Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Questions (767)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

767. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to implement changes to the building control amendment regulations, SI No. 9 of 2014, to exempt or ease the burden on self-builders; his plans to implement such changes; if he is aware of the difficulties that these regulations are causing to self-builders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23354/15]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In overall terms, I am satisfied that the new building control regime represents a reasonable and appropriate response to the many building failures that occurred in the past decade and will lead to improved quality within the construction sector. However, I am conscious that concerns have been raised in relation to the costs imposed by the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I . No. 9 of 2014 ), in particular in relation to single dwellings (including self-builds) and extensions. As Minister, I have a responsibility to ensure that the cost of compliance with regulations is fair, reasonable and proportionate and I have already publicly indicated my willingness to consider and take whatever steps are reasonable and appropriate should this prove not to be the case.

The key impact on costs associated with the S.I. No. 9 of 2014 lies in the requirement for the appointment of an Assigned Certifier whose role, in conjunction with the builder and the project team, is to draw up and execute an appropriate inspection plan and to certify the building on completion. While fees for professional services are determined by market forces and are therefore outside the scope of my regulatory powers, my Department has prepared a Sample Preliminary Inspection Plan for a Single Unit Dwelling on a Single Development which has been subject to a recent public consultation exercise undertaken as part of a general review of S.I. No. 9 of 2014 during its first twelve months in operation.

Cost calculations published to accompany the Sample Preliminary Inspection Plan demonstrate that the new Assigned Certifier role can be achieved at an approximate cost of €3,800 inclusive of VAT. Where additional design work is required the combined cost of Assigned Certifier duties and additional design work will be of the order of €6,000 inclusive of VAT.

The arrangements in respect of self-built, one-off houses form an essential element of the review of the broader operation of S.I. No. 9 of 2014. Some 170 submissions have been received during the public consultation stage of this review process which concluded on 15 May 2015. These submissions are currently being considered and my Department will produce a report on the matter by end June 2015 with a view to ensuring that any measures required can be put in place as a matter of priority.