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02/27/2014 12:00:00 AM


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Hogan, Phil

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Topical Issues

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Building Regulations Application

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Building regulations

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Environment

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application of

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Building Regulations Application

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Environment\Building regulations, application of

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Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan)

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Snippet Contents:

The new building control amendment regulations will greatly strengthen the arrangements currently in place for the control of building activity by requiring greater accountability in relation to compliance with building regulations in the form of statutory certification of design and construction, the lodgement of compliance documentation, mandatory inspections during construction and validation and registration of certificates. These new regulations are necessary following the widespread instances of failure by owners, designers and builders to comply with their statutory obligations under the Building Control Act 1990 to design and construct buildings in accordance with the building regulations.
Every effort has been made to ensure arrangements are in place for a successful transition to the new building control arrangements from 1 March 2014. Discussions have taken place with all stakeholders for the past two years in respect of implementation. The new online building control management system has been developed to provide a common platform for clear and consistent administration of building control matters across the local authority sector. The local government sector has been involved from the beginning in dealing with these measures. Briefing and guidance on the new system has been provided for local authority staff and representatives of the key construction sector professional bodies, as well as for the Construction Industry Federation in recent weeks. The definitive code of practice for inspecting and certifying buildings and works was circulated to industry stakeholders on 7 February 2014.
Standard forms of contracts used for both private and public sector projects fall to be revised to reflect the new regulatory environment. The Government construction contracts committee and the key construction professional bodies both report strong progress in advancing this work within their respective sectors. The Government has established an oversight group to ensure no unavoidable delays will occur in critical public infrastructure projects at a time when construction activity and employment depends so heavily on public sector investment. Briefing and guidance is available within the Government and within the private sector to deal with contractual challenges and procurement issues that will inevitably arise as change takes place. The above measures are the key supports necessary to ensure the new regulatory arrangements can work well in practice.
The training for professionals has been taking place for the past few months. The Construction Industry Federation, the chartered building surveyors, the chartered quantity surveyors and the local authorities have all welcomed these particular measures. The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland has been a bit reluctant to come to the table in respect of these matters, and there has been a difference of opinion within its own membership, and I am sure the Deputy alluded to that. In the past ten days, however, I understand that 1,200 architects have been subject to training and are now very familiar with the new contractual obligations and regulations.
Concerns that the new regulations prevent a self-build situation are unfounded. I notice that on four occasions this week, misinformation was provided on Mr. Duffy's programme, in spite of the fact that the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has been providing the appropriate information, which he refuses to read out. These allegations on cost are unfounded, although all house builders and owners must comply with the regulations. An owner who intends to self-build - known as direct labour - will, as before, assume legal responsibility for ensuring the building or works concerned are compliant and he will be required, as builder, to sign the undertaking by the builder and the certificate of compliance on completion.
As local authorities and industry move to full implementation next week, the Department will continue to work with all parties to ensure they understand their obligations and the steps necessary to meet them. These changes are essential to deal with the disgraceful legacy issues we have seen with Priory Hall, unfinished estates and the supply of pyritic material.