Written answers

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

Building Regulations Qualifications

Photo of Clare DalyClare Daly (Dublin North, Socialist Party)
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140. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government if he will revoke SI No. 9 relating 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. [4673/14]

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