BRegs Weekly | 2 December 2016

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2 December 2016 – BRegs Weekly 42- Edition 92

Edition 92 of BRegs Weekly is out now.

Garland Consulting Engineers noted problems with third party certifiers in a submission to BRegs Blog.  Their advice to Building Owners is not to appoint a Design Certifier who is not designing on the project and they recommend the appointment of an existing design team member to the role of Design Certifier.  Based on the wording of the statutory design certificate and the code requirements for the role, Garlands are of the opinion that the use of a third party, non-designing Designer Certifier is not valid and they believe this could have legal and insurance ramifications for a project and those involved.

The apparently haphazard nature of government policy in tackling the housing crisis was prominent in the media again this week.  The government’s Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Bill 2016 will send planning applications for 100 or more residential homes directly to An Bord Pleanala.  Lorcan Sirr in his weekly column said “…this will not be the panacea for a perceived problem, mostly because the problem does not exist.  In 2015, 985 appeals in relation to residential developments were made to An Bord Pleanala, and about 75% of judgments confirmed the local authority’s decision.  Indeed, 82% of all priority appeals to An Bord Pleanala were “disposed of” within 18 weeks.” 

Ronan Lyons examined Central Bank changes to the mortgage rules introduced earlier last year and asked “…why first-time buyers should be treated so differently to other buyers. For a house costing €400,000, to take one example, first-time buyers will need a deposit of €40,000, while anyone else buying the home to live in will need a deposit of €80,000.  And if the dwelling is newly built, the first-time buyers will need a deposit of just €20,000, factoring in their new rebate.  What is the rationale for such a huge gap?” 

Jim Power suggested new Central Bank lending regulations were introduced in response to “intense political pressure”. He said “The measures… will just serve to strengthen demand in the market and will risk sending house prices higher.  Opponents of the Central Bank’s formerly prudent approach have argued that higher prices will elicit more housing supply.  While higher prices may elicit increased supply, they will in the meantime create significant difficulties for those struggling to get on the housing ladder.  It would be more appropriate to focus exclusively on improving the economics of house building through the relaxation of development levies, access to cheaper financing, a reduction in the Vat rate, as well as speeding up the planning process.”

A little over a year since the Berkeley balcony collapse that killed six students, the Governor of California has signed a new law that requires contractors to disclose past felonies and other crimes to state regulators within 90 days.  An earlier version of the bill would have required them to disclose settlements stemming from civil lawsuits as well.  However, the law calls for the Contractors State License Board (CSLB) to study requiring builders to report any settlements or judgments stemming from faulty workmanship. The new legislation was introduced by Democratic Senators Jerry Hill and Loni Hancock – with strong support from Jackie Donohoe, mother of Ashley Donohoe and was approved unanimously last month by both chambers of the California legislature.

The BRegs Weekly e-zine gathers all recent social media discussions relating to Building Control Regulations into one weekly digest. It is published every Friday and gives a round-up of news highlights for the week.  We recommend signing up for an automatic subscription to keep up with the discussion surrounding the current annual review of the BC(A)R, and more recent media articles and stories about building control and the impacts on the consumer and construction industry.

Click Here to read:  BRegs Weekly 42- Edition 92

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