Thursday, 26 May 2011
Dáil Éireann Debate
70. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the full extent to which he has examined the use of pyrite in the course of housing construction; the total number of houses deemed to be affected; the degree to which HomeBond scheme caters for or is capable of catering for the needs arising from claims under this heading; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13189/11]
Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): The current pyrite problems were first brought to the attention of my Department in mid-2007 and it acted quickly in taking appropriate action to address them. Following an intervention from my Department, the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) published a new amended Standard Recommendation on the use of aggregates as infill for civil engineering and road construction work. The new Standard Recommendation came into effect on 7 December 2007 and it addresses the quality standards of new homes and buildings insofar as problems relating to pyrite are concerned.
The Building Regulations set out the legal requirements for the construction of new buildings, including houses, and the related technical guidance documents provide guidance on how to comply with those regulations. The relevant Technical Guidance Document of the Building Regulations dealing with Site Preparation was amended to incorporate the revised NSAI Standard Recommendation.
In addition, I am aware that HomeBond, a private company which provides a ten-year structural guarantee for new houses, has included the amended NSAI Standard Recommendation in their published 6th edition of the house building manual. I attach a high priority to consumer protection in the area of quality construction of new dwellings and I have asked my Department to prioritise the formulation of policy proposals that will enhance compliance with, and enforcement of, the building regulations generally. I will be meeting a representative group in the next few weeks to establish what can be done to help home owners deal with outstanding issues in the context of recent court decisions and departmental responsibilities.
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