Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Building Control Management System

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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1309. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his views on correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6834/20]

Photo of Brendan SmithBrendan Smith (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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1371. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government his plans to implement the recommendations of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht report on the title of architect published in 2013; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6702/20]

Photo of Aengus Ó SnodaighAengus Ó Snodaigh (Dublin South Central, Sinn Fein)
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1387. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government if he will implement the recommendations contained in the July 2013 report titled Report on the Title of the Architect; his views on calls for the introduction of a grandfather clause for architects practising their profession here; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6966/20]

Photo of Damien EnglishDamien English (Meath West, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 1309, 1371 and 1387 together.

Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007 introduced a system of statutory registration for architects and restricted use of the title of "architect" to persons who are registered architects.

Section 22 of the Act makes specific provision for registration based on technical assessment of persons who had been independently performing duties commensurate with those of an architect for a period of 10 or more years in the State prior to the commencement of the Act. This is, in effect, what is often colloquially referred to as a grandfather clause.

In 2013, in response in particular to the lower than anticipated rate of applications for registration by technical assessment, an independent review of the arrangements in place for registration was undertaken by Mr Garret Fennell, Solicitor. Mr Fennell’s report on the matter is available on my Department's website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/migrated-files/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/BuildingStandards/FileDownLoad%2C34097%2Cen.pdf. 

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht also examined the matter and published its Report on the Title of Architect (July 2013) which is available at:

Both reports, which were welcomed by my Department, made a number of recommendations intended to improve and streamline the arrangements for registration. Implementation of these recommendations, in consultation with the Architects Alliance of Ireland and others, has seen a number of reforms being implemented, which include the administration of the technical assessment process on a cyclical basis where briefing, guidance and support for candidates can be administered in a structured manner; mentoring and supporting applicants; facilitating assessment based on recent projects; facilitating applicants with reassessment/reapplication (i.e. ensuring that the technical assessment procedure is not seen as a one chance only route to registration); and reviewing and simplifying guidance materials with direct input from practice-trained persons. My Department and the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), as registration body, are committed to continuing to work with the Architects Alliance of Ireland and others in this manner to achieve whatever further reasonable and practical improvements of registration arrangements can be made in the context of the Fennell report or otherwise.

In addition to the transitional “grandfather” provision set out above, section 14(2)(f) of the Act provides a permanent route to registration for practically trained persons who have 7 years appropriate practical experience and who have passed the prescribed register examination. In 2016, the Architects Alliance of Ireland proposed a special entry route to incorporate the proposed development of a prescribed register admission examination as currently provided for under this section. While the Act would allow me to prescribe such a register admission examination as a route to registration for eligible persons, neither I nor my Department have the remit or the competence to validate or approve the proposed register admission examination. Assessment for registration under section 14(2)(f) comes within the responsibility of the RIAI, who are designated as the registration body for the purposes of the 2007 Act, and as the competent authority for the purposes of the Directive on the mutual recognition of professional qualifications (as amended). For this reason, the Architects Alliance of Ireland were advised by my Department to discuss their proposal, in the first instance, with the RIAI as registration body and competent authority for the architectural profession in Ireland.

My Department and the RIAI, as registration body, are committed to continuing to work with the Architects Alliance of Ireland and all other stakeholders to achieve whatever further reasonable and practical improvements in registration arrangements can be made. I would encourage all practically trained persons to pursue the routes to registration which are open to them and to continue to engage constructively with my Department and the RIAI.

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