Written answers

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Quarrying Sector

Mairead Farrell (Galway West, Sinn Fein)
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104. To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the requirements placed on local councils to ensure that the stone and sand and other similar materials that the council or subcontractor on council projects purchase is sourced from properly licensed quarries. [9267/21]

Photo of Michael McGrathMichael McGrath (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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The development of quarries is governed by planning legislation, whereas any material extracted from them that is used in construction projects is governed by the Building Regulations. Both planning legislation and the Building Regulations are matters for my colleague Darragh O'Brien TD, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

Local authorities are required to develop a register of extractive industries within their respective functional areas. The register is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency which operates under the remit of my colleague Eamon Ryan TD, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications.

As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform I have responsibility for the development of policy to ensure adequate expenditure oversight on capital projects and for public procurement. The Department or agency proposing and implementing a capital project is responsible for appraisal, planning, implementation, management, and post project review of the project and for any procurements necessary in line with the policies developed by my Department.

My Department, through the Office of Government Procurement, is responsible for the preparation of template forms of tender and contracts for public works contracts which are published under the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF) and available for use by all contracting authorities. It is a matter for the contracting authority and the project’s design team to ensure that the detailed information necessary to describe the project such as drawings, specifications, pricing documents, etc. is prepared to reflect the requirements of all relevant regulations.

In the construction phase, the conditions of the public works contracts place the obligation on the contractor who is awarded the contract to use materials that are fit for their intended purpose, meet all applicable legal requirements and the standard imposed by the contract. Where this is found not to be the case monies may be withheld until they are replaced with compliant materials.

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations require regular inspections to be undertaken and to certify that the works are built in accordance with the Building Regulations. The conditions of contract make express provision for the contracting authority’s personnel to undertake periodic inspections and places an obligation on the contractor to produce details of the materials’ provenance and to undertake defined tests to ensure that the materials being used in their project meet both the contract specification and legal requirements.

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