Political Q+A: Claire Daly: Revoke Building Control Amendment Regulation (SI.9 of 2014)?

by Bregs Blog admin team

The Minister’s answer to this question makes no reference to the submissions and representations made by the victims of the very failures these new regulations were targeted at. Priory Hall and the Pyrite scandal are frequently mentioned in this context by the Minister and the Department.

Priory Hall

Graham Usher speaking on Marian Finucane 13th October 2013:

“..The state has a massive responsibility in what happened to Priory Hall…..It is a lesson that doesn’t seem to have been learned on this. You can have the best regulations in the world, you can have the best laws, but there’s no enforcement Even under Minister Hogan’s new legislation, which strikes me as a bit of a half measure, there is no onus on local authorities to carry out any inspections whatsoever. The state is still abdicating their responsibility. In other countries you have local authorities going carrying out inspections at various stages of construction and you don’t have the sort of problems we have in Ireland”

link to interview here:

Pyrite Report

The Government commissioned Pyrite Report is a thorough investigation into the problem of pyrite in up to 12,000 homes and was completed in 2012. The report was endorsed by the government and published. Several key recommendations address Building Control and how to prevent the future devastation to homeowners and families have been ignored by the Department and are excluded from SI.9.

“The Panel recommends development of a mandatory certification system … 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 Pyrite Panel 2012 As a response to the problems of Pyrite in homes it is remarkable that one of this report’s key recommendations: independent inspections by local authorities, is not an integral part of the proposed changes. Download the 2012 Pyrite Report Here

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Question No.   140 – Clare Daly.

Chun an Aire Comhshaoil, Pobail agus Rialtais Áitiúil: To the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government:

To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will revoke statutory instrument no. 9 in relation to building regulations, due to come into effect on 1 March 2014 , as the mandatory certification by an architect or similar professional will increase costs and will not improve standards, and instead to revert to the system of oversight by local authorities as enforcement action is the only way to avoid some of the appalling breaches of regulations that took place over the past number of years..

For WRITTEN answer on Thursday, 30th January, 2014. Ref No: 4673/14

REPLY

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Mr. P. Hogan) 

Local authorities have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under the Fire Services Act 1981, the Building Control Act 1990 and the Planning and Development Acts and they have used such powers on a number of occasions in recent times in order to address instances of serious non-compliance with fire and safety requirements in homes and buildings.  These powers of inspection and enforcement are separate and distinct from the requirements of the Building Control Regulations which put in place the administrative arrangement by which owners, designers and builders are required to demonstrate their approach to achieving compliance with the Building Regulations. 

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and I am satisfied that these will greatly strengthen the arrangements currently in place for the control of building activity, by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates.  The new regulations are necessary following the widespread instances of failure by owners, designers and builders to comply with their statutory obligations under the Building Control Act 1990 to design and construct buildings in accordance with the building regulations. 

The regulations will be administered electronically through a new online Building Control Management System which will enable building control authorities to undertake a risk analysis on each commencement notice received and to target their available resources towards building projects where the risk of failure to comply is highest. 

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The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 31st January 2014.

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