Housing extensions and one-off homes may be exempt from tough new building regulations aimed at preventing shoddy work, under proposals being considered by the Government.
The Irish Independent reports that the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly is devising a radical plan amid concerns that householders are paying up to €16,000 to have their homes inspected, on top of construction costs.
The move would result in almost half of all homes built in a given year being exempt from the rules.
However, there are fears that if the changes are made, it will also result in buyers of these one-off homes being given no protection.
The previous self-certification scheme sparked public controversy, and saw projects such as Priory Hall declared safe.
Public consultation documents show common faults in one-off housing and extensions included complaints about poor workmanship, inadequate drainage and wastewater treatment systems and poor energy performance because building regulations were not observed.
The new regulations brought in on March 1 last year oblige an architect, engineer or building surveyor to certify that regulations have been complied with at crucial stages in the construction project. If a problem emerges, the certifier is held legally responsible.
However, concern was expressed that the process was too burdensome for smaller building projects, and the Government is considering making the regulations advisory rather than mandatory.