Minister John Paul Phelan
The distressing and stressful circumstances the owners and residents of buildings must face where building defects emerge was acknowledge in the Seanad by Minister of State John Paul Phelan.
However, he said in general, building defects are matters for resolution between the contracting parties involved, the homeowner, the builder, the developer and-or their respective insurers, structural guarantee or warranty scheme.
“It is important to note that while the Department has overall responsibility for establishing and maintaining an effective regulatory framework for building standards and building control, it has no general statutory role in resolving defects in privately owned buildings, including dwellings, nor does it have a budget for such matters,” he told senators. “In this regard, it is incumbent on the parties responsible for poor workmanship and-or the supply of defective materials to face up to their responsibilities and take appropriate action to provide remedies for the affected homeowners.”
The issue of legal redress for homeowners in respect of property transactions is a complex matter, with potential implications for the entire legal system as well as for the insurance industry, he said. In this context, in February 2018, the Department wrote to the Law Reform Commission and also corresponded with those involved in the review of the administration of civil justice in Ireland requesting that they consider the issue of effective and accessible legal remedies for homeowners who discover defects in their homes.