Answers that beg more questions…
by Bregs Blog admin team
Here is a selection of recent political Q+A concerning Building Control (Amendment) Regulation (SI.9 of 2014) in the past few days.
Kevin Humphreys TD to Minister Ruairi Quinn on cost impact of SI.9 on capital projects in the department of education.
“...The original Statutory Instrument, S.I. 80 Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2013, was published on 15th March 2013 and specified an implementation date of 1st March 2014. Following its publication, a process of consultation between the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and industry stakeholders was embarked upon. This culminated in the issue of a revised Statutory Instrument, S.I. No. 9 of 2014, on 20th January 2014. My Department is currently assessing the implications of the revised S.I. on projects in the capital programme, including potential additional professional fees arising from the regulations...”
The Minister admitted that he did not know and currently is in the process of assessing the cost impact on department of education capital projects. We note the consultation process mentioned occurred in 2012 on an earlier draft of SI.9 (previously SI.80).
Kevin Humphreys TD to Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore on 29th January as to cost impact on capital projects in the Department of Foreign Affairs
“The implementation of the new Building Control Regulations 2013, in relation to capital building projects in buildings occupied by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, falls within the remit of the Office of Public Works.”
Clare Daly TD to Minister Phil Hogan on 30th January increased costs of SI.9 and the suggestion to revert to system of oversignt by local authorities with enforcement.
“…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…”
Enforcement and inspections are only a remote possibility under SI.9 due to current building control authority understaffing levels. In 2007 we had less than 70 building control officers for the entire country. The proposed regulations will increase costs and add little to consumer’s rights. “Self-certification is no certification” was the strap line for the residents of Priory Hall. Independent government regulation of a €10bn industry still is not in place under SI.9.
Maureen O’Sullivan TD to PH on 30th January on self-builder’s concerns:
“...The method of construction used for a building is matter of choice for the owner and the designer…”
Minister Phil Hogan appears to not adequately answer whether an owner can nominate themselves as a builder under SI.9 after March 1st 2014.
The above opinion piece was submitted by Maoilíosa Mel Reynolds on 7th February 2014.