Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Questions (197)

Finian McGrath

Question:

197. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will consider reducing the cost involved for practically trained persons who wish to be included on the register of architects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33715/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In accordance with section 62(4) of the Building Control Act 2007 the amount of a fee specified for the purposes of the Act is not in any case to exceed the total of the costs of providing the service to which the fee relates together with reasonable costs incurred by the registration body in collecting, accounting for and administering the fee. On this basis the fee for technical assessment has been set at €4,500. This amount represents a significant reduction on the figure originally proposed due to a concession given by the registration body at its own expense. My Department understands that the registration body has negotiated a loan facility with the Bank of Ireland to provide support to those undergoing Technical Assessment. Section 17(3) of the Act enables the registration body to waive or reduce a specified fee in cases of verified hardship.

While the above sets out the current factual position in relation to the fee, I have recently asked Mr. Garrett Fennell, Solicitor, who is currently serving as the Chairperson of the Admissions Board relevant to the register of Architects, to carry out an independent review of the experience to date in relation to the operation of the register with a view to identifying any further improvements that can be made at this point. The terms of reference for the review specifically address the matter of how the registration of practically trained architects can be further encouraged and I look forward to any recommendations and views the review report may offer in this regard in the coming months.