Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (1171)

Michael Harty

Question:

1171. Deputy Michael Harty asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans for the continuation of SI No. 365 of 2015, Building Control (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2015, with respect to the discretionary opt-out for self builders. [45269/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In response to the building failures that have emerged over the past decade, Government has embarked on a three pronged Building Control Reform Agenda, which is focused on:

1. Reform of the Building Control process;

2. Establishment of a National Building Control Management Project; and

3. Putting the Construction Industry Register Ireland on a statutory footing.

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (S.I. No. 9 of 2014) require greater accountability in relation to compliance with Building Regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction by registered construction professionals and builders, lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates.

A Certificate of Compliance on Completion is jointly signed by the builder and the assigned certifier. This must be accompanied by plans and documentation to show how the constructed building complies with the building regulations and also the inspection plan, as implemented.

Under these Regulations, the owner of a building must assign competent persons to design, build, inspect and certify building works he/she has commissioned. They in turn, must account for their contribution through the lodgement of compliance documentation, inspection plans and statutory certificates. The roles and responsibilities of owners, designers, builders, assigned certifiers, etc. during building works are set out in the Code of Practice for Inspecting and Certifying Buildings and Works, which is available at the following link:

https://www.localgov.ie/sites/default/files/2016-10-21_code_of_practice_for_inspecting_and_certifying_buildings_and_works_final_version-2016.pdf.

This has brought clarity and accountability, a focus on compliance with Building Regulations and a new order to bear on construction projects.

S.I. No. 9 of 2014 was reviewed after 12 months in operation. Following this review, the were introduced. Under these regulations, owners of new single dwellings, on a single development unit, and domestic extensions may opt out of the requirements for statutory certification. This was introduced due to the perceived high costs of the S.I. 9 procedures for owners of such dwellings.

However, it is important to note, these regulations do not facilitate an "opt-out" of the requirements of the Building Regulations. Building Regulations exist to protect the safety and welfare of people in and about buildings, they apply to the design and construction of a new building and to an extension or material alteration of an existing building and include new single dwellings, on a single development unit, and domestic extensions.

My Department has published an information note for owners of new dwellings and extensions who opt out of Statutory Certification for building control purposes. This note explains the building control system, what the procedure is for opting out and provides general advice on the statutory obligations that rest with owners who opt out such as compliance with Building Regulations, planning, workplace safety etc. The information note is available at the following link:

https://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/building-standards/building-regulations/information-note-owners-new-dwellings-and-extensions.

National Building Control Office (NBCO), within Dublin City Council, provides oversight, direction and support for the development, standardisation and implementation of Building Control as an effective shared service in the 31 Building Control Authorities. Within this context, the uptake and use of SI No. 365 of 2015 is being monitored. Reviews of the building control regulations are undertaken by my Department, as necessary, as part of the ongoing Building Control Reform Agenda.