Insurance 'against shoddy workmen' needed
Architects have called on the Government to introduce a mandatory insurance scheme to protect homeowners against shoddy workmanship.
The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) also said that proposals to exempt one-off homes from building regulations are mistaken because they will not protect consumers in the event of structural problems.
In a submission to the Department of the Environment, they said building regulations introduced last March, which oblige all buildings including extensions over 40 square metres to be certified as being correctly built, are having a "positive impact", but concerns remain about consumer protection.
One measure that could help is obliging builders to take out latent defects insurance which would remove the need for homeowners to fund legal action in the event of major structural problems, it said.
The insurance schemes operate in many EU countries as well as in the US, Canada and Australia and require the developer to take out a policy before construction commences. It generally costs around 0.5pc of the sale price of the property - or €1,500 on a €300,000 home - and covers all defects for two years after completion, and up to 10 years for major problems.
Joe Kennedy, who sits on the RIAI's Building Regulations Steering Group, said the current redress process was inefficient, costly and resulted in unnecessary delays.
"It takes far too long, is too costly and the outcomes cannot be guaranteed," he said.
"Prevention and detection provide much better consumer protection with everyone playing their part."