Wednesday, 26 July 2017
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Building Regulations Compliance
1700. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will review the role of the National Standards Authority of Ireland in regulating the Irish Agreement Boards approval of timberframe constructions systems which have not been adhered to in a number of developments; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36492/17]
1701. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will implement section 4.8.2 of the Timber Frame Housing Construction Report published in December 2003 by his Department which calls for a more advanced certification approval system for timberframe housing above two storeys in height. [36493/17]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1700 and 1701 together.
Agrément certification is designed specifically for new building products and processes that are not already regulated by existing national standards, either because they are innovative or because they deviate from established norms, and do not yet have a long history of use.
The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) is Ireland’s standards, measurement and certification body and is a statutory agency under the aegis of the Minister for Enterprise and Innovation. NSAI Agrément (formerly the Irish Agrément Board (IAB), but now operating as part of NSAI) is responsible for Agrément assessment and certification and issues technical certification for new and innovative products and processes in building and materials technology.
Irish Standard I.S. 440 – Timber Frame Dwellings was published by the NSAI in 2009 and was revised in 2014 to I.S.440:2009+A1:2014 ‘Timber frame construction, dwellings and other buildings’ to include all TF buildings and refer to the Eurocodes, and this standard applies in respect of all timber frame construction up to four storeys. Since the introduction of this standard all manufacturers of timber frame housing are assessed by NSAI to assess and certify compliance with I.S. 440 and the Building Regulations. Timber frame construction which does not fall within the scope or specification of I.S. 440 may demonstrate compliance with the Building Regulations by means of Agrément certification and the Assigned Certifier may rely on this third party certification as a basis for certifying compliance with Building Regulations.
It is important to note that while NSAI Agrément is responsible for assessment and certification, primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations rests with the designers, builders and owners of buildings. In response to the many building failures that have emerged in the past decade, my Department introduced the Building Control (Amendment) Regulation 2014, which require greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction by registered construction professionals and builders, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates.
Under the 2014 Regulations, owners are required to appoint an Assigned Certifier whose role, in conjunction with the builder and the project team, is to draw up and execute an appropriate inspection plan and to certify the building’s compliance with Building Regulations on completion. The Assigned Certifier undertakes to inspect, and to co-ordinate the inspection activities of others, during construction, and to certify the building or works on completion. Builders undertake to cooperate with the Assigned Certifier’s inspection plans and to jointly certify the building or works on completion. In effect, the statutory Certificate of Compliance on Completion certifies that a building is compliant with all relevant requirements of the Building Regulations.
In 2002, my Department commissioned an independent study on the use of timber frame housing in Irish conditions which, following public consultation, was published in December 2003. The study included recommendations which have since been implemented in relation to the development of standards and on-site quality assurance and compliance certification procedures, namely I.S. 440 and the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, which I have set out in detail above.