Have your say on building regulations

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East Galway TD Paul Connaughton is this week urging people across the region to have their say on the new building regulations before the consultation period closes in mid-May.
‘A review of the Building Control Regulations is currently underway and I would urge all stakeholders across the county, especially people planning to build their own homes who have received exorbitant quotes for work relating to the new regulations, to take part in the ongoing consultation to ensure that their voices are heard.
‘The regulations came into force in March 2014 and the Department is now conducting a review of experiences in the first 12 months. The review is focusing in particular on the cost burden involved for one-off houses, including self-build, and extensions to existing dwellings.
‘The regulations were introduced to combat the scourge of defective building works as far too many families are now learning to their horror the true cost of defective work on homes built during the Celtic Tiger era. However, we must ensure that the cost of complying with the regulations is not punitive and that people can continue to self-build homes, when they have been granted planning permission.
‘I have been contacted in the past year by some home builders who received astronomical estimates in relation to getting a professional to oversee the regulations. I believe that anyone with such an experience should contact the review to ensure that the review team are hearing the real experiences on the ground and not just from the professionals concerned.
‘On the other hand I have been contacted by people involved in the building trade who are anxious to see the current review completed and the situation clarified as many people are holding off starting a building project until they see what the outcome of the review is, in case it results in reduced costs.
‘One item being considered as part of the review is widening the number of professionals that can certify the build, which should result in lower costs, but we must absolutely ensure that people all across Ireland can continue to self-build houses. Self-builders should not be punished for Celtic Tiger excesses in relation to apartment blocks in Dublin. If you intend living in the home you are building, it is less likely that shoddy materials and labour practices will be used and I believe that these are the houses that are least likely to be built in a poor fashion.
‘I would encourage all who have experience of the regulations to date, as well as the general public, to have their say on the matter. Minister Coffey has now invited all stakeholders to submit a full written submission reporting on their experiences to date and recommending any further changes they think would be helpful. Written submissions are also welcome from members of the public and industry in general and should be sent to buildingstandards@environ.ie.