Building Regulations Application

Questions (131)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

131. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government regarding the Governments’ drive to increase construction sector employment and the decision to defer the implementation of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 in respect of educational and hospital projects, if he will commit to monitoring month-on-month changes to commencement notices lodged after 1 March, and report back to the Oireachtas in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14235/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Monthly returns of residential commencement notices across all relevant local authorities are published by my Department on an on-going basis and are available on my Department’s website, www.environ.ie.

Building Regulations Application

Questions (132)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

132. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of the fact that the builder’s undertaking on the certificate on completion according to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 is to be signed by the principal or director of a building company only, if he will explain the status of a private person, such as a self-builder, in relation to this certificate of completion; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14236/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

On 26 February 2014 my Department issued an Information Note on the Implications of SI No. 9 of 2014 for Self-Builders to local authorities and industry stakeholders and a copy of this note has now been place d in the Oireachtas Library for the information of members.

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI No. 9 of 2014) place no restriction on self-build and there is no difficulty in a self-builder signing the statutory form of undertaking by the builder at commencement stage or the statutory certificate of compliance on completion (Part A).

In introducing statutory certificates of compliance , SI No. 9 of 2014 supports and preserves the statutory responsibilities (on owners, designers and builders) that are already set out under the Building Control Act 1990. The chain of responsibility begins with the owner who, under SI No. 9 of 2014, must now sign the commencement notice and the notices of assignment of the Builder and of the Assigned Certifier.

The notice of assignment of a builder requires the owner to declare they are satisfied that the assigned person is competent to undertake the works. The essential point is that the owner acts with responsibility in assigning a competent builder. In practice, this assigned person will be a sole trader, a company or a self- builder and their status is irrelevant once competence is assured. If for any reason the assigned builder changes, the building owner is obliged to inform the local authority and to assign and notify a new builder.  The significance of this is that the assigned builder (and no one other than the assigned builder) must sign Part A of the relevant Certificate of Compliance on Completion.

Where the person assigned is a firm, the signature must be signed by a Principal or Director i.e. it should not be signed by an employee. This qualification of the signatory is only necessary in the case of a company. Where a self- builder is acting on his or her own behalf there are no agents or intermediaries involved and the potential for confusion over legal responsibility does not therefore arise.

Building Regulations Application

Questions (133, 134)

Stephen Donnelly

Question:

133. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he consulted with the architects’ representative body before announcing that the cost to a self-builder of employing a design certifier and an assigned certifier in respect of a domestic project will be between €1,000 and €3,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14237/14]

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Stephen Donnelly

Question:

134. Deputy Stephen S. Donnelly asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he is concerned that the uncertainty surrounding the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 regarding project completion may have a detrimental effect on small and medium sized enterprises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14238/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Question Nos. 133 and 134 together.

An extensive public consultation process was undertaken in 2012 to inform the development of the revised building control regulations which came into effect on 1 March 2014. Comprehensive consultation documents were published, including Strengthening the Building Control System - A Document to inform public consultation on Draft Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2012 which sets out the context in which the reforms – as later signed into law in the form of S.I. No. 9 of 2014 – would operate and the regulatory impact of these for building owners and industry stakeholders. This document remains available on my Department’s website, www.environ.ie.

In summary terms, it can be said that the arrangements being put in place for the control of building activity may result in additional design, inspection, certification and, possibly, insurance costs which must ultimately be borne by the building owner/contracting authority. Such additional costs would be justified by the enhanced quality and standard of design and construction of the building project concerned in light of several notable instances of non-compliant buildings which failed to meet minimum building standards. It is anticipated that the statutory inspection process will reduce the incidences of defective works on site and the resultant associated costs of carrying out remedial works will reduce accordingly.

Owners/developers will now be required to assign a competent person to inspect and certify the works. For buildings where this would not previously have been the case, it was estimated that this requirement could add between €1,000 to €3,000 per housing unit to the overall building costs. On practice, the costs of construction activity and related professional services are determined by market forces and I am precluded by trade and competition law from introducing any measures which would interfere with the normal functioning of the market in that regard.

The construction industry in Ireland and the residential sector in particular includes an unusually high number of SMEs. A large proportion of the work of such firms involves repair, renewal and renovation work or extensions to existing dwellings. Such works less than 40 square metres do not come within the scope of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations. In addition such firms, operate as sub-contractors on larger projects. In such cases the impact and the administrative burden of the proposed regulations falls on the principal contractor. The impact of the proposed regulations on SMEs has thus been kept to a minimum.

Construction Industry Register Ireland

Questions (135)

Gerry Adams

Question:

135. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the purposes the €600 annual registration fee of construction companies to the Construction Industry Federation will be used for; the reason this registration fee is on an annual basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [14247/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) has been established by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) as a register of builders and contractors. Participation in the register is voluntary at present. The registration fee and the administration of the register is a matter for the board of CIRI and the CIF and I have no direct role in relation to such matters.

The Government has signalled its commitment to placing the register on a statutory footing in 2015. I intend to bring legislative proposals to Government in that regard by the end of 2014. In relation to the fees for registration it is likely that the amount of any such fees will, when the register is put on a statutory footing, be subject to the consent of the Minister and will be limited to covering the costs incurred by the registration body in administering the register which would include the costs of maintaining, accounting for, auditing, and quality assuring the register.