New rules could create ‘2-tier’ standard of building quality for one off housing
Local Authorities must be sufficiently resourced to handle inspections
Wednesday, 12th August 2015. The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI), the professional representative body for the construction and property sectors, said that the recent decision by Government to ease building control regulations on one off houses was a missed opportunity to ensure high building standards across the country and to ensure consistency across the sector.
The SCSI was commenting on a Review of the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 which was facilitated by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLHG). The Society pointed to the report published by the Department which showed that 62% of respondents favoured mandatory statutory certification remaining in place.
Andrew Ramsey, Chairman of the Building Surveying Professional Group of the SCSI said “The decision to remove the mandatory requirement for statutory certificates of compliance in respect of a new dwelling on a single unit development for one off houses is very disappointing. The SCSI was a strong advocate of the introduction of building control regulations and believes we need to ensure higher standards of building regulations to provide consumers with assurance and peace of mind – not reduce them”
“We also have a concern that diluting standards which exist for public protection may create a “two tier” standard of one off houses – some houses will be built with a higher standard of building control than others, which may result in further confusion for prospective home buyers in the future” Ramsey said.
“Furthermore, while we support all measures to improve housing supply given the need for 21,000 units to be built annually, we are not convinced that this decision will have a significant impact on supply as it primarily relates to one off houses many of which in the short to medium term are often not for sale on the open market” Ramsey added.
The SCSI also noted the announcement to develop a new fit-for purpose local authority inspection process.
“We welcome the decision to put in place a local authority inspection process, but this will only be effective if it is properly resourced and if a high level of inspection is put in place. We cannot revert to the situation under the old building control regime, where very limited local authority inspections were only carried out on around 10-15% of new houses” concluded Ramsey.