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Building law reforms to slash costs of constructing new homes

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Minister for the Enviroment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, pictured during the Labour Party national conference

Minister for the Enviroment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, pictured during the Labour Party national conference

Minister for the Enviroment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly, pictured during the Labour Party national conference

Environment Minister Alan Kelly has vowed to reform the country's tough building regulations in a move that will slash the bill associated with building your own home.

Mr Kelly says he will introduce changes in the area of certification and relax the rules surrounding the use of architects, engineers and chartered surveyors.

New regulations brought in following the Priory Hall debacle compel builders to obtain a series of safety certificates from professional bodies.

But Mr Kelly says the rules have had a disproportionate impact on rural Ireland, where they have proved "overburdensome" on many small-time builders and people looking to build their first home.

Rural TDs say people building homes have to fork out tens of thousands on architectural, engineering and surveying services, and that this is creating a serious financial burden.

The changes, which will be introduced within months, will allow builders to engage the services of architectural technicians as part of the certification process.

This change alone will significantly reduce bills associated with construction, Mr Kelly told a meeting at the Labour Party conference.

"But certainly the clarity and the modelling in relation to small one-off houses and extensions is not sustainable.

"We have to change them and I can tell you we are changing them imminently in the next few months because rural Ireland needs it," he said.

Meanwhile, the regulations have been blamed for the construction of homes "slowing to a trickle" in the latter half of last year.

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The regulations had a "significant impact" on the number of new project commencements, which dropped by half from the middle of 2014, according to the National Housing Construction Index from industry monitor Link2Plans.

New developments surged by 30pc last year, while planning applications rose by 12pc compared with 2013.

However, this was a sharp fall from the "incredible" 132pc rise in starts in the first quarter of last year, managing director of Link2Plans Danny O'Shea said.


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