House-standard certification planned, says Hogan

 

A MANDATORY certification process to ensure adequate standards in houses and apartments is to be introduced, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said.

He said that before the revelation of difficulties surrounding Priory Hall apartments in Donaghmede, Dublin, which residents had vacated because it was a fire hazard, he was taking action under the building control Acts.

“I am changing the system as quickly as possible but there is a need for some consultation with the relevant stakeholders in order to ensure that we get it right.

“We are determined to get it right and all local authorities may rest assured that a mandatory certification process will replace the self-regulation model which obtained in the past.”

He was replying to Dessie Ellis (SF) who said that Priory Hall residents had been made refugees in their own country because of “the unscrupulous and disgraceful developers, Coalport, and totally inadequate planning laws”.

Mr Hogan said a robust system of controls existed. “That is why Dublin City Council has been trying for two years to oblige the developer involved in this case to carry out certain works in order to ensure that the building met fire compliance. The developer chose to ignore the council’s directions in this regard.” He appreciated, he said, that the courts system was somewhat slow.

“However, the local authority, which has a devolved function in this case, acted as quickly as possible,” Mr Hogan added.

Mr Ellis said it was his experience that the system in place was paper-driven rather than being based on inspections.

“There are many problems with housing schemes and developments throughout the country. That is true of the area in which I live, northwest Dublin, where the system relating to the policing of developments was extremely lax.”