The call from an Oireachtas committee yesterday for higher building standards and stronger safeguards for homeowners and tenants who experience defects in their homes is very welcome. The committee wants a more robust approach to building standards to better protect consumers.
This proposal is justified by the litany of stories about homeowners or tenants forced to quit their homes because of neglectful — “cowboy” might be a better term — builders.
As we have said before, this is a pressing issue. It is well beyond the time that individuals facing punitive costs because they bought a property that had been approved by various regulators but turned out to be defective, had some way of recouping costs, even if the builder had ceased trading.
It does not seem unreasonable to suggest that all builders and regulators must take out some of insurance that would, for maybe a decade, offer the kind of cover needed when a house is found to be defective. That consumer protection could be made a condition of planning conditions thereby offering peace of mind to all involved. Why not?