NEW building regulations will help prevent a repeat of the Priory Hall fiasco, Environment Minister Phil Hogan has said.
But he criticised “wild exaggerations” made in relation to the increased costs of building a home which will arise, saying the likely impact on homeowners would be between €1,000 and €3,000 per unit.
The regulations, announced last year, take effect from next Saturday(1st March) and require a declaration to be made that the building has been constructed in line with regulations.
A registered builder, or other competent person such as an architect or engineer, may approve the works and can be held legally liable if it later emerges that the building has been poorly constructed.
The regulations deal with the design and construction on new homes and extensions.
But there are concerns they will result in higher costs and the exclusion of some people working in the industry who may not have qualifications, despite years of experience.
There are also fears that people who directly employ labour to build a family home may be forced to pay higher costs because experts will have to be employed to sign off on the works.
But Mr Hogan said the new regulations were part of a “wider package of reforms” which included an online building control management system which would allow local authorities to undertake risk-based inspections and a registration of builders and contractors.
“Building regulations represent the minimum legally acceptable standard. Why would anyone object to minimum standards?” he said.
“I know many construction professionals who strive to achieve best practice in their work. So let’s start by committing to at least meet the baseline of minimum standards and advance together in time towards best practice.
“There have been wild exaggerations in circulation of the increased costs that the new Building Control Amendment Regulations will impose on the self-build home sector.
“Owners and developers will now be required to assign a competent person to inspect and certify the works. This requirement could add between €1,000 to €3,000 per housing unit to the overall building costs, although in reality this actual cost will be decided by market forces.”
The regulations were designed to ensure that Priory Hall and homes affected by pyrite would not arise again.