Michael Clifford: “We can’t afford to make the same mistakes again!”
On Monday 1st August 2016, the Examiner newspaper published a comprehensive overview, by investigative journalist, Mick Clifford, of recent building failures uncovered in Ireland . The 4,500 word article also assessed the implications of what went on before on the possible quality of the construction in any housing recovery (Link: Here).
Several high profile building failures were examined in detail including Longboat Quay and Millfield Manor, Newbridge and some less well-known developments, Ath Lethan, Dundalk and Ceol na Mara, Waterford. In addition, the article reports on how a freedom of information request from the Irish Examiner uncovered one of what could be dozens of examples of estates with fire safety defects which were quietly rectified, often from the public purse, without any publicity. The Irish Examiner understands it was deemed necessary for the council to pay for the work on private homes for reasons of access to the council owned properties within mixed private and social housing schemes.
In relation to BC(A)R: SI.9 Clifford writes,
“A new system was introduced, known as SI9, which provides for a paper trail at every stage of the process from design to completion. Each part must be signed off by an “assigned certifier”, drawn from the ranks of engineers, architects and surveyors.The process is effectively designed to ensure that there is somebody to blame – the assigned certifier – in the event of things going wrong. However, the system remains deeply flawed. The certifier is obliged to have professional indemnity insurance, but the nature of deficiencies is that they may not surface for years. So what happens if the insurance lapses in between the construction and the discovery of flaws? What happens in a highly mobile industry if the certifier has left the country and is working in another jurisdiction?
An even bigger issue is to whom is the certifier answerable. Under the rules the certifier can be employed by the developer. This renders the system as effectively a continuation of self-regulation. The result is the state is still attempting to ensure the regulation of the building industry continues to be sub-contracted…..
Anecdotally, it would appear that builders in general are being more careful so far under SI9 than was the case previously. However, the real test will come with activity is ramped up to attack the targets set out by the government’s housing plan. The jury is still out on whether the mistakes and conduct of the past will end up being repeated.
Link to: Examiner: Housing Defects – We can’t afford to make the same mistakes again
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