Minister Hogan concerned at exploitation by professionals: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team


In the following exchange from 12th March 2014, Brian Stanley TD discusses the huge costs incurred under BC(A)R SI.9 with Minister Hogan, and takes issue with the costs noted by the Minister and his Department to date.

link here: debates Building+control#g33

Extract from debate:

Brian Stanley (Laois-Offaly, Sinn Fein):

“My question deals with the new building regulations for the construction of both one-off houses and multi-unit complexes. In those regulations, the Minister has not differentiated between the two, which is the problem and the nub of my question. The regulation process is causing enormous concern. I have heard that professionals are looking for between €20,000 and €50,000 to sign off on construction and I ask the Minister to comment on that, given that he gave estimates of between €1,000 and €3,000 previously. I have a quotation here for €18,012.35 for a modest house in County Laois, for example…

The Minister has given a cash cow to architects and chartered surveyors. He said they will charge between €1,000 and €3,000 but I have seen a quotation for €18,000…

Coming from a rural constituency, the Minister will agree that the quality of self-build is generally good. A farmer who builds his or her own house will stand over the work. We do not want to make the costs prohibitive, however. The experience of shopping around to date is that high prices are being quoted. The aforementioned quote of €18,000 is for a modest dwelling. The Minister clarified the big question of whether the local subcontractor, plasterer or bricklayer can be hired in. He has stated unequivocally that if I am involved in a self-build I can do that. However, the issue of the assigned certifier will still cause problems. The local authority building control officers carried out good work but they were under resourced. This could be a self-financing mechanism. If local authorities charged €1,000 or €2,000 for carrying out final inspections, people would be happy to pay them rather than pay €13,000 or €14,000 to somebody in the private sector. The final point I want to make is that housing extensions will be expensive as a result of these regulations.”

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael):

“I am concerned about the potential for costs to be exploitative initially. The same thing happened in respect of the building energy regulations introduced several years ago by the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. People were charged between €3,000 and €4,000 for certification inspections that cost €150 in the market. The professions have tended to jump on the bandwagon to exploit the customer for what they can get…

I am concerned about the possibility of customers being exploited by professionals under these regulations. I will monitor the situation over the coming weeks and if I detect that the professional bodies are exploiting customers to the extent that the Deputy alleged – he only mentioned one quotation – I am prepared to consider ways of ensuring customers are not financially exploited in the manner to which he alluded.”