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Building Regulations Application

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Building regulations

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Environment

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Building Regulations Application

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Environment\Building regulations, application of

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Snippet Contents:

Thank you, a Cheann Comhairle, for allowing me to raise this issue, given that the new regulations are due to commence next week.
I recognise the need to have a strong regulatory system to maintain a high quality standard of building for family homes. The experience of hard-pressed residents in Priory Hall and in other developments underlines that. However, the regulatory measures coming into effect on 1 March will penalise own-build home owners who want to build their own family home. One-off homes will be hit with a regulatory framework designed for large-scale developments in major towns and cities. This will dramatically increase costs and has the potential to damage the construction industry at a time when the Government claims it is trying to boost it. There has also been a failure of the Government to communicate the changes, leading to speculation about their impact, further damaging the construction industry. It may well be seen as another anti-rural bias of the Government.
The regulations can essentially be broken down into three broad principles. Anyone wishing to building anything - with the usual exemptions - must, by law, employ what is referred to as an assigned professional, such as an engineer, architect or surveyor, to inspect the property on-site. This assigned professional must inspect the building, and at the end of the procedures, issue a certificate warranting that they have inspected the works and that they comply with the regulations. The professional also warrants that he or she accepts responsibility for the legal liability for the inspection of all works as necessary, to ensure they are neither defective nor contravene any requirements of the second schedule of the building regulations "notwithstanding the responsibilities of other persons or firms in relation to the works". What implications does that have for indemnity insurance? Some would say that some have left the market or are planning to do so because of what does not appear to be a clear delineation between the owner and the inspector. The assigned professional must submit a full set of completed drawings to the building control authority on completion.
There are various problems with these regulations. The cost of the regulations will place a hefty and disproportionate burden on one-off housing. There has been no public information campaign, leading to speculation about the consequences of the changes that may potentially harm the construction sector. What level of resources have been given to local authorities to handle the deluge of information and paperwork that will result from the new system? When we consider the crisis in respect of roads and housing and the fact that development charges have diminished to such an extent that the income does not exist any more and there are recruitment embargoes in local authority planning departments, we should acknowledge the pressure all this will put on the system. Up to 500 architects' practices may well be out of the loop with these inspections, with all the implications this has on that sector.
Perhaps the Minister can respond to those issues, and maybe then I will make suggestions if I do not feel he plans to examine them. Ultimately, I ask him to consider a deferral in the first instance, with a review panel and a targeted approach. It is incumbent on him to consider a deferral for six months, re-engagement with the stakeholders, and to take on board some of the suggestions that have been made to me and to many of the Minister's colleagues.