Here is a more detailed piece on the content of Minister Alan Kelly’s address to the Construction Industry Federation on 25th November from the The Engineers Journal. In the following article ‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly from 27th November 2014, Environment Minister Alan Kelly has stated that he will propose amendments to the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 as they are “too onerous”, especially with regard to self builds and extensions, writes David Jackson. Extract to follow:
‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly
Environment Minister Alan Kelly has stated that he will propose amendments to theBuilding Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014, as the current Regulations are “too onerous”.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) on 25 October to mark the launch of the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI), Minister Kelly said, “We can never have another Priory Hall. It was absolutely outrageous what was allowed to happen in the past… but we can’t use a mallet to crack a nut in relation to some aspects of the Building Regulations.
“I’ll be proposing that there’ll be amendments to the Regulations – particularly in relation to self-build, one-off houses and extensions – because I believe there’s a need for some change in that whole area,” he continued. “I think the Regulations, as they currently stand, are a bit too onerous. In fact, I know they’re too onerous. They need to be amended and myself and Minister Paudie Coffey [Minister of State at the Department of the Environment with Special Responsibility for Housing, Planning and Coordination of the Construction 2020 Strategy] will be working on that.”
CIRI is a register of construction companies, sole traders and builders that are vetted by Government nominees and industry professionals. It has been set up to help members of the public find competent, experienced construction practitioners. In order to be listed on CIRI a company must comply with the building regulations and an industry code of ethics, it must prove its tax compliance and it must meet the health and safety regulations relating to the construction industry.
In CIRI’s first year, over 400 construction companies are listed with a further 800 companies at various stages of the application process. The CIF expects that approximately 1,500 companies will be listed on CIRI by the end of 2015.
CIRI and statutory legislation
Minister Kelly also discussed the Government’s perspective on the Register ahead of the publication of the legislation that will set CIRI on a statutory footing in 2015. He emphasised the importance of learning from past mistakes brought about by what he described as “bad decision making, greed, a lack of statutory provision and a lack of regulation”.
“CIRI and the reforms of building control activity now provide a robust and reliable registry framework that I believe will prove fit for purpose in ensuring that we leave behind the bad old days, when sharp practice and a quick buck were the order of the day, when clients and consumers found themselves short changed and with little hope of recourse from the industry or from public authorities,” he added.
Minister Kelly acknowledged that public tolerance for defective building and shoddy workmanship had been exhausted and concluded by outlining the impact CIRI will have on the future of the construction industry. “This is something that’s imperative for the future of the industry, the future development of the industry, the branding of the industry and also to create a control mechanism to ensure that we have an industry fit for purpose, to ensure that we don’t go through again what we went through in the past,” he said.
It is hoped that CIRI will strengthen the arrangements in place for quality construction by:
- Providing a means by which developers, owners and construction professionals can satisfy themselves that the contractors they use will be competent and experienced for the work that they undertake;
- Ensuring that responsible and compliant firms can compete on a level playing field and are not subject to unfair competition from unscrupulous operators;
- Ensuring that clients, including public bodies, are aware of the compliance record of any CIRI registered entity with which they engage;
- Supporting the continuous development over time of the professionalism and competence of individual firms, and thus the industry as a whole; and
- Providing an effective means for responding to client or consumer complaints against CIRI registered entities.
CIF president Philip Crampton reiterated the Minister’s points and backed the focus on quality and competency that CIRI promotes. “It [CIRI] will allow those who carry out good, quality work, and who meet all the eligibility criteria, to stand out from those who don’t,” he said.
“We have some fantastic companies and sole traders in the Irish construction sector and CIRI provides them with the platform to stand out. It also provides a register which construction professionals such as architects, chartered surveyors and engineers, as well as the general public, can rely upon,” he concluded.
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