Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (112)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

112. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he is satisfied that the housing units-apartments constructed during the past ten years comply with fire safety regulations. [12785/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Since 1 June 1992, all new, extended or materially altered buildings must be built in compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations. The requirements of the Building Regulations are set out in 12 parts (classified as parts A to M) addressing the legally enforceable performance standards which a completed building must achieve. My Department publishes a Technical Guidance Document (TGD) to accompany each part of the regulations outlining how the legal requirement may be achieved in practice. Part B/TGD B addresses the requirements in relation to Fire Safety.

Primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations rests with the designers, builders and owners of buildings. Implementation of enforcement measures is a matter for the local building control authority. Local authorities have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement as Building Control Authorities under the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2007, and as Fire Authorities, Planning Authorities and Housing Authorities under other Acts relevant to the built environment. I am aware that local authorities have used such powers on a number of occasions where circumstances have given rise to concern and I expect local authorities to continue to use all of the powers currently available to them to address serious building defects.

Neither I nor my Department have any function in relation to assessing, checking or testing compliance, or otherwise, of specific works or developments under the Building Control Acts or the Fire Safety Acts.

My Department is currently engaged in a review of Part B/TGDB. The question of the appropriate future regulatory requirements for all buildings, including housing units, will be addressed as part of this review. Any proposals for change will be subject to a comprehensive public consultation process and a rigorous Regulatory Impact Assessment in due course prior to their being signed into law.