Written Answers - Building Regulations.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 680 No. 3

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  568.  Deputy Fergus O’Dowd  Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd   asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government  Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley   his views on the issues raised in correspondence (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15195/09]

  591.  Deputy Terence Flanagan  Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan   asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government  Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley   his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15684/09]

Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley): Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  I propose to take Questions Nos. 568 and 591 together.

The EU Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings, which was transposed into Irish law by the European Communities (Energy Performance of Buildings) Regulations 2006-2008, introduced a requirement for a Building Energy Rating (BER) system.

The Regulations clearly and unambiguously specify that any person who offers a building for sale or letting on or from 1 January, 2009 or any agent acting on their behalf, is required to produce a copy of the BER certificate to any person expressing an interest in purchasing or taking a letting in the building. A person who contravenes these requirements commits an offence, unless the building in question is specifically exempted under Article 3 of the Regulations, and is liable, on prosecution by the Building Control Authority in whose functional area the building is situated, to a fine not exceeding €5,000.

Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI) is designated as the issuing authority for the purposes of the Regulations and is responsible for the day to day administration of the BER system. SEI has already run an extensive advertising and promotion campaign to raise public awareness regarding the BER certification system and plans to run further national and regional media campaigns by mid-year.

The Private Residential Tenancies Board (PRTB) is an independent statutory body established under the Residential Tenancies Act 2004 and its principal functions are in the area of:

the registration of private rental tenancies;

the resolution of disputes between tenants and landlords; and

[683]the provision of information, assistance and advice to the Minister on the private rental sector

The PRTB has no function in ensuring private rental sector compliance with the Regulations. Notwithstanding this, the Board is aware of the Regulations and has indicated it will take reasonable steps to promote compliance with the requirement for BER certificates within the sector.

Circular Letter BC 4/2009 — Enforcing Building Regulations Part L and Building Energy Ratings — issued to all Building Control Authorities on 17 February 2009. The Circular Letter, among other things, asked all local authorities to write to estate and letting agents within their functional area drawing their attention to the mandatory requirement for BER certificates in respect of buildings offered for sale or letting on or from 1 January 2009 and indicating that full compliance was expected from building owners and agents acting on behalf of owners.

It is not currently a requirement that energy ratings be quoted on advertising and promotional materials relating to the sale or letting of a building. The European Commission is, however, advancing such proposals in its recast of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, and I am supportive of these proposals.

SEI’s Code of Conduct for BER Assessors specifically debars a BER assessor from undertaking an assessment on a building in which his employer has an interest as a sales or letting agent.

My Department will continue to work closely with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, SEI and the 37 local Building Control Authorities to promote awareness of the obligations which arise under the Regulations.


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