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Minister O'Brien must set out response to Building Control Office staffing crisis - Eoin Ó Broin TD

23 May, 2023 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing, Eoin Ó Broin TD, has called on Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien to set out his response to the ongoing staffing crisis in the National Building Control Office. 

The Dublin Mid West TD's call comes as the Business Post reports correspondence between the NBCO and Department dating back to January 2022 in which the office, tasked with coordinating building control and building product surveillance, repeatedly highlighted the impact of chronic understaffing on their ability to carry out their functions properly.

Teachta Ó Broin said:

“Currently the state is facing bills over up to €5billion to cover the cost of remediating homes impacted by Celtic Tiger building defects and homes across the state built with defective blocks. 

“Part of the reason for these building scandals was a historic under-resourcing of the building control functions in our Local Authorities and the dismantling of our building product surveillance infrastructure during the 1990s.

“In the aftermath of the Priory Hall disaster, one of the government's key reforms was the creation of a National Building Control Office. The role of the office was to support and improve building control functions in Local Authorities, including independent inspections of building sites. The NBCO was also given the role of building product surveillance.

“Despite these important jobs, the office has never been given the staffing or resources to undertake its functions properly. Correspondence from the NBCO to the Department, published by the Business Post, lays bare the extent of the underfunding.

“When the head of the office set up to strengthen the building control regime describes their under-resourcing as a national emergency, the government must take note and respond accordingly.

“Darragh O’Brien as the Minister responsible must set out in public how he and the government intend to address the chronic understaffing at the NBCO. I have written to the Minister today on the issue and requested a Dáil topical issue debate on the matter.

“Failure to resource the NBCO and our building control authorities runs the risk of repeating the regulatory failures of the past that led to the pyrite, defective block,  and building defects scandals.”

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