Fianna Fáil councillor backs new building rules

A Fianna Fáil councillor, who is also an engineer, has supported new Government regulations to improve building standards.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan has introduced the Building Control Amendment Regulations 2013 to prevent the recurrence of badly constructed dwellings and structures breaching fire regulations left “as a legacy of a poorly regulated housing boom”.

The initiative has drawn mixed reaction, with claims that it will add to building costs and act as a disincentive to the recovery of the construction industry.

However, Fianna Fáil councillor John Brassil maintained that the regulations would benefit people and would help eliminate “horrors” which had happened in the past. “If someone is building a house now, they can be assured there won’t be cracks, or subsidence,” he said.

“If something like that happens, they will be covered because someone will have signed off on the work and it will be the responsibility of those people to put things right. If people have to pay 5-10% extra they will be assured that if anything goes wrong it will be dealt with.”

Mr Brassil was speaking at a meeting of Kerry County Council at which Independent councillor Johnny Healy-Rae tabled a motion raising concerns that there would be extra costs on people building houses.

“The regulations will increase costs significantly and will make it more awkward for people,” he said.

Sinn Féin councillor Toireasa Ferris said people already had enough difficulties to contend with in getting mortgages.

However, Independent councillor Brendan Cronin welcomed moves to tackle “cowboy builders” and said competent builders, architects, and engineers had nothing to fear.

He had seen examples of very bad building standards, including cracks in walls of new houses, subsidence, and even a case where sewerage pipes were expected to flow uphill. “There will be a certain amount of extra cost, but I’ve seen too many cases of ‘cowboy builders’ and the consequences of their work,” he said.

Fianna Fáil councillor John Joe Culloty, also a builder, said there should not be scaremongering about the regulations, adding that building standards had improved a lot in recent years.

Kerry’s chief fire officer, Michael Hession, welcomed the regulations.


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