I propose to take Questions Nos. 99, 103, 114 and 132 together.
The question comes in the context of recent issues in the Department of Education and Skills with the construction and structural integrity of certain schools. That has caused concern for parents and families attending those schools as well for the principals and teachers who work there. I commend my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, Deputy McHugh, for the way he dealt with that so swiftly to make sure the children and schools were safe, people were reaccommodated where they needed to be and the problems identified remedied in the best way. That work will continue.
We looked at this matter as well because we are responsible for the delivery of so many houses through the local authorities on social housing sites. We looked at the companies that may have been involved and if they had been involved in the delivery of social housing etc. Since 2014, we have been operating under a different regime when it comes to the construction of houses. It is a much better regime than that which existed before. This has led to what is known as the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, BCAR, system and the building control management system.
Through that system we have been able to ensure houses built as social housing by local authorities are built to the highest standards possible. That being said, after the Grenfell Tower fire last year, I immediately made sure that the fire authorities in each local authority, working with the local authorities, would investigate all of the social housing stock we have to make sure that it was safe from a fire and life safety point of view. That involved doing certain checks in those buildings. It also involved looking at any tall buildings over a certain height with particular cladding systems as well. As that work was being done, other work involving the fire authorities, the local authorities and people responsible for privately-owned buildings has ensured that the necessary checks and secure arrangements were put in place for those buildings as well. The interim report of that group was published in early June of this year.
It referred to the work it had done and no major defects had been identified. In some cases some remedial work was needed and that work was being carried out. It also stated that some further checks had to take place. That group will report to the national director of fire and emergency management as it continues to do its ongoing work to ensure that people can have confidence that their homes - whether they are living in social housing, for which the local authority has responsibility, or in private rented accommodation in a multi-storey development - has been built to the best specifications and that those specifications have been complied with.
I refer to life safety and fire safety being in the buildings in which people live. Some buildings remain which have defects in the context of fire safety, balconies, etc. We have spoken before about where the responsibility lies between the owner, the management company and the builder. That is to be resolved. As part of the budget for next year, we announced that a significant programme will be unveiled for people who have issues with mica or pyrite damage in their homes.
Further details will be brought to Government later this year with an announcement as well of funding to initiate a scheme in 2019.