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

ALERT | BCMS: Part B – Fire Safety

21st June 2017 

The following alert was issued by the Building Control Management System on 16th June 2017

To: All Registered users of BCMS

RE: Recent Events at Grenfell Tower, London relevant to Part B – Fire Safety

The very tragic events of this week at Grenfell Tower, London is a stark reminder to us that those involved in works to existing or new buildings need to remain vigilant in relation to compliance with the Building Regulations and in particular to Part B Fire Safety.

Technical Guidance Documents (Parts A – M) provide technical guidance on how to comply with the Regulations in practical terms e.g. Technical Guidance Document B 2006* contains guidance, compliance with which will, prima facie, indicate compliance with Part B.

While we respectfully await the outcome of the UK inquiry into the tragic fire, we draw your particular attention to the guidance in TGD B on external wall construction in relation to internal (B3) and external fire spread (B4), which also refers to other publications for further advice.

It should also be noted that, under the Part D of the Building Regulations (Materials and Workmanship), there is an overarching requirement that all works should be carried out using “proper materials…which are fit for the use for which they are intended and for the conditions in which they are to be used to ensure compliance with the regulatory requirements as prescribed.

Where innovative products are used, third party certification, such as Agrément Certification is a means of demonstrating how products/ systems can meet the requirements of the Building Regulations, including Part B. Care should be taken to read the terms and conditions of such certification and ensure that the content of the certification is strictly adhered to during construction, in conjunction with the Fire Safety Certificate where relevant.

*It should be noted that Part B/ TGD B 2006, is currently under review and is being split into 2 volumes. Part B/TGD B – Fire Safety – Volume 2 – Dwelling Houses 2017 was published earlier this year and comes into effect on 1 July 2017. Volume 1 is being prepared for publication consultation.

BRegs Weekly | 16 June 2017

16 June 2017 –  BRegs Weekly Edition 110

Edition 110 of BRegs Weekly is out now.

The Grenfell tower-block fire in London and Building Control failures figured prominently this week. The Guardian led with “’Disaster waiting to happen’: fire expert slams UK tower blocks”. UK architect Sam Webb said breaches of fire safety standards in UK were common and lessons from Lakanal House have not been learned. Webb surveyed hundreds of residential tower blocks across the country in the early 1990s and presented a damning report to the Home Office, which revealed that more than half of the buildings didn’t meet basic fire safety standards. He said: “We discovered a widespread breach of safety, but we were simply told nothing could be done because it would ‘make too many people homeless’…I really don’t think the building industry understands how fire behaves in buildings and how dangerous it can be. The government’s mania for deregulation means our current safety standards just aren’t good enough.”

Irish experts have warned of the possibility of similar large scale loss of life, given our privatised self-regulated construction sector. In the Irish Times article “Possibility of Grenfell Tower-type fire exists in Ireland”  Architect Niall Walsh of CJ Walsh said he feared Ireland was following the building and regulatory path taken in the UK, which appears to have contributed to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Mr Walsh said that Ireland was “following the English model of building regulation – and that model is inadequate…The model was one that eschewed actual inspection of buildings in favour of paper-based checks”. He said there was a need for “independent inspection of buildings”, similar to the regime that was in place in Ireland up until the early 1990s.

Earlier in the week the Donegal Democrat reported on publication of the long awaited official report into Mica affected blocks in Donegal and Mayo. In “Report finds thousands of Donegal homes could be affected by Mica blocks”  it was noted that an Expert Panel on Concrete Blocks found that there may be as many as 4,800 dwellings potentially affected, as well as 541 social housing units. The Minister of State Damien English, said: “There are eight recommendations contained in this report and my Department will be taking action immediately… In addition and in light of the information contained in the report, I have asked my Department to consider what further actions may be required to assist the parties directly involved in reaching a satisfactory resolution to the problems that have emerged in the two counties”. Deputy Thomas Pringle called on Minister English to establish a redress scheme for affected homeowners in Donegal without further delay following the publication of the report.

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 110

Possibility of Grenfell Tower-type fire exists in Ireland | CJ Walsh

15 June 2017

The following Irish Times article by Peter Murtagh was published yesterday 14th June 2017 (see link here): Possibility of Grenfell Tower-type fire exists in Ireland

Ireland ‘following the English model of building regulation – which is inadequate’

The possibility of a Grenfell Tower-type fire in Ireland exists, according to a fire safety expert, but a representative of fire-fighters says the height of buildings currently does not pose a problem for the fire service.

Niall Walsh of CJ Walsh, an architectural and sustainable design firm, said he feared Ireland was following the building and regulatory path taken in the UK – which appears to have contributed to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Rainscreen cladding on the London tower was, according to Rydon Construction, put there with the aim of “improving thermal insulation and modernising the exterior of the building”. The company finished refurbishing the building last summer.

Mr Walsh said in an interview that Ireland was “following the English model of building regulation – and that model is inadequate”.

The model was one that eschewed actual inspection of buildings in favour of paper-based checks, he said.

He said there was a need for “independent inspection of buildings”, similar to the regime that was in place in Ireland up until the early 1990s.

As regards building materials and construction methods, which appear to have played a role in the London blaze, Mr Walsh said while it was important not to rush to judgment, “there is definitely a problem with external cladding”.

Such cladding has become popular in recent years for buildings of all sizes – including two-storey residential homes.

External cladding has previously been a factor in the rapid spread of fire in incidents in Australia, the Middle East and Chechnya, Mr Walsh said.

Spread could be rapid

If the material used in external cladding was flammable and fire from an interior passed to the exterior, the spread thereafter could be rapid.

“There’s definitely a question with the cladding. There’s also a question as to how the fire spread so quickly internally because there was only one fire evacuation staircase, from reports – and that was very quickly smoke clogged,” said Mr Walsh.

Other questions any inquiry was likely to focus on included the fire alarm system, if one existed, and the “stay in place” standard advice to people in residential buildings – that is, return to your apartment, close the door while the fire is fought, and wait for assistance.

“It is criminal to advise people to go back into their apartment and wait. These are not safe places any more,” said Mr Walsh.

Ross MacCobb, chairman of the Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association, agreed that external insulation was a cause of concern.

“It’s made of polyfoam, or a variety of that, all the way to rockwool, which won’t ignite although it will burn,” said Mr MacCobb.

Dublin fire-fighters currently had access to turntables that had ladders capable of reaching 32 metres into the air, which, when erected at an angle, gave fire-fighters an elevated reach of some 28 metres, he said.

This would be sufficient for buildings of up to 10 storeys, said Mr MacCobb. He had concerns that planning regulations might soon allow for buildings of a height that would put them out of reach of the fire brigade.

Related

London tower block fire death toll of 12 expected to rise

London fire: Questions raised about safety of building’s modernisation

Spending cuts may have contributed to London fire – Corbyn

Other articles of interest:

London fire: ‘It was quiet panic. People were completely traumatised’ about 10 hours ago 
London fire: 12 confirmed dead with another 18 people critical about 4 hours ago 

London tower block fire: in pictures about 6 hours ago 

London fire: Woman tried to save baby by dropping it ‘from ninth floor’ about 4 hours ago 

Residents’ blog warned of fire hazards at London tower since2013 about 17 hours ago 

Building Control threat to Homeless ‘Hubs’ completions?

13 June 2017

At a Dublin City Council (DCC) meeting yesterday, Councillor John Lyons (People Before Profit Alliance) posted on social media that DCC had not consulted councillors regarding homeless ‘hub’ accommodation and that elected representatives had not seen any cost-benefit analysis for any of the emergency schemes.  His motion to ‘cease immediately with this flawed and shameful plan of placing families into industrial estate locations such as the former Bargaintown furniture store… and seek instead solutions to the homelessness crisis, such as acquisitions and a programme of social housing…” was ruled out of order.

In 2015 Architect Vivian Cummins examined the implications of Building Control Regulations introduced in 2014 BCAR SI9 on 22 ‘Rapid’ build homes in Poppintree, Ballymun. His analysis was prescient as the completion of the ‘rapid’ units took 6 months and not 6 weeks as officials predicted, with families moved in May 2016. Vivian Cummins said “Anyone at the frontline of Ireland’s homelessness crisis knows that there is only one crucial factor to be considered in the provision of modular homes and that is speed of delivery. The parents trying to provide meals from a wardrobe in a hotel room, to the 1,500 children currently homeless in Ireland, are not concerned about Building Energy Ratings or timber versus carpet floor coverings. They just want their own roof over their heads in time for Christmas or indeed anytime soon.”

The same ‘red tape’ may affect the Minister’s planned change of use of various different buildings into emergency Homeless ‘Hubs’, temporary emergency accommodation for homeless families. BCAR SI9 procedures affect all change of use applications irrespective of whether any significant internal modifications are needed or not, and there is no exemptions for emergency or temporary buildings under SI9.

Dublin City Council and the Department of the Housing have quite a challenge to deliver accommodation to +7,500 men, women and children by the 1st July.

It is assumed that these projects will be fast-tracked through the planning process by using Section 179 (6) (b) of the Planning & Development Act 2000*- bypassing the normal planning process as the Local Authority deems the situation to be an emergency. The council can skip taking any submissions or observations from the public on the proposal, a process that would normally take a minimum of six weeks.

Building Regulations (the design and construction of the houses) and Building Control Regulations (supervision and enforcement of the Building Regulations) are not as straightforward. The Building Regulations and the Building Control Regulations do not distinguish a “temporary” and a “permanent” dwelling and there are no derogations for an emergency situation, as we have observed with delays in Poppintree. All change of use projects are subject to the same procedures.

Legislation introduced only on 1st September 2015 (SI.365, brought Local Authorities into the BC(A)R SI.9 net they now have to comply with SI9 in full. The problems associated with SI.9 in trying to deliver housing quickly and economically have been seen elsewhere.

The Building Control Regulations require the serving of a Commencement Notice 14-28 days to the Building Control management System (BCMS) before starting on site and a Completion Certificate, at the earliest, 3-5 weeks before completion. It is unclear who will be the ‘Assigned Certifier’ and ‘Building Owner’ for the purposes of submitting the required Commencement Notice and Completion Certificate and undertaking the responsibility for same.

The above means some of the following programme issues for a completion by July based on tenders submitted say by the end of last month (wed 31st May). Allow a one week assessment of tenders with the successful bidder notified on 7th June:

  • There is a 14 days standstill period before the contract can be awarded, so this takes us to 21st June for the earliest possible start on site.
  • To start on site on 21st June a Commencement Notice with full BCAR SI.9 documentation must be lodged online to the BCMS, 14- 28 days before starting on site, so say 7th June at the latest. This is the day that the contractor may be notified that he has been selected.
  • This means that the Design Certifiers, Assigned Certifier and Builder must be appointed and have full documentation lodged last week (before the contract is awarded).
  • Starting on site on 21st June, the builder then has to work back from 1st July contract completion date.
  • This means the builder/developer has to lodge Completion  documents, confirming the building is correctly built, 3-5 weeks before 1st July, before he starts on site.
  • Many issues remain around the submission of Completion Certificates for multi-unit housing that have yet to be resolved.
  • These multi-family projects cannot be occupied until the Local Authority confirms that the houses are on the Register. If there is any delay here the prospective Completion documents will have to be lodged before projects have started.

Have the implications of the Building Control Regulations BC(A)R SI.9 created a scenario where the Assigned Certifier will have to confirm all of his inspections and everyone else’s before the building actually starts in order to meet the completion deadline?

*To be confirmed

Helpful Links: What are the Building Control rules for converting buildings?

The beginners guide:  Practical posts 3: Change of Use – FDI and offices

The expert guide: O’Cofaigh: fit-outs that are exempt from SI.9

 

Other posts of interest: 

Is Building Control a threat to Christmas completion of modular homes? | Vivian Cummins

BCMS Alert | Last day for Christmas Completion! 

Completion Certificates for Multi-unit Housing 

Housing crisis rumbles on… the shape of things to come? 

DECLG Information Note |  SI.365 of 2015 

Getting Our Housing in Order | Vivian Cummins

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Builders may soon be forced to join a register to prove they’re competent | Journal

07 June 2017

The Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) was launched by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) three years ago with the promise that it would “try to distinguish legitimate construction companies/ sole traders from those who have given the industry a bad name” (see link here). The Register is to be put on a statutory basis in coming weeks by Minister Simon Coveney and means that all builders and sub-contractors will have to be vetted by CIRI/ CIF and pay an annual charge of €600 ex vat. There are currently 30+ categories of registration (e.g. house builder, plasterer, civil engineering contractor). Link to CIRI here. The register could have a potential membership of over 50,000.

This is another ‘plank’ in the Government policy of self-regulation of the construction industry. Commentators and the media have noted the apparent conflict of interest of private representative membership organisation (or lobby group) being tasked with policing their own members, and the perception by Consumer groups and opposition politicians that that there is little in the way of enhanced consumer protections in a privately-owned and operated contractors’ register of competence. The following article in Journal.ie explores the proposed register (full article here:). Extract:

“Irish builders may soon be forced to join a register to prove they’re competent”

THE BODY REPRESENTING Irish builders has welcomed plans to make it a legal requirement for companies in the industry to sign up to a register in order to prove their competence.

The government has announced that it has approved the drafting and publication of the Building Control (Construction Industry Register Ireland) Bill 2017.

The aim of the bill is to make joining the Construction Industry Register Ireland mandatory for building firms.

The register was set up three years ago by Construction Industry Federation (CIF) the with the aim of allowing people to easily identify reputable building firms. So far, companies join on a voluntary basis.

Under the current process, businesses joining the register must show that they have tax clearance and insurance.

They are required to demonstrate practical experience of working in construction – “generally for a period of no less than three years” – and show knowledge of the industry’s laws and regulations.

“Applicants must outline details of a minimum of three projects demonstrating their construction experience,” the CIF said.

The register covers a range of professions “from builders and building services contractors to specialist contractors”, according to the organisation.

A CIF spokeswoman said that entry to the register “will be open to all builders, whether sole traders, partnerships or registered companies, who can demonstrate that they are competent to carry out works in the category for which they are seeking to register”.

The register was established in consultation with the Department of the Environment.

Public confidence 

Earlier this year, Housing and Planning Minister Simon Coveney told the CIF Cork construction annual dinner that he was committed to drafting the bill to make joining the register mandatory.

“This is seen as an additional essential consumer protection measure giving consumers who engage a registered builder the assurance that they are dealing with a competent and compliant operator,” he said at the time.

“I see (the register) as an important and necessary step in restoring public confidence and trust in the construction sector given the legacy of the building failures that came in the wake of the construction-related economic collapse.”

Speaking today, he said that the purpose of the Bill “is to provide for a mandatory statutory register of builders, contractors and specialist sub-contractors.”

“Subject to a limited number of exceptions, a builder will only be permitted to carry out building works in respect of which he or she is registered.

CIF director of housing and planning Hubert Fitzpatrick said that putting the register on a statutory footing “will mean that only competent builders can secure registration”.

“It is not acceptable that a person or company without adequate training or experience can portray themselves as a builder to the public,” he said.

He added that members of the public should only engage with builders who are signed up to the register.

Other posts of interest:

Complaint Procedures & Construction Industry Register? | Look Back 19

Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) to be made mandatory

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?

‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly

Imminent changes to SI.9 announced | Minister Alan Kelly T.D.

SI.9 causing major delays to school projects

Iaosb letter to Minister Kelly – Revoke or Revise S.I.9

RIAI Past Presidents Paper #1 | The Building Regulations and Consumer protection

S.I.9 – Where are we now? 27 October 2014

UK + Ireland | take a quick trip to Holyhead with Breg Blog…

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

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

5 Posts every builder must read- BC(A)R SI.9

Opinion: Are builders + developers off the hook with BCAR?

Press article: Government promotes developers over self-builders?

BRegs Weekly | 2 June 2017

2 June 2017 –  BRegs Weekly Edition 109

Edition 109 of BRegs Weekly is out now.

Building Control and building standards were discussed in The Sunday Times article Reasons to be hopeful”. last week. Dr Lorcan Sirr noted “The department of housing has been sitting on reports about fire safety for a long time. If the department is as “open and transparent” as minister Simon Coveney has insisted, the report into the fire at Milford Manor, for example — which was due in January 2016 — will be released immediately. Milford Manor was a boom-time housing estate in Newbridge, Co Kildare, where six houses were gutted by fire within 20 minutes. Withholding the report is outrageous. Building standards need to be examined in light of our poor legacy of construction standards and the lack of consumer protection for buyers of defective homes.”

Sirr noted the Government’s proposed register of Contractors to be owned and operated by the Construction Industry Federation: “A system of licensing builders needs to be introduced and overseen by an independent body, not a representative group. It is wrong to have more consumer rights as a buyer of a mobile phone than a house buyer. A savvy minister for housing would create a programme whereby the state or local authorities issue contracts to builders to construct mixed-tenure social, cost-rental and affordable housing developments on their behalf, rather than rely on the market. In this way, control is retained over specification and ultimately price.”

Calls for a state remediation scheme to address thousands of defective housing units built during the ‘celtic tiger’ period were re-iterated by the Society of Chartered Surveyor’s representative Kevin Hollingsworth- see “The Price Of Allowing Developers To Self-Certify” in Broadsheet.ie. Mr Hollingsworth has been involved in the remediation works of 29 developments and was critical of the continued practice of builder/ developers using employees to sign-off on quality of developments:  “The assigned certifier can be an employee of the developer, the assigned certifier is also just a professional – they do get paid by the end user. They don’t act independently. They’re supposed to act independently but, once there’s that financial link, that leads to a lack of independence.”

Government proposals for more robust site tax levies for land hoarders was criticised by builders in Builders react with alarm to site levy proposal in the Irish Times. Minister for Finance Michael Noonan signaled that Government would tax speculators for sitting on empty development sites to boost their profits as property prices rise by introducing a levy on such properties in October’s budget “People who are sitting on land as an asset will find themselves sitting on a tax liability”. Builder Michael O’Flynn argued that the Government should cut development levies, VAT and other charges to improve viability and provide infrastructure needed for housing. Extract: “Tom Parlon, director general of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) said that he agreed with the minister’s sentiment but stressed any levy should have safeguards…. Mr Parlon agreed that few investors were simply sitting on land but suggested that some vulture funds that have been buying property here may not consider some sites worth developing at this point… Earlier this week, David Ehrlich, chief executive of Irish Residential Properties REIT, said many of the funds were “just sitting on sites” and were unprepared to sell.”

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 109

The Price Of Allowing Developers To Self-Certify | Broadsheet.ie

31st May 2017

Last week Broadsheet.ie reported on RTÉ One’s Morning Ireland series on the construction industry in Ireland, focusing on sub-standard ‘celtic tiger ‘ developments. There are over 30 large residential projects known to have significant defects (see list at the bottom of post).  Despite more projects discovered with significant defects, Ireland has maintained a unique ‘hands-off’ 100% system of self-certification of building standards, where developers can employ private building inspectors directly. The state still has no role in testing compliance with building standards. Extract from Broadsheet.ie as follows (see article here), extract to follow:

The Price Of Allowing Developers To Self-Certify

In her fourth of a four-part series on the construction industry in Ireland, journalist Jackie Fox recalled the sub-standard housing developments that were built during the boom, namely Priory Hall and Longboat Quay.

In her report, Ms Fox sought to find out if standards are being met today and spoke to Cian O’Callaghan, from the Geography Department at Trinity College Dublin, and Kevin Hollingsworth, chartered building surveyor.

Ms Fox said that, over the past three years, Mr Hollingsworth has been involved in the remediation works of 29 developments which she did not name.

During the report, Mr O’Callaghan recalled:

“One of the main problems during the boom was that there was so much being built, from 2006, there was something like 90,000 housing units built in the country so local authorities didn’t actually have the staff to regulate the standards properly and what was happening then is there was a process of certification that was brought in to play, where developers would hire their own architect, their own surveyor to sign off on the safety standards for the building, the building regulations.

“So, in the 1990s, the building control regulations relaxed and this kind of allowed developers to self-certify. So this is quite an unusual circumstance. You wouldn’t have it in the UK for example. You’d have an independent body who would be responsible for building controls and responsible to ensure that the quality of things was being kept.”

And Mr Hollingsworth said:

The assigned certifier can be an employee of the developer, the assigned certifier is also just a professional – they do get paid by the end user. They don’t act independently. They’re supposed to act independently but, once there’s that financial link, that leads to a lack of independence.”

Sigh.

Listen back to the report in full here

LIST OF 30 DEFECTIVE MULTI-UNIT PROJECTS

  1. Longboat Quay, Dublin (see RTE news link here)
  2. Gallery Quay, Dublin (see UTV news link here)
  3. Priory Hall, Dublin (see Journal.ie link here)
  4. Shangan Hall, Dublin (see Irishconcrete.ie pdf link here)
  5. Shankill, Dublin (see news link here)
  6. Balgaddy, Dublin (see Echo link here)
  7. Prospect Hill, Dublin (see Irish Independent link here)
  8. Belmayne, Dublin (see Irish Independent link here)
  9. Thornfield Square, Clondalkin, Dublin (see Irish Independent link here)
  10. Foxford Court, Lucan, Dublin (see Irish Independent link here)
  11. The Laurels, Dundrum, Dublin (see news link here)
  12. Ballymun, Dublin (see news link here)
  13. Gleann Riada, Longford (see Longford Leader link here)
  14. Millfield Manor, Newbridge, Kildare (see Irish Examiner link here)
  15. Old Court Estate,  Bray, Wicklow (see Irish Independent link here)
  16. Glentore, Athlone, Westmeath (see herald link here)
  17. Glending, Wicklow (see Irish Independent link here)
  18. Riverwalk Court, Ratoath, Meath (see Irish Examiner link here)
  19. Kentswood Court,  Navan, Meath (see Irish Times link here)
  20. Inishowen, Donegal (see news link here)
  21. Erris, Mayo (see Mayo News link here)
  22. Derrycorris, Edenderry, Offaly (see Offaly Express link here)
  23. Moneymore, Louth (see news link here)
  24. Ceol na hAbhann, Caherconlish, Limerick (see Limerick Leader link here)
  25. Dun Ard, Craughwell, Galway (see news link here)
  26. Moyross, Limerick (see Irish Examiner link link here)
  27. Parkland, Youghal, Cork (see Irish Examiner link link here)
  28. Elm Park, Merrion Road (see Irish Independent link here)
  29. Holywell estate, Swords, Dublin (See Sunday Business Post link here)
  30. The Cubes, Sandyford, Dublin (See Independent link here)

NOTE : In compiling this post, 25 other estates affected by pyrite have not been named due to reporting restrictions (See “Location of 25 estates in pyrite probes to stay secret” Irish Independent). Homes and estates affected by mica in Donegal similarly have not been included (See Pyrite + Mica | Continuing Problems)

Other posts of interest:

Cracking up: the legacy of Celtic Tiger Ireland | Independent

Donegal Mica + Render | “State Fails to Protect Family Homes” Seanad

Dept. of Housing withhold Fire Review into timber frame housing

Defective “Celtic Tiger” projects : The Cubes | Look Back 17

Priory Hall & Longboat Quay: “I’m convinced there are others” | Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Here’s How to Avoid Another Longboat Quay: Dublin Inquirer | Look Back 15

Longboat Quay | Irish Times Letters to the Editor

First Priory Hall, then Longboat Quay…now schools | Irish Examiner

“Risky housing sale outrageous but legal” | Longboat Quay

Complaint Procedures & Construction Industry Register? | Look Back 19

97% of Cork rental homes failed safety checks | Irish Examiner

The State still has no function in testing compliance of building regulations

Housing crisis and building inspection | Eoin O’Cofaigh

FACTCHECK: “If my house is defective, Do I have any rights?”

Firetrap Homes | “Fingal CoCo ‘head in the sand’ approach to building control”

Examiner | Housing Defects Special 

Michael Clifford: “when will we address cracks in construction?” Irish Examiner

You can still buy a non-compliant home…and it’s all perfectly legal | SI.9 Loopholes

Is the scene set for another Priory Hall? | Look Back 11

BRegs Weekly | 26 May 2017

26 May 2017 –  BRegs Weekly Edition 108

Edition 108 of BRegs Weekly is out now.

A number of damning official reports into defective buildings continue to remain unpublished by the Department of Housing under Minister Simon Coveney. In a recent Independent article “Cracking up: the legacy of Celtic Tiger Ireland the issue of homes affected by pyrite and mica in Donegal and Mayo was noted. Glacial government response to this particular problem and continued procrastination by officials in publishing an official report  was highlighted in the Seanad on 23rd May 2017.  Pádraig MacLochlainn (Sinn Fein) said This is a failure of the State, of building control legislation and to ensure compression tests guaranteed that the blockwork, the core product in the family home in Ireland, was sound. It was an utter failure of State regulation right through. These families have been failed utterly.” 

Chartered Surveyor Kevin Sheridan examined building control costs for modest residential projects in the Irish Times article Should I opt out of costly compliance paperwork?” Many defective residential schemes have been built under a regime of cowboy  builders, inadequate insurance, a lack of local authority checks and informal sign-off. The 2014 BCAR SI9 regulations reinforced this system of sign-off, putting ‘self certification’ on a statutory basis without dealing with the many root causes in the house building industry. Despite increased costs and paperwork, buyers can not be any more confident of quality and safety under the new system.  There are no new legal rights for buyers and there are still no independent inspections of construction sites. Many think that a BCAR Completion Certificate is a guarantee, but it comes with few consumer protections and no new rights for buyers. If there’s a defect in the house owners will have to go to Court to look for redress; this could take many years and the outcome is not guaranteed.

Architect Brian Montaut echoed the concerns surrounding Developer-led  ‘reinforced self-certification’ a subsequent letter to the editor Building regulations and self-certification“In 2014 statutory certification of buildings was devised following the Priory Hall debacle… At its core, however, is a system inexplicably built around self-certification, ie certification by the participants themselves. Those procedures culminate in an overall certificate, which is filed by the local authority… Overall, statutory self-certification adds time and cost without creating any new form of redress; unless, having legitimised these certificates in the eyes of the ordinary citizen, the local authority is held responsible.

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 108

Donegal Mica + Render | “State Fails to Protect Family Homes” Seanad

Pictured: Former Minister of State Paudie Coffey in Inishowen in 2015

25 May 2017

A number of damning official reports into defective buildings continue to remain unpublished by the Department of Housing under Minister Simon Coveney. In a recent Independent article “Cracking up: the legacy of Celtic Tiger Ireland the issue of homes affected by pyrite and mica in Donegal and Mayo was noted “In the most extreme cases, such as the hundreds of houses built with defective building blocks in Donegal, homes are literally crumbling”.

Glacial government response to this problem and continued procrastination by officials in publishing an official report  was highlighted in the Seanad on 23rd May 2017. Pádraig MacLochlainn (Sinn Fein) said “This is a failure of the State, of building control legislation and to ensure compression tests guaranteed that the blockwork, the core product in the family home in Ireland, was sound. It was an utter failure of State regulation right through. These families have been failed utterly.” Here is an extract of the Seanad exchange:  

Pádraig MacLochlainn (Sinn Fein):

Some 18 months ago the Government of the day, which was led by the Minister of State’s party, announced the establishment of an expert panel. This panel was to examine the crisis facing a large number of families in Donegal and Mayo in respect of the failure of the concrete blockwork in their homes as a result of the presence of mica, or pyrite as is the case in Mayo. It was to report by 31 May 2016. Here we are a full year after that deadline and that report has still not been published. The families who are crying out for help and assistance still have not received any…

This is a failure of the State, of building control legislation and to ensure compression tests guaranteed that the blockwork, the core product in the family home in Ireland, was sound. It was an utter failure of State regulation right through. These families have been failed utterly… I have met people, grown men, in tears in their own kitchens… They are devastated because of the failure of this State to protect their interests and to ensure that those blocks were sound and that the building controls standards were enforced properly. Now they are left with crumbling homes. I cannot urge the Minister of State enough that this needs to be sorted out urgently. People cannot wait any longer…

How can it take the best part of five months to legally proof a document? I understand this report was concluded at the beginning of this year. It is not acceptable that five months have been spent legally proofing it. A year has passed since this document was supposed to be published. Families have been faced with impossible choices during that time. This is a real crisis…

Catherine Byrne (Fine Gael):

“I understand the Senator’s frustration. As I have said in the Dáil Chamber, it is about time this report was given to the relevant people. The reasons these people should get some redress need to come out now. I will relay all the messages outlined by the Senator to the Minister. A great deal of consultation was done and there were many meetings as part of the in-depth process of identifying the needs of home owners and seeing what structural damage had been caused to their homes. All of this took some time. I agree with the Senator that it is time to get on with this process so that the report can be launched. I understand the Minister intends to have the report finished within a number of weeks. This could mean four weeks or it could mean six weeks. I will relay the Senator’s message to the Minister and make sure he gets an answer.”

Full Link: Building Regulations: 23 May 2017: Seanad debates (KildareStreet.com)

The Department of Housing (environment) withheld a damning report into fire safety in the Holywell estate in Swords, Co Dublin for five years until the Sunday Business Post obtained a copy and went public. The Department was made aware of serious concerns of the Local Authority into fire safety in the estate as far back as 2007 did not inform residents (see article here).

Former Minister Alan Kelly commissioned a report into a potentially fatal fire in Millfield Manor in Newbridge, Co Kildare  when a row of six terraced hoes went up in flames in just 30 minutes in April 2015. This report was completed later that year and was due to be published in January 2016. Department of Housing under Simon Coveney continues to withhold publication (see article here).

In October 2015 following a number of high-profile defects coming to light, a review of the ‘Rapid’ build modular schools programme was announced by former Minister of the Environment Jan O’Sullivan TD (see post here)Over 17 months later this state report remains unpublished. The ‘Rapid’ build schools programme subsequently was used as the template for the ‘Rapid’ build programme for social housing delivery being pursued by the current government.

Other posts of interest:

Donegal Mica + Render | Seamus McDaid

Property firm to contribute €1m to pyrite board | Irish Examiner

ALERT | Pyrite & Ground Floor Construction?

Pyrite + Mica | Continuing Problems

Donegal Pyrite update | BRegsForum

Department of Environment regulatory failure | PYRITE 10 years on

Defective “Mica” blocks problem – fresh hope as Junior Minister visits Donegal | Donegal Now

The €64,000 question: How big is the pyrite problem? | BRegsForum

FACTCHECK: “If my house is defective, Do I have any rights?”

Defective schools | Are our children safe?

The State still has no function in testing compliance of building regulations

ALERT : Asbestos Contamination in Wicklow