Minister Kelly approves 200 staff: will any go to building control?

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19th March 2015

We wonder will anyone ask senior Department of the Environment officials the question “will any new staff go to building control?” at the upcoming Irish Building Control Institute (IBCI) annual Conference next week? Speakers will include  Aidan O’Connor (Principal Advisor, Architecture & Building Standards Sections in the Housing and Planning Division of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (DECLG)), John Wickham (DECLG) and Mairead Phelan (BCMS Project Manager, LGMA Project Management Office) amongst others. The annual event for 2015 is scheduled on 25-26th March in the Malton Hotel, Killarney, Co Kerry. 

In an Independent article “Environment Minister Kelly approves 200 housing staff, 200 new staff to deliver more social housing are to be employed in Local Authorities. We have noted official Department of the Environment figures confirming less than 90 social housing units were built by Local Authorities in 2014 (see here).

We have posted an analysis of staffing requirements to create a self-funded system of Local Authority independent inspections, similar to the much praised system in the UK. With the same number of new staff, 200 additional building control officers, we could have a similar system delivering real consumer protection at a fraction of the cost to the consumer and industry of our current enhanced system of self-certification. 

We wonder will any new resources be put at the disposal of understaffed building control sections? With less than 70 staff at present nationwide these departments have targets of 12-15% inspection rates for a €10Bn industry- hardly credible. Under the building control regulations introduced last March, the inspection requirement has increased from per project from one to a minimum of 4. Based on historical data it is estimated that this will lead to less than 3% of projects completed will receive a local authority inspection. This will give the consumer little comfort with 97% of all buildings failing to get even a cursory independent inspection.

Other posts of interest:

Everything you wanted to know about “Approved Inspectors” 

How much would 100% independent inspections by Local Authorities cost?

€ 5 billion | The extraordinary cost of S.I.9 self-certification by 2020

Pyrite: the spiraling cost of no Local Authority Inspections

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9?

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

SI.9 to Cost €168m in 2014 | Non-Residential Sector

SI.9 costs for a typical house

More dog wardens than building inspectors in Ireland- Self Builders to be made extinct 

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