BRegs Weekly | 23 June 2017

23 June 2017 –  BRegs Weekly Edition 111

Edition 111 of BRegs Weekly is out now.

In “Hold builders to account on safety, Green Party says”, the Irish Times noted that a lack of regulation during the Celtic Tiger years led to thousands of properies being built without sufficient fire safety measures. Hundreds of owners have been left with heavy remediation fees to make their homes safe. Catherine Martin, deputy leader of the Green Party, proposed a motion to establish a centralised building regulator to tackle shoddy construction and help those landed with defective properties. She said the time had come to stand up to the construction industry: “In the rush to build new homes so urgently needed, it is essential that this time it is done right..There is no doubt about it; under the current rules and regulations, we could easily have a blaze like Grenfell in Ireland”. The motion was subsequently passed.

Elsewhere in related housing news “Government to miss target on homeless families” RTE News reported that new figures reveal that the Government has built just 10% of its planned provision of social housing units this year. Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy admitted yesterday that the July deadline for getting all 600 homeless families out of hotels would not be met. Only 200 social housing units have been built in the first three months of the year despite a commitment of 2,300 new homes made by his predecessor Simon Coveney. Dublin City Council (DCC) deputy chief executive Brendan Kenny said real progress is being made to house families living in emergency hotel accommodation and that will continue apace in the coming months and said the Government’s target was ambitious and this should be praised rather than criticised.

In “Dublin hotel used to accommodate homeless families does not yet have fire cert” the Independent revealed that a Dublin hotel being used as emergency accommodation for homeless families does not yet have a fire certificate. Lynams hotel on O’Connell Street is used as “contingency accommodation” on a nightly basis for families who cannot secure it anywhere else. The hotel is being converted by DCC into a “family hub” to house homeless families as part of the Government’s plan to end the use of commercial accommodation. The building is currently restricted until “further precautions” can be put in place. This follows action by  Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) on Wednesday who said in a statement: “The Fire Safety Certificate for this premises is currently being processed. The list of works [currently being carried out] include refurbishing of the premises to bring it to an acceptable fire safety standard considering the change of usage on the building.”Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy confirmed to the committee that there were currently no families staying at the hotel and work was underway to make it fully compliant for use as a family hub.

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 : Edition 111

2 thoughts on “BRegs Weekly | 23 June 2017

  1. Paul Lee

    How does the Green Party imagine they have any moral status on this matter? John Gormley was Minister for Environment when the Building Control Bill was brought in. That established the means by which the institute of architects tried to gain control of the word “architect”. The Green Party are the same as the rest of them, just not skilled at playing the game.

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  2. Michael Tweed

    I disagree with most of the Green Party agenda but the proposal to have a centralised building authority is at last a proposal in the right direction! The proposal that building control be centralised in one authority makes excellent sense. I keep pointing this out – the Building Regulations are STATEMENTS OF INTENT full of recommendations to take “due regard”, or be “adequate”, or be “reasonable in the circumstances”. Compliance with these statements at any point in time is based on guidance as the prima facie means of complying, but not the sole means of complying.
    How much better that a centralised authority should set the bar, on behalf of the citizens of the state, as to what constitutes compliance, and that they have the independent authority to police compliance at all stages, design and construction, and statutory powers to compel cessation and rectification of non-compliant work. It should be compulsory to get Building Regulation approval prior to commencement of construction (thus making Fire Safety Certificates and DAC’s redundant, since the BR’s approval would cover every part of the Building Regulations holistically) just as it is compulsory to obtain Planning Permission. Thereafter all construction work should be inspected at least at the critical points prior to covering up of works. Builder’s knowing their operations on site could be stopped by a Building Control officer who deemed work to be non-compliant would certainly keep them honest and on their toes!
    The madness of all this is that prior to the introduction of the Building Control Act, in those Local Authority areas that had Building Bye Laws these checks existed, exactly as I have described them! These are not new ideas – they were in place from the 19th Century!
    As usual it takes the tragic loss of life, this time in the horrendous Grenfell Tower fire before people start to lift their heads out of the sand and wonder was it a good idea to have had 25 years of self-regulation in the construction industry!

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