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Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

New rules on buildings hope to avoid repeat of Priory Hall disaster

Phil Hogan has announced new regulations which will require professionals to sign off on the compliance of buildings as they are built.

THE GOVERNMENT has announced plans to develop new regulations which, if enacted successfully, could help to avoid the prospect of a repeat of the Priory Hall disaster in future.

The regulations being developed by environment minister Phil Hogan will require members of professional bodies in the construction industry to sign off on buildings at various stages of their construction, asserting that they are in compliance with the appropriate laws.

Architects, engineers and building surveyors who sign off on a building’s compliance can then be held responsible if it later transpires that a building is in breach of the safety or construction laws.

Professionals who sign off on a defective property may then be struck off their professional registers.

The regulations are an attempt to avoid a recurrence of the developments at Priory Hall, the Donaghmede apartment complex which were found to have major fire safety defects and which remain the subject of a forced evacuation order two years later.

Hogan said they would also hope to avoid a recurrence of the pyritic heave which has emerged in housing developments in Dublin and nearby counties, following the inappropriate use of pyrite during the construction.

“This is all about restoring consumer confidence in construction as an industry,” Hogan said.

The new Building Control Regulations are a major step forward and will, for the first time, give home-owners clarity, traceability and accountability at all stages of the building process. They will provide consumers with the protection they need and deserve.”

Hogan is to carry out a review of the insurance policies held by construction companies, in tandem with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, before the regulations come into effect.

The minister said he intended to have the rules come into force in early 2014.

Read: Housing minister admits Priory Hall residents in a dreadful situation’

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