How Many More Longboats?

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longboatprimetime2

Last night.

Further to revelations that the Longboat Quay apartment complex (top) in Dublin developed by Bernard McNamara may be evacuated because of failure to meet fire safety standards.

Hubert Fitzpatrick, Director, Housing, Planning & Development at the Construction Federation of Ireland (above left), Robin Mandel, president of The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (right) and Longboat Quay apartment owner Seamus Cullen joined Miriam O’Callaghan on last night’s Prime Time on RTÉ One.

Miriam O’Callaghan: “Hubert Fitzpatrick (Construction Federation], I mean it’s a fair point from Shay [a resident] isn’t it that, at the end of the day, he bought his apartment in good faith and it was dangerously built. It’s not fire safe proof.”

Hubert Fitzpatrick: “Certainly apartments all apartments should be built in accordance with the building regulations. The builder has a duty to build in accordance with the building regulations. I suppose between 2000 and 2008, there was about 500,000 new houses and apartments built in this country and many of those apartments were built by quality builders who are still in business today and still building today. This type of incident shouldn’t have happened. I would…”

O’Callaghan: “Can I just come in there? Is that goo enough? I mean we’re standing here, we’ve had Priory Hall, we now have Longboat Quay, how many more Longboat Quays are there?”

Fitzpatrick: “No it’s not good enough. The problem at the time is that we did not have a mandatory requirement for inspection and oversight of buildings as they were being constructed.”

O’Callaghan: “What about basic decency of a builder? That they do not put up a dangerous apartment?”

Fitzpatrick: “And there are many, many quality, reputable builders throughout the country who are still in business today, who’ve protected their reputations and they’ve built quality products. Regretfully there are incidences where shortcuts have been taken. It is not acceptable but what I would say is this is a problem that has been identified under building control regulations. With effect from last year, the construction federation worked positively and proactively with the Department of the Environment to ensure that new regulations were brought about where we have adequate oversight…”

O’Callaghan: “Ok but that’s henceforth, as they say. But what about all the apartment buildings that were built during the boom, like Shay bought, how many of those, do you think, could be facing problems like Longboat Quay?”

Fitzpatrick:I cannot say how many might be like that but I would say…”

O’Callaghan: “A lot?”

Fitzpatrick: “But what I would say is there are many quality, reputable builders who are in business for generations…”

O’Callaghan: “Yeah but that’s not what I’m asking. We’re not talking about the good builders here though, are we?”

Fitzpatrick:There are many, many good builders who build quality products. Unfortunately there are some incidences which have arisen, like Longboat Quay, where standards were not adhered to. We must ensure that standards are adhered to by the builders. We must ensure there’s proper oversight to give every homeowner the assurances that the buildings have been built to the required standards and that they’re certified as being fully compliant before the builders are occupied. And that is the requirement under the new building control regulations.”

O’Callaghan: “Yeah well for people who are living in buildings or apartments built before then, they will be very worried tonight. Robin Mandell [Royal Institute of Architecture], I mean your people, your architects obviously, signed off on a lot of these dodgy buildings.

Robin Mandell: “Well I think, just to be very clear, until last year there was no provision under the Building Control Act for any sign up by anybody. The only certification that came, prior to last year, were fire safety certificates and disability access certificates, which were for design only. So there was no provision under building control, for anyone to sign anything off. And in this…”

O’Callaghan: “But can I just come in there. Surely the basic professional standards of decency of any architect is that they will not go into somewhere, like Longboat Quay, and say ‘this is safe’, ‘this is something I should be working on’.”

Mandell: “Absolutely but I don’t…”

O’Callaghan: “But they obviously did?”

Mandell: “Well I don’t know if they did in this case. I’m not sure if there was an architect involved in the construction of the development. There certainly was in the design but I don’t, I’m not aware there was one or not. I think the really important this is, as Hubert says, and really for Shay, Shay shouldn’t be standing here this evening. If there’s a problem with buildings they should be fixed. And the RIAI has consistently, repeatedly identified the elements that are required for a good system of building control. And they’re very simple. They’re inspection, independent inspection, there’s latent defects insurance which is universal across Europe, there is a register of competent contractors and there is engagement by the building control authority.”

O’Callaghan: “Can I just come back in there? I hear all that and that sounds terrific but the bottom line is that builders and architects ended up, whatever word you want to use, signing off on buildings like Longboat Quay which are dangerous firetraps that Shay, and people like him, bought.”

Mandell: “No, I think you might have…No architect signed off anything under the building control regulations…”

O’Callaghan: “Involved in the building, the design of buildings…”

Mandell: “Again, I don’t know, this one, if there was an architect involved in the construction. In the design, you can be sure that the design was compliant, if designed by an architect.”

O’Callaghan: “Shay, since we’re dealing with builders who may not be able to pay, how much more do you want Nama, and all the other State agencies to pay 100% of what is owing here?”

Shay: “Yes of course I want…the DDDA [Dublin Docklands Development Authority] and Nama to pay the €4million that’s due. And, apparently, the builder [Bernard] McNamara has 18 apartments in those blocks. So if the €4million is paid, those 18 apartments can be refurbished or done up and sold off and Nama will get their money back with those 18 apartments that McNamara apparently owns in those blocks there.”

O’Callaghan: “From your point of view, representing these builders, what do you think should happen in relation to Shay’s case in Longboat Quay? Who should pick up the full tab?”

Fitzpatrick: “I don’t know the particular detail of this particular development. But we should look at the insurances that backed up this development. You know, what type of cover did the premiere guarantee insurance provide Seamus… Did it provide for proper fire-stopping in the units? I do know that current insurance policies in place do provide for adequate fire stopping and that would provide some comfort to other users. But what I would say, from an industry perspective, we fully support proper oversight of all buildings as they are being constructed. We want to ensure that the builders’ work is checked, to ensure the builder carries out his work effectively and that no building is occupied until such a time that the building is certified as being fully compliant with the regulations.”

O’Callaghan: “What help is that to Shay tonight?”

Fitzpatrick: “It is a very difficult situation for Shay and I fully sympathise with Shay and the other residents in Longboat Quay but I suggest one should look behind the insurance policies that may have supported that building. Is there some cover available from premiere guarantee that might provide, bridge the gap between the cost of what’s required to repair it which would move the process forward satisfactorily.”

O’Callaghan: “And you slightly dodged my question, my earlier question was: how many other Priory Halls and Longboat Quays do you think there are?”

Fitzpatrick: “I don’t know Miriam.”

O’Callaghan: “Would you say there are a fair few?”

Fitzpatrick: “I don’t know MIriam. What I would say is there are many quality professional builders out there, they’ve been there for generations and they’ve respected their reputation and they’re working proactively at the moment in the industry. And they will not cut short, corners in order to make a quick buck on some development like this.”

Watch back here

Previously: Munificence Doesn’t Live Here Anymore

96 thoughts on “How Many More Longboats?

    1. classter

      It is a fair point though.

      There are lots of decent quality, reputable builders out there.

      Unfortunately they have to compete with cowboys. The approach taken by many (not all) developers, by FF & by much of the public is that any two builders do the same thing & that cheaper is always better,

  1. Custo

    There are many quality builders out there

    There are many quality builders out there

    There are many quality builders out there

    There are many quality builders out there

    There are many quality builders out there

    There are many quality builders out there

    There are many quality builders out there

    There are many quality builders out there

    There are many quality builders out there

  2. Sam

    Question unasked … but how many (or rather few) inspectors do we have, and what role did the Construction Federaton have in lobbying for that?

      1. Ban Doyle

        Bertie’s wife and co were involved in the NCA
        Lest we forget, Green Party Ministers for the Environment Mr Gormley and Energy, Mr Ryan respectively

        Over to you Dan Boyle for some erudition about the islands and some impressionistic twaddle about the Shinners, the real issues of our day.

      1. Cluster

        A related question is why the National Consumer Agency is paying a second-tier accountancy firm (with some mediocre ‘consulting’ add-ons) to produce simple reports for them?

        1. Deluded

          Is it related?
          I thought the report was clear and informative nonetheless.
          The newspaper article was dismissive of the role of fire officers as that of mere supervisors. There were about 270 when we were building 70,000+ houses per year. I can’t find numbers for council inspectors, effectively zero for practical purposes.

          1. classter

            It is related – it is indicative of how financial resources are badly used across the public sector & often at a senior level.

            Report seems fine – a pretty basic & simple task. I don’t understand how the NCA needs to outsource it – to a separate firm, with a separate set of overheads, with the (reasonable) requirement for profit. They’ll have had to spend some time/effort procuring it too.

          2. Deluded

            I see your point.
            I feel, however, that I have a reasonable expectation of regulation and compliance but apparently I am wrong.
            I cannot see how every bidder for every property paying for separate invasive surveys is a more efficient system than bonded builders with prosecutions for failure.
            How naïve am I?

          3. Cluster

            Deluded – I too am in favour of better control/regulation/inspections of builders & prosecutions of wrong ‘uns. There’s also other measures which could be taken at a national level to help improve the quality across the industry.

            The point still stands. If you are taking a 20 year loan & making a massive investment, then spend a little time, effort & money carrying due diligence before you do. The idea that it is the ‘fault’ of the state & that the current owners shouldn’t have to pay to fix/improve their own asset is mind-boggling to me.

  3. TheRichList

    I bought an apartment in 2004 and I was on site all throughout the build. I can guarantee it won’t pass any fire inspection. There has to be hundreds of apartment blocks like this in Ireland.

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        I’m also curious to know if the house survey undertaken by prospective buyers covers fire safety?

        1. Juno

          Hoop –

          It should do. Depends mainly on who you get to do your survey but they should give an opinion on fire issues if present e.g. bedroom windows above ground floor in houses should be certain sizes for escape and rescue under the fire regs but are rarely compliant. Surveys however are non invasive and don’t cover things like knocking massive holes in the wall to see if insulation and fire breaks are in place.

          1. Spaghetti Hoop

            Indeed.
            Many buyers just get them to fulfil the Mortgage Lender’s requirements, i.e. that the property exists and is standing. I suspect this survey may get ramped up now as a result of these new cases with ‘boom’ properties.

      2. Mr. T.

        He bought because he was always going to rent it out and doesn’t give a f**k about the people who live in it? Maybe he was part of the consortium who built it and he then bought one of units which was very common.

    1. classter

      Seriously though, I cannot wrap my head around t he idea that people will buy something so important & so expensive from somebody like McFeely.

      People will barely go out to dinner or buy a set of headphones without reading reviews.

  4. ahjayzis

    It’s insane the cavalier way we treat the construction, buying and selling of houses in Ireland. Buying a pair of jeans affords you more rights to redress and recompense than the largest financial transaction of your life.

    I work in an architecture firm in London – the Council’s building control officers are on call for us 24/7, they oversee everything, we run ideas by them. And they’re great, not dogmatic at all, they have a hundred different ways to meet regulations fully without compromising anything on design or finish.

    1. Sam

      That’s not what anyone in authority here means when they say ” best international practice ‘ though.

      Regulations, or lack thereof shall be designed and enforced /ignored in line with the need for votes/profits/jobs.
      When someone dies, enforcement goes up for a while.

      1. classter

        Building Control in the UK is definitely not best practice, however ahjayzis is finding them at present & also much of it has been outsourced to the private sector.

        The same cultural problems around construction which exist in Ireland exist also in the UK. And when the current boom in the UK finishes, there will be plenty of cases of shoddy/dangerous construction coming to light.

        The real issue is a public/establishment which treats the built environment primarily as a giant ponzi scheme and which regards design & building mainly as a cost to be incurred along the way.

    2. classter

      ‘Buying a pair of jeans affords you more rights to redress and recompense than the largest financial transaction of your life.’
      This isn’t true – you have essentially the same rights but the company that built it no longer exists. If the jean manufacturer or supplier is bankrupt, you are also stuck,

      1. Sam

        Company Law is a wonderful thing innit?
        Many years ago I worked for the Dept of Infrastructure in Melboure. One of the things they had was a register of approved builders for large projects. We would take note of prior history, and of any previous ownership/ directorship of other companies that had not been up to scratch. You weren’t getting on the short list for anything if your previous company had left a trail of shoddy builds behind it.
        And yet here, I’ve seen a company build an estate, wind up before time to hand it over to council, then a new company with the same people build the estate next to it. Ask the council “why can’t we have speedbumps” or anything simple as that and the answer is “the council hasn’t taken over the estate and we can’t contact the company, they’ve gone out of business”. Push a bit further by saying “the same people are building estate X, 2 miles up the road from the council office” and it becomes “I don’t have any information about that”.

        1. meadowlark

          That very same thing happened to my grandmother’s estate. No streetlights and no bin collections were only the start of the problem. All down to a dodgy builder and the problems went on for years. Builder never held accountable and the council completely uninterested in fixing the problem.

          1. classter

            Company law has been modified a number of times to try and deal specifically with the problem of construction firms.

            But, yea, until buyers take an interest in who it is they are buying from & what contractual relationship they actually have, there’ll be problems like this.

            ‘But classter, ordinary Irish people should be able to make 400k investments without any thought, knowledge or due diligence. It’s our right.’

          2. realPolithicks

            “Builder never held accountable and the council completely uninterested in fixing the problem.”

            Isn’t that the common theme with every issue like this that arises in Ireland, nobody is ever held accountable for anything and that is why these things happen over and over again.

    3. Owen

      Ahjayzis, in your experience how much of this has to fall onto the engineering provider / fire consultant? With full respect, its not the architect with the experience to determine fire management for a building, am I wrong? Which then leads to the assumption that there was never a specialist employed, which means it got through planning without its full basic requirements.

      His reiteration of ‘many good builders’ is correct. Can we fault the builders here? They build from a plan. Was the plan wrong or just never developed?

      1. classter

        Usually the architect takes responsibility for it & then subs it off to a fire engineer.

        Architects determine a lot of things without necessarily having the appropriate experience – sometimes they get consultants, sometimes they don’t – see also acoustics, durability of finishes, flow of people, building physics, etc.

        Sometimes this is becasue an architect is arrogant or greedy but often it is because the client doesn’t wish to pay for a host of additional services.

        1. Owen

          OK, all makes sense. Thanks. But if it was a consultant / engineering firm id be inclined to think its their responsibility. The architect would not be able to verify if consultants work is correct so should have a contract with the. To be fair, it makes no difference here, they will all point at one another. I was more just curious. Cheers.

      2. classter

        ‘Was the plan wrong or just never developed?’

        Its not clear whether the fault lies with the design & specification or with the builder’s execution of this design. More commonly it is some combination of the two. It is often very difficult to separate blame neatly in these cases.

        Building is an intensely collaborative activity which is why the adversarial attitudes which pertain in the industry & law in much of the English-speaking world are so counter productive.

  5. Ms Piggy

    Can anyone explain to me why McNamara and/or others in positions of responsibility in his former company aren’t facing criminal charges for this? I realise that his speedy bankruptcy and folding of the company means that it can’t be held financially liable for the costs of fixing the building. But bankruptcy doesn’t absolve you of non-financial legal requirements. And even if there were no inspectors, even if this was ‘self-certification’, someone at some point signed a legal declaration of fire safety and building regulations which they knew to be untrue. Surely this is a criminal offence? This is a genuine question, I keep waiting for it be raised in news reports on this story, but it never is.

    1. Kath

      I’d love to know as well. Any legal eagles out there who can explain why these cowboys aren’t being brought to court and/or penalised? If there’s no (direct) negative consequences to throwing up a shoddy build and hiding behind company law (creating & closing companies as it suits), doesn’t that silently condone this practice?

      1. stephen

        This, Broadsheet if you are reading maybe you can get Legal Coffee Drinker to explain why there is no talk of charges of fraud, does company law really protect people that much. Either someone signed of on it or the director of the company is responsible.

        1. Clampers Outside!

          +1

          And if not… can someone find an old company register and we ordinary Joe’s can at least name the directors online.
          I’d love to know where they are now, do they get govt contracts, are they pals of TDs and all of that.

          They should be banned from the industry completely.

      2. classter

        Has there been a single case in Ireland (or indeed in the UK/USA) where a CEO has been successfully prosecuted for wrongdoing not shown to have been explicitly endorsed by him/her?

        1. Ban Doyle

          in the UK CEOs can be brought to court for negligent health and safety leading to accidental death as far as I know classter

    2. phil fluther

      “Certificate of Compliance”: I read Certificate of not dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s Compliance.

    3. Ban Doyle

      my opinion is that health and safety law here does not allow for the charge of corporate manslaughter which could be brought against an individual

      also the mediocrity of building control means that justification for the status quo is never far away

  6. Conor

    Gimps, the lot of them.

    Rich gimps, so it’s ok, nothing will happen to them. The cycle continues in merry old Ireland.

    What ever happened about those houses that burnt down in Newbridge? Any builder get charged over the shoddy building there? A fire in a modern home shouldn’t be able to spread to 5 other homes.

  7. Clampers Outside!

    Pass the parcel, a game played by grown sleeveen men – so brilliantly demonstrated by Miriam

    Not one iota of integrity among any of them.

    All happy to ignore any sense of decency…. yes ALL. Hubert in particular. Not really listening, just repeating his line. An interviewee can not be any more disingenuous in an interview… no respect for those who are losing their homes built by members of the ICF.

    Hubert has obviously done his basic media training 1-0-1 with his repetition shtick. Well, you can repeat this ya numpty….. there is plenty reason anyone would think are many, many bad quality, disreputable builders throughout the country who are still in business today. But what have you done about them? Do these guys, the ICF, not have fines for members and if not… what the hell is the point of the ICF?

    Scumbags.

    1. Guest

      Bernard McNamara is not a member of CIF as far as I’m aware from looking at their website. Also, they are not a regulatory body so wouldn’t have any authority to impose fines- that’s up to the Government to create and ensure the legal obilagations

    2. fmong

      CIF is a lobby group for the building industry, they’re the ones that would have pushed for low regulations in the Tiger years

      1. classter

        More specifically, they are a lobby group for building contractors.

        And they are given far too much airtime.

  8. reidman

    The ‘builder’ is not a mystery and is very much back in business, both in Dublin working for redacted and has done an extension at the k club, relevant points that radio stations owned by redacted are hesitant to point out

    1. Stewart Curry

      That is some old-school webmastering right there. More nested tables than a Harvey Norman warehouse

    1. classter

      I wondered at that – it is difficult to believe that the RIAI rep didn’t check that before coming on air.

  9. Juno

    Hang on a second…. it was NEVER the job of the architect / engineer to certify (and let’s use the as it’s intended – to be “certain”) works carried out by someone else comply with regulations. An arch/ eng job is to design the building in compliance and the builder’s job is to build it in compliance. Any incompetent professional who designs buildings that are not in compliance can and will be taken to court. Any builder who’s work is not in compliance should also have legal action taken against them.

    Inspections USED to be the remit of the Building Control Authority who under the previous government were removed of any responsibility / requirement to carry out inspections. It then became the builder’s remit – self certification – a declaration that he had completed the works in accordance with the drawings and specifications and building regulations.

    The Architect, Engineer, Fire Safety Consultant etc would provide documents called “opinions on compliance” essentially stating that the building complied if carried out in accordance with the drawings and specification and were backed up by the contractor’s declaration. This was the case before SI9 was brought in last year i.e. the changes to the building certificate and registration system. Now, you have a separate Assigned Certifier who carries out inspections and certifies the building as a whole. They take on a massive liability though and spend huge numbers of hours carrying out, login and recording and it all comes at a cost to the client and eventually the end user.

    It’s absolutely appalling that people have bought homes, in good faith and with assurances that they are fit for purpose, to now find out that they are not. The government’s move to shirk it’s responsibility on this has led to unscrupulous builder’s being able to abuse this system. An no bloody sooner than they bring in the new legislation they roll back on it for individual houses cause it’s going to cost a fortune.

    1. Demon

      Really? In my only dealings with an architect, he came and inspected the job several times during the build, and picked up the builder even on tiny things like the quality of the edge slipping of the hotpress doors. I queried this with him, and he said: “Of course it should be correct: it’s in the specifications.” And this architect spent most of his time on building sites working with builders and keeping them on track.

      1. Juno

        Demon,
        Sorry for slow response.

        There’s a difference in carrying out “inspections” under the act for building regulation compliance and inspections in order to ensure delivery of the contract.

        The architect is the administrator of the building contract between the client (you) and the builder and has powers under that contract. The builder’s duty is to delivery the building as described in the contract documents i.e. drawings, spec and bill of quantities (if one exists). The architect inspects the works are in line with the contract documents and certifies them for payment. Site visits generally take place every 2 weeks or more frequently if there’s a specific event of repeated issue with quality on the builders part. This is what you’ve described.

        If on site only occasionally and not there the whole time the architect can’t reasonably be expected to oversee the contractor’s work in its entirety and can’t be sure what’s been enclosed or covered up. This is why the architect was not responsible for certifying the works in relation to building regulations and relied on the contractor declaration that they had carried out the works in compliance. The generally accepted idea was that if it was the responsibility of a third party (architect) to certify and assume liability for work a contractor had completed, even though the architect couldn’t reasonably be expected to witness all the work, then that would lead to poor quality. Why do it properly if someone to whom you’ve no connection is going to take the fall for it.

        This is essentially what Phil Hogan’s initial amendment to the building control act did and why the architects and engineers were up in arms about it. He wanted a single professional with insurance against whom redress could be sought in the courts if defects were found. Therefore removing responsibility from the contractor to build the works properly. This has changed slightly since the first draft but is still incredibly onerous for the assigned certifier (normally an architect).

        1. Ban Doyle

          Further – in response to the main query

          while some clients were willing to hire architects through design and build stage (more fees), some were/are not

    2. phil fluther

      Juno. Certificate of Compliance: it’s not a certificate that the work is in compliance with the drawings and specifications etc. it’s a certificate that the drawings and specifications are in compliance with the Planning regulations?

  10. ollie

    This is the fault of givernment, present and past.
    Past for not implementing regulation, present for ignoring the problem and actually campaigning to overturn the regulation that they put in place.

    If it was my apartment (and I don’t condone this) I’d make sure McNamara knows how angry I am, everywhere he goes.

  11. CousinJack

    In my experience the key characteristic or builders in UK and Ireland is ignorance, ignorance for best practice, ignorant to concerns of neighbours, ignorant to the environment, ignorant to road users and pedestrians.
    If you go to Germnay or pretty much anywhere where english isn’t the primary language and has a mature economy, builders wil be considerate and professional.
    I expect that we have the builders we have bevause construction is not associated with educational attainmnet.
    PS Architects are generally gobsh1tes who take no responsibility, and are horrified that they have to sign things now – they’re the main ‘professional’ body that are looking to have the new regulations water down to ‘improve’ the volume of construction. Don’t trust people who typically end up in construction because they liked drawing at school.

    1. Ban Doyle

      That was not very insightful

      You sound like an ignorant moron with those blanket unsubstantiated declarations but to be fair you did advise that your lack of knowledge was limited to your own narrow circle of ‘experience’

  12. Mr. T.

    Hubert FitzPatrick talks a lot of evasive rubbish so not point in listening to what he was to say…. which is nothing.

    Architects sign off on plans which detail such things as fire proofing and disabled access but they didn’t then follow up to make they are installed. And if they insisted on it, the developers would consider them to be awkward and not work with them again.

    Cowboys.

  13. Junkface

    The Irish Construction industry is corrupt. There’s too many mickey mouse/cowboy/con men builders in this country, I don’t know what percentage are decent, but there’s far too many bad ones. Building regulations in this country are too lax, not inspected or policed properly. Its Maddening!!
    The Government allow this to happen, and it has to be for reasons of corruption, cash being exchanged to look the other way. Are we really to believe that the Government are this incompetent to not know whats going on in the industry? Whats at stake is millions of Euro, and no one gets prosecuted for dangerous building. And the Irish Construction Federation are a joke. One of the board members built the houses in my estate (I rent). They are the worst house designs ever! Thin walls, crappy wood frame windows, very poorly insulated (BER Cert fails!), freezing in the winter, really cheap plastic materials on conservatories fitted to all houses, and the rent is expensive (and rising annually) because of the location in Dublin.

    We need proper Housing/Apartment inspections, by an independent observer. We need prosecutions of corrupt builders and We need rent controls. This country is a F***ing joke!

  14. Anne

    Was it a prospective buyer’s surveyor who found the problems?
    Anyone know the name of that surveyor by any chance?

    If you were ever inclined to be buying an apartment in Dublin, might be a good man to use.. Surveys aren’t cheap, but if you can’t rely on inspectors and building regulations being adhered to, what else can you do.
    Joke of a country.

    1. Demon

      Sneering “Joke of a country” is of less use than doing something to bring the country on track.

    2. Anne

      I’m just wondering, how many other surveys were done prior to this one, where the defects weren’t spotted. Must be a few.
      Must sort that out.. I’ll be back.

      1. brian thomas

        There was a reasonably good building control system in Dublin before the Building Control legislation of the early 1990s whch was highly descriptive and prescriptive. The new regulations went away from that system and, due to the lobbying of the building industry became self regulating. County and Town Councils would have required staff to actively police an externally regulated system and that was not acceptable to Government. So token Building Control systems were introduced. Of course, for those of the opinion that the Councils wouldnt be up to the job, it was always possible to privatise the system where surveyors,architects or engineers could regulate the industry. The professional bodies would have been happy with suh a system but that would have meant very overt charges which also was a non runner. All of the best scenarios require active and continuing site supervision and inspection. and still do to work properly. The current system allows an architect or other buliding professional to sign off BUT THEY CAN BE EMPLOYEES

        1. Anne

          Yeah, that’s all grand… correct me if I’m wrong here, but regardless of the lack of inspections and self certification, building regs have to be adhered to and it’s an offence to not adhere to them.

          To give a comparison, we’ve had a lot of local garda stations around the country closing down, is it ok to go drink drinking then, as you know they’ll be no guards about?
          If you kill someone, regardless of the lack of checkpoints, garda stations.. you’re prosecuted.
          The same should apply here.. this builder needs to be prosecuted.
          If they’re aren’t enough inspectors, there needs to be consequences.

        2. Anne

          I’m taking from what you say there too, that you might have a better chance of not buying a death trap if it was built prior to the early 90s… and get a good surveyor … and say a prayer and hope for the best.. as you sign up to 25/30 years of mortgage payments.

      2. brian thomas

        Since a lot of building work relating to Buildi g Control is covered up such as insulation, fire stopping at window openings it is impossible to inspect without opening up the work. That is not totally impossible and extremely passionate professionals will insist on drilling holes a d using fbre optics a d micro cameras to inspect but that is rare.
        Why do you think that, generally, local authority housing/building has not had such problems. ? Because because rnere was active site supervision and reasonable amounts of staff training after the legislation was introduced in the 1990s
        I am years retired c but it galls me to see what has happened. And yes, but not because, Hubert Fitzpatrick says so, there are lots of decent builders who maintain standards even in bad times.

  15. phil fluther

    Is not faulty fire-stopping much the same as positioning the fuel tank with the engine in a car or airplane?

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