Irish builders may soon be forced to join a register to prove they're competent

The move is aimed at restoring trust in the construction sector after the recession.

By Paul O'Donoghue Reporter, Fora

THE BODY REPRESENTING Irish builders has welcomed plans to make it a legal requirement for companies in the industry to sign up to a register in order to prove their competence.

The government has announced that it has approved the drafting and publication of the Building Control (Construction Industry Register Ireland) Bill 2017.

The aim of the bill is to make joining the Construction Industry Register Ireland mandatory for building firms.

The register was set up three years ago by Construction Industry Federation (CIF) the with the aim of allowing people to easily identify reputable building firms. So far, companies join on a voluntary basis.

Under the current process, businesses joining the register must show that they have tax clearance and insurance.

They are required to demonstrate practical experience of working in construction – “generally for a period of no less than three years” – and show knowledge of the industry’s laws and regulations.

“Applicants must outline details of a minimum of three projects demonstrating their construction experience,” the CIF said.

The register covers a range of professions “from builders and building services contractors to specialist contractors”, according to the organisation.

A CIF spokeswoman said that entry to the register “will be open to all builders, whether sole traders, partnerships or registered companies, who can demonstrate that they are competent to carry out works in the category for which they are seeking to register.”

priory hall Priory Hall was built during the boom
Source: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

The register was established in consultation with the Department of the Environment.

Public confidence 

Earlier this year, Housing and Planning Minister Simon Coveney told the CIF Cork construction annual dinner that he was committed to drafting the bill to make joining the register mandatory.

“This is seen as an additional essential consumer protection measure giving consumers who engage a registered builder the assurance that they are dealing with a competent and compliant operator,” he said at the time.

“I see (the register) as an important and necessary step in restoring public confidence and trust in the construction sector given the legacy of the building failures that came in the wake of the construction-related economic collapse.”

Speaking today, he said that the purpose of the Bill “is to provide for a mandatory statutory register of builders, contractors and specialist sub-contractors.”

“Subject to a limited number of exceptions, a builder will only be permitted to carry out building works in respect of which he or she is registered.

CIF director of housing and planning Hubert Fitzpatrick said that putting the register on a statutory footing “will mean that only competent builders can secure registration”.

“It is not acceptable that a person or company without adequate training or experience can portray themselves as a builder to the public,” he said.

He added that members of the public should only engage with builders who are signed up to the register.

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