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Defective Building Materials

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 4 March 2021

Thursday, 4 March 2021

Questions (74)

Neale Richmond

Question:

74. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he plans to establish a comprehensive redress scheme for houses affected by historic defects and pyrite as recommended by the 2018 Safe as Houses report by the Joint Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government; if so, the progress that has been made; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12313/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

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.

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 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.

In addition, I brought a Memorandum for the Information of the Government to Cabinet recently to note the establishment of a working group with the appropriate expertise to examine the issue of defective housing. It is intended to hold the inaugural plenary working group meeting shortly.

In regard to the working group’s deliberations, the group will seek to engage with a range of interested parties, including homeowners, public representatives, local authorities, product manufacturers, building professionals and industry stakeholders, among others.

Separately, Government is supporting homeowners of dwellings which are subject to significant damage attributable to pyritic heave and defective concrete blocks through the Pyrite Remediation Scheme and the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme. Budget 2021 provides funding of €40 million to fund both initiatives.

In addition, 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.

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