Written answers

Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Building Regulations

Photo of Cian O'CallaghanCian O'Callaghan (Dublin Bay North, Social Democrats)
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61. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the action that is being taken to address quarries that are producing substandard building materials that give rise to serious structural defects in homes, given the statement by an expert witness at the Oireachtas housing committee in relation to same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34963/22]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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The Construction Products Regulation (EU) No 305/2011 (CPR) sets out rules for the marketing of construction products in the EU, from 1 July 2013. While the CPR came into force and has direct legal application across the entire European Union, each Member State is responsible for regulating for its own market surveillance activities in accordance with the specific requirements of the CPR and the broader overarching requirements of Regulation (EU) 2019/1020 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on market surveillance and compliance of products and amending Directive 2004/42/EC and Regulations (EC) No 765/2008 and (EU) No 305/2011.

Under the European Union (Construction Products) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No.225 of 2013), each of the building control authorities (local authorities) have been designated as the principal market surveillance authorities for construction products that fall within the scope of the CPR, within their administrative areas. In addition, the Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Act 2020 (Construction Products – Market Surveillance) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 682 of 2020) appointed Dublin City Council as a competent authority for the carrying out of market surveillance functions under the  European Union (Construction Products) Regulations 2013 for all related construction products on a nationwide basis. Dublin City Council-National Building Control Office, (DCC-NBCO) Market Surveillance Unit has been established for this purpose. Building control authorities liaise with DCC-NBCO national market surveillance unit to support compliance with the CPR and to determine appropriate action on enforcement matters, as they arise.

Ireland’s National market surveillance programme 2021 is published on the website of the European Commission. Section 2.5 provides specific details with the market surveillance of construction products and outlines a market surveillance campaign led by DCC-NBCO to perform risk assessments of selected quarrying and pit operations, follow-up inspections, sampling and testing as appropriate to ensure compliance with the CPR. The 2022 programme is currently being finalised and is expected to continue to focus on the extractive industries sector and expand upon the programme commenced in 2021. 

In addition to this, in October of last year I requested a Market Surveillance Audit of all quarries in Donegal which was carried out by the National Building Control and Market Surveillance Office in partnership with Donegal County Council and Geological Survey Ireland.

In addition to the initiatives above, Market Surveillance Authorities respond to complaints raised, therefore any information on suspected non-compliance should be submitted in writing (detailing as much information as possible) to either the appropriate local Market Surveillance Authority and/or the National Building Control Office and Market Surveillance Office (NBCO&MSO). The Local Market Surveillance Authority may be contacted through the City or County Council. NBC&MSO may be contacted at: support@nbco.gov.ie

Whilst the CPR focuses on the conditions which apply when placing a product on the market, clients, specifiers, designers and builders etc., should:

- when drawing up specifications, refer to the harmonised technical specifications and specifically to the requirements of individual characteristics when necessary,

- when choosing the products most suitable for their intended use in construction works, review the manufacturer’s Declaration of Performance,

- check the Standard Recommendations published by NSAI, which give guidance on appropriate minimum performance levels for specific intended uses of the product in Ireland, and

- ensure compliance with the Building Regulations 1997 to 2021, in this regard all works should be carried out in a workmanlike manner, using proper materials which are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions in which they are to be used.

My Department recently published ‘A Guide to the Marketing and Use of Aggregate Concrete Blocks to EN 771-3 in Ireland’ which is available on the Department’s website.  This guide aims to facilitate clearer communication within the supply chain regarding the declared performance of essential characteristics of concrete blocks having regard to national provisions in Ireland. Guidance is also provided for specifiers, designers, builders, certifiers and end users who when specifying and choosing aggregate concrete blocks, they should ensure that the construction products are fit for intended use and the conditions in which they are to be used. Appropriate specifications and choices will help secure compliance with the Building Regulations 1997 to 2021.

Finally, the Regulation of Providers of Building Works Bill 2022, which will put the Construction Industry Register Ireland on a statutory footing, is currently going through the legislative process in the Oireachtas and is expected to be enacted shortly.  Its main objective is to develop and promote a culture of competence, good practice and compliance with the Building Regulations in the construction sector which will benefit consumers and the general public. The establishment of a robust, mandatory, statutory register is critical for the development of a culture of competence and compliance in the construction sector.


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