Safety Standards in construction, a major issue for the industry and government

Advancing safety standards in the construction industry and the future of regulation, were amongst the main topics discussed yesterday, Wednesday, October 21st at a Construction Industry Federation (CIF) hosted event on the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations (BCAR), which took place in Athlone.

With more than 200 attendees, the event also heard proposals on draft standard details for water and waste water services and its impact upon laying of water services into the future.

While the BC(A)R amendments, introduced in 2014 have been widely welcomed throughout the industry, there is a need to increase the level of participation of construction workers in CIRI- the Construction Industry Register Ireland.

Tom Parlon CIF in Irish Building MagazineSpeaking during the conference, Tom Parlon, the Director General of the CIF stated that: “While we have seen more than 1,100 company applications to register with CIRI since its establishment last year, we are working with the Government to ensure a greater uptake of registrations and move the registrar towards a statutory basis.  We recognise that there is a trust deficit amongst the general public when it comes to our industry. CIRI is a transparent and progressive means to moving forward and ensuring that our industry is viewed as a regulated and competitive industry.”

Speaking during the conference, Martin Vaughan, Assistant Principal, Architecture and Building Standards in the Department of Environment, Community & Local Government spoke about the important role that regulation plays in protecting the consumer. He advised that “the registration of competent builders, specialist contractors and tradespersons supports the prime objectives of the building control system to ensure a quality, safe built environment and to protect consumers”. He further advised that the Department is currently finalising the Heads of Bill for legislation to place CIRI on a statutory footing which it is intended will be brought to Government in the near future.

Gillian Murtagh, Chairman of the Midlands Branch of the CIF summarised the conference by saying “We recognise that it is important for these events to happen regionally, bringing information, changes in regulation and open forum for questions and debate. As we all support the development and enforcement of Building Control, changes such as roll back on one-off houses, which traditionally has more of a rural impact, has left many disappointed in its watering down and looking for clarifications. CIF have delivered an excellent event with superb panel of speakers and industry engagement”.