What do the charity sector and the construction industry have in common? #bregs #MaoilíosaMelReynolds
by bregs blog admin team
There has been a lot of talk recently about the need for regulation in the charity sector. One radio pundit was astonished that the charity industry with an estimated €1.8bn annual value is self-regulated, with no independent government oversight. Imagine an industry sector four times this size which also is self-regulated. This is the construction industry.
According to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland “The Irish Construction Industry in 2012″(p2):
“…Having peaked at close to €39 billion or almost 25% of GNP in 2006, the ensuing painful adjustment has led to the value of output falling to €8.7 billion in 2011, or 7% of GNP. The crisis in construction will see the value of output decline again this year to an estimated €7.5 billion, or by 14.5% in volume terms. Thus construction will record its fifth year in a row of a contraction in output, reaching just 6% of GNP…”
So in 2013 construction output will be down to €7.5bn from a high in 2006 of €39bn. The construction industry has been self-regulated for the past 20 years with no comprehensive independent local authority audit or inspection system in place. We are facing in to new legislation in March 2014 that, in the face of recent high-profile building failures, reinforces and consolidates the current dysfunctional system of self-regulation. Remarkably there is no provision to increase the number of properly qualified building control inspectors to create a comprehensive 100% inspection rate for new buildings. In 2007 we had less than 70 inspectors for the entire country. Most other industry sectors of this magnitude have independent government regulation.
A number of the submissions made by major consumer groups to the department in 2012 when SI80 was being formulated made specific reference to the requirement for comprehensive, independent local authority building inspections. Astonishingly these requests have been disregarded.
Effective modern regulation will drive efficiency and is far more cost-effective than more taxpayer bailouts for families who will bear the brunt of future building failures.
This is the time to aim to introduce a proper building control inspectorate for buildings with 100% inspection rates- now when the industry is at a low output and a new system can be bedded in. To have such huge part of our economy with no independent government oversight is simply not acceptable: it would not be tolerated in any other sector.
The above opinion piece was submitted on December 17th 2013 by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds BArch (NUI) DipPM (TCD) MUBCons (UCD) MRIAI RIBA