Improved regulations will protect new homes from pyrite – Farrell

Fine Gael TD for Dublin North, Alan Farrell, has today (Monday) welcomed Minister Phil Hogan’s announcement of new strengthened building control systems that will be put in place by the Department of the Environment and Local Government to protect customers.

“Last week I called on Minister Hogan to take swift action to strengthen building regulations, particularly in relation to preventing pyritic material being used in the construction of residential properties in the future.

“Pyrite is a building material which has caused significant damage to homes. It has been used in the construction of an estimated 20,000 houses in north Dublin, Meath and Kildare and has left home owners facing massive bills for problems such as cracked walls and floors.

“These new regulations will be crucial in the prevention of this problem occurring in newly constructed homes. It is the only way that we can be assured that future residential properties can be free from pyrite and that future home purchasers can be protected.

“As the owner of a house with pyritic backfill, I am acutely aware of the dramatic impact this issue has on homeowners. I have been contacted by numerous homeowners who are experiencing serious defects within their homes. Pyrite has already affected thousands of householders in north Leinster and in my own constituency of Dublin North and I welcome the Minister’s swift action on this issue.

“The pyrite issue was first identified as a problem in 2007. And yet the previous Fianna Fáil Government failed to act. After four years of inaction these new regulations will help prevent history repeating itself.”

Note to Editors:

Please see the press release below issued by the Department of the Environment, which may be useful for background information:

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Phil Hogan, T.D., today (04.07.2011) announced that he will strengthen the building control systems which will protect consumers.

Minister Hogan said: ‘Since taking up office I have clearly signalled that consumer protection in the area of quality construction of new dwellings is a top priority for me. I am acutely aware of the difficult and distressing situations faced by many homeowners and tenants today who, through no fault of their own, are dealing with the consequences of unfinished estates, pyrites problems and other building defects. The only appropriate response to such legacy issues is to strengthen the system to ensure such problems do not visit us again.’

The plan to reform the building control system was devised by the Department, in conjunction with the Building Regulations Advisory Body and a Building Control Steering Group and includes:

· The introduction of mandatory certificates of compliance by builders and designers of buildings demonstrating that the statutory requirements of the Building Regulations have been met;

· More efficient pooling of building control staff and resources across the local authority sector to ensure more effective and meaningful oversight of building activity;

· Standardised approaches and common protocols to ensure nationwide consistency in the administration of building control functions;

· Measures for the support and further development of the building control function nationwide.

The Minister has now asked the Department to bring the proposals to public consultation at an early date saying: ‘It is clear from consultation to date with stakeholders (both private and public sector) across the industry that there is a broad consensus that there is a need for change. Implementation arrangements will now be subject to full consultation with all relevant stakeholders and members of the public in particular who will be invited to have their say in the matter.’