The Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works requires local authorities to inspect a minimum of 12-15% of new buildings for which valid commencement notices have been received.
The indication in the National Oversight and Audit Commission (NOAC) report that 8 local authorities did not meet this minimum requirement in 2018 is disappointing. However, it should be noted that between 2015 and 2018, the number of new buildings for which there were valid commencement notices has more than doubled, from 9,438 to 19,808. During this time, the number of inspections has also increased significantly, from 2,555 to 4,648 (representing an 80% increase in inspections). Nationally, in 2018, over 23% of all new buildings with a valid commencement notices were inspected. This demonstrates that the majority of local authorities exceed the minimum 12-15% target.
The need to make further progress in the area of building control has been recognised in the establishment of the National Building Control Office (NBCO), within Dublin City Council, to provide oversight, direction and support for the development, standardisation and implementation of Building Control as an effective shared service in the 31 Building Control Authorities. My Department is working with the NBCO at present on a review of the inspection policy for building control. It is intended that the new policy will position Building Control Authorities to carry out risk-based targeted inspections by making more efficient and effective use of the available resources. Much progress has been made on this review, an inspections protocol and methodology has been developed and a pilot IT system to support inspections has also been developed. The issue of targets and capacity will be considered further in this context of this policy review.