New building regulations will exclude non-professionals, says Hogan

FF Senator warns about implications of regulations for rural housing

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan

 


Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said that new building regulations will make it more difficult for unqualified people to pass themselves off as construction professionals.

He told the Seanad that the statutory certificates required for building-control purposes must now be provided by registered professionals. “The profession of architectural technologist is unregulated in Ireland, ’’ he said. “Any such person who possesses the requisite competence in design and construction may seek inclusion on the statutory register.’’

Mr Hogan, who represents Carlow-Kilkenny, said he was monitoring what implementing those regulations would cost in terms of self-builds and direct labour. “Many professional bodies have made outlandish quotations in my constituency and around the country,’’ he added. “I will not allow any professional body to view this as an easy way of engaging in financial extortion of people in rural Ireland who wish to build their own houses.’’

Earlier, Fianna Fáil Senator Paschal Mooney warned that the new regulations could create difficulties for people building houses in rural Ireland.


Property inspection
He said, allowing for the usual exemptions, anybody wishing to build would be required by law to employ a professional engineer, architect or surveyor to inspect the property.

Mr Mooney asked if Mr Hogan knew how many professionals in Leitrim could sign off on a building. “There are two, one of whom I know is reluctant to be involved in this area. That person has other business and does not want to get involved.’’

The regulations, he said, would “place a hefty and disproportionate financial burden on one-off housing in the countryside’’. He added that, while the increase in building costs had been recognised by the department, there had been no action.

Mr Mooney said there had been no public information campaign, leading to speculation about the consequences of changes which might harm the construction sector.

“The level of resources being provided to local authorities to handle the deluge of information and paperwork that will result from the new system is questionable,’’ he added.

Meanwhile, members from all sides of the House paid tribute to Seanad clerk assistant Jody Blake who is retiring after 23 years. Cathaoirleach Paddy Burke spoke of her expertise.