Minister urged to defer new building regulations

Friday 28 February 2014 19.24
The regulations will increase the levels of accountability on professionals signing off on new buildings
The regulations will increase the levels of accountability on professionals signing off on new buildings

Members of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland have called for the deferral of new building regulations due to come into force tomorrow.

The regulations will increase the levels of accountability on professionals signing off on new buildings.

Councillors in rural areas have called on Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to amend the regulations to facilitate rural self-builders who want to build on their own land.

The Department of the Environment said the new regulations are needed to ensure properties are safe and compliant with the regulations.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Hogan said there is nothing new in the regulations that prevent direct labour.

"The people who engage in direct labour or self-build will be able to continue to do so because there is no change in the act; in the statutory obligations under the Building Control Act 1990," he said.

The minister added that he is "expecting a professional to sign off on the work that it is actually done in accordance with the papers that are lodged and that it is up to a high standard ... that will cost somewhere between one and two thousand euro".

He said it is "a small cost to pay to make sure that things are done right for a home that might cost €100,000 or €150,000".

Mr Hogan said the new regulations were being brought in because of all the poor building standards that have been signed off by professionals, which resulted in places such as Priory Hall, unfinished estates and pyritic material in buildings.

The minister said he could not understand what he described as the "wild exaggeration" in relation to self-builds.

He said there is no change in the technical performance standards in respect of newly-finished homes.