From left: Housing Committee Members, Deputy Barry Cowen, Senator Victor Boyhan, Deputy Eoin Ó Broin, Deputy Maria Bailey (chairwoman) and Deputy Pat Casey.
Cross party members of the Housing Committee launch a report on Building Standards, Building Controls & Consumer Protection that may help avoid another Priory Hall.
In yesterday’s Irish Times, Mr Ó Broin wrote:
In order for the building control system to be fully independent we have called for a Building Control and Consumer Protection Agency. It would work with local authorities to ensure consistency in application of building and fire safety regulations.
It would conduct research, hold the industry register and the BCMS. It would also deal with complaints and provide information for the public concerned about possible latent defects.
Alongside the new agency, the committee recommended significant changes to SI9. We felt strongly that the link between the certifiers and the developer/builder must be broken.
This would best be achieved by the local authority employing the certifiers directly alongside a greater level of independent local authority inspections.
The report also proposes a package of measures to ensure greater protection for homebuyers, including mandatory latent defects insurance and legislative reforms including transferable warranties and longer statues of limitations.
There was also a strong feeling in the committee that the State must accept its responsibility for the failures of the past. Priory Hall was only possible in the context of a badly designed and poorly reassured building control regime.
A more comprehensive redress scheme for those affected by historic defects must be put in place and our report outlined a number of possible funding options that could underpin such a scheme.