The Programme for Government sets out a number of commitments in respect of the important policy area of building defects and provides for an examination of defective housing, having regard to the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing report, "Safe as Houses".
In this regard, my Department is actively engaging with key stakeholders and I have had several meetings with stakeholder representative groups on this matter over recent months. My Department is currently working to establish the structures to examine the issue of defective housing, this will include apartment buildings, in line with the commitment in the programme for government.
I recently appointed Mr Seamus Neely, former chief executive of Donegal County Council, to the position of Chair to the independent working group to oversee the effective implementation of the group’s terms of reference which are currently being finalised.
While I acknowledge the very stressful circumstances which the owners and residents of buildings face when defects occur in their homes, however, in general, building defects are matters for resolution between the contracting parties involved, the homeowner, the builder, the developer and/or their respective insurers, structural guarantee or warranty scheme.
Under the Building Control Acts 1990 to 2020 primary responsibility for compliance of works with the requirements of the Building Regulations, rests with the owners, designers and builders of buildings.
Enforcement of the Building Regulations is a matter for the 31 local building control authorities which have extensive powers of inspection and enforcement under statute.
Separately, the ongoing building control reform agenda, with its many initiatives, already provides a comprehensive roadmap for embedding a culture of real compliance within the construction industry. The reform agenda includes:
- Amendments made to the Building Control Regulations;
- Establishment of the National Building Control Office; and
- The ongoing development of new legislation through the Building Control (Construction Industry Register Ireland) Bill.