Building controls failing says Donegal energy rating expert

Build 16 - Dean Spencer from BER.   Photo Clive Wasson
Build 16 - Dean Spencer from BER. Photo Clive Wasson

Building controls don’t go far enough to protect home buyers from high energy costs in Donegal, says a local building energy rating expert.

Dean Spencer from BER in Donegal says that despite improvements to regulations, the authorities have failed to introduce a fail-safe system of inspection in the construction industry.

Mr Spencer, who will address #Build16 sponsored by EBS, in Letterkenny’s Radisson Blu Hotel tomorrow, said: “The construction industry in Donegal looks set to take off once again after almost ten years of stagnation, yet a proper system is still not in place to ensure the highest standards across the board in building projects.

“Buying or building a house is the biggest financial outlay many people will make in their lives so it is important to provide adequate protection.

“There effectively is no building control in Ireland to the same level as exists in the UK and the result is that consumer interests are not fully safeguarded. If there was adequate protection then we wouldn’t have issues with poor or no insulation in properties or even the current problem with defective blocks in homes in Donegal,” he said.

Mr Spencer said that there had been significant improvements made in recent years but much more remains to be done by the authorities.

“What has been introduced involves what’s called an Assigned Certifier which is a higher grade architect who signs off on a build project. The result is that the responsibility is placed on one person who is dependent on the quality of work of everyone else involved in the project. This system is far from perfect.

“In the UK, local authority building control departments inspect all projects at the various stages and if something doesn’t meet the clearly required standard then the project is halted there and then. This is a model which is working well and something similar would give greater protection if introduced here,” Mr Spencer added.