Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Questions (103, 117)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

103. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the services to be provided in the expenditure of up to €50 million in the pyrite resolution process will be decided by competitive tender. [12784/13]

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Clare Daly

Question:

117. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the fact that during house surveys carried out to inspect damage caused by pyrite that non-pyrite related damage to houses and significant non-compliance with Building Regulations Fire Safety has been found in housing units which had been approved by the structural guarantee company Homebond and that complaints based on these failures have been made to local authority building control; and if he will confirm that no personnel from the Homebond company will be employed in the management of the Pyrite Resolution process. [12782/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 103 and 117 together.

The Building Control Acts 1990 and 2007 provides a clear statutory framework for construction activity based on legal enforceable minimum standards as set out in the Building Regulations and in detailed Technical Guidance Documents (TGDs). Responsibility for compliance with the Building Regulations rests with the owner of a building and with the builder/developer who carries out the construction works.

Enforcement of the Building Regulations is primarily the responsibility of the 37 local Building Control Authorities who have strong powers to serve enforcement notices for non-compliance or to institute proceedings for breaches of regulatory requirements within a period of five years from the date the building has been completed. Building Control Authorities have successfully used such powers to achieve compliance. However, my Department has no direct involvement in these matters.

Homeowners and indeed their public representatives should report any concerns about non-compliance with the Building Regulations to the local Building Control Authority.

Remediation of defects is a matter for resolution between the parties concerned, namely the owner and the builder/developer and their insurers. In the event that a satisfactory resolution cannot be achieved through dialogue and negotiation the option of seeking a civil legal remedy can be considered.

I have recently established the Pyrite Resolution Board under the chairmanship of Mr. John O’Connor, former Chairman of An Bord Pleanála, to oversee and ensure the effective implementation of a pyrite remediation programme for homeowners who have no alternative avenues for redress. I am confident that the Board will require compliance with normal procurement procedures. I have also appointed four other Board members, who together with the Chairman, have the particular range of skills and experience to ensure that the public interest, and the interest of the affected homeowners, will be well served. The Board will be working closely with the not-for-profit entity, which will be established by the Construction Industry Federation, the Irish Concrete Federation and HomeBond to deliver an efficient and effective remediation scheme.

Work is underway by the Pyrite Resolution Board on developing the scope and detail of a pyrite remediation scheme. Issues in relation to testing for pyritic heave, eligibility criteria for homeowners, public procurement, certification, warranties and other key concerns will be considered by the Board in the context of its work.