development of a mandatory certification system which should recognise the importance of inspections, product certifications and site supervision and takes proper account of the risk associated with design, materials and construction.

In addition, the Panel recommends that the system of independent inspections, carried out by the building control officers, should be strengthened to complement the mandatory certification process for buildings.”

The Panel describes these recommendations as complementary because it is not possible for one certifier with no powers of enforcement to ensure compliance on site.

Pyrite Panel recommendation 19: Registration of builders

“The Panel recommends that: a mandatory registration system should be established for builders with specific requirements for appropriate insurance cover (supported by regulation). Registration of builders should require demonstration of technical competence, financial capacity and adequate insurance cover.”

The new regulations do not include a Register of Builders and although the Minister has intentions of establishing a Register, possibly in 2015, this is not included in the programme for government.

Pyrite Panel recommendation 21: General Insurance issues

“The Panel recommends … (b) a requirement for project-related insurance whereby cover for each specific project is available and adequate and is related to the project only.”

Without the provision of insurance, there is no fund available to homeowners for removal or repair of defective materials. Their only source of redress is to take legal action against everyone involved in the hope that negligence can be proven. In some cases homeowners with pyrites in the foundations of their homes in 2006 are still waiting for a resolution.

Are we destined to blindly repeat the mistakes of the past? Promises to consider these recommendations are not enough.