Thursday 22 February 2018

Register to curb 'cowboy builders'

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

THE Government is planning to put a halt to 'cowboy builders' by setting up a register of approved contractors for the first time.

It will contain only builders who have demonstrated an ability to carry out quality work.

It comes after complaints from homeowners about "cowboy builders" who are carrying out shoddy work which has to be repaired afterwards by skilled builders.

There are also concerns about people topping up dole payments with part-time building jobs – and undercutting bids from legitimate builders.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan's department confirmed that it had held discussions with the Construction Industry Federation about a voluntary registration scheme for builders.

The intention is to progress it to a legally-binding scheme over time.

"The Department has indicated that the scheme should be in keeping with competition law, include strong quality assurance checks, provide strong consumer protection, have the cover of professional indemnity insurance and not add excessively to the economic cost of house purchase/rental," said a spokesman.

CIF director general, Tom Parlon, said the aim was to set up a system that will help prevent people being hoodwinked by cowboy builders in the future. "If this system is in place it will weed out those builders who bring a bad name to the industry," he said.

Evacuate

The most notorious case of poor buildings standards is in Priory Hall – the apartment complex in Donaghmede, Dublin, where all the residents had to be evacuated.

Due to bad wiring, the lack of cavity filling and poor workmanship, experts found that an entire apartment block could be consumed by flames in five minutes if a serious fire started in just one apartment.

Mr Parlon said there had been too many instances of poor quality building work taking place during the boom.

"We want to promote building work that maintains high standards," he said.

The register would allow homeowners to check that the builder they were hiring complied to these standards.

Irish Independent

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