Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Questions (185)

Dominic Hannigan

Question:

188 Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans for the Building Control Act and its regulation of the architecture profession; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32760/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government)

The Building Control Act 2007, among other things, provides for the registration of persons entitled to use the title of Architect. A variety of routes to registration are provided for, having regard to the academic qualifications, professional attainment and practical experience of prospective candidates for registration. I have no plans to amend the registration arrangements currently provided for under Part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007. I would encourage practically trained architects to pursue the routes to registration which are open to them with a view to joining the small but growing numbers of practically trained architects already on the register.

I have recently released for public consultation proposed Building Control (Amendment) Regulations which will provide for:

(a) the introduction of mandatory certificates of compliance by builders and designers of buildings confirming that the statutory requirements of the Building Regulations have been met;

(b) the lodgement of drawings at both commencement and completion of construction, demonstrating how the building has been designed and built to comply with all parts of the Building Regulations.

The regulations as proposed require, among other things, that the owner of a proposed building or works must assign a competent professional to inspect and certify the proposed building or works. The assigned person must be an Architect or a Building Surveyor named on a register maintained in line with Part 3 or Part 5 respectively of the Building Control Act 2007 or be a Chartered Engineer named on the register maintained under Section 7 of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland (Charter Amendment) Act 1969.

It is envisaged that the assigned person will inspect and certify the building or works in line with a Code of Practice which is currently being prepared and which will be published, following consultation with industry stakeholders, in advance of the implementation of the proposed regulations. Architects and other construction professionals already, in certain circumstances, offer contracts for service to clients which go beyond design work and involve the oversight, inspection or certification of construction work. In this respect the proposed Regulations need not be considered radical or exceptional.

Under the Building Control Acts 1990-2007, responsibility for compliance with the Building Regulations rests first and foremost with the owners of buildings and on builders/developers who carry out construction works to such buildings. The proposed Regulations do not change this fundamental principle. Professionals who are engaged by builders have also a statutory duty to ensure that construction at least meets the legal minimum standards. The proposed Building Control (Amendment) Regulations will now be reviewed by my Department in the light of the submissions received during the public consultation process, which closed on 24 May 2012, with a view to having a final set of Regulations prepared and signed into law in the coming months.