Number of building and contracting entities registered with Construction Industry Register Ireland expected to increase from about 800 to at least 5,000 initially, as government says legislation delivers on Housing for All commitment to embed compliance in the construction sector.

Competent and compliant operator

The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, TD, has welcomed the publication of the Regulation of Providers of Building Works Bill 2021. The legislation will put the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) on a statutory footing. The bill aims to benefit consumers and the general public by giving those who engage a registered builder the assurance that they are dealing with a competent and compliant operator.

The legislation is committed to in Housing for All, the government’s national plan for housing to 2030. Currently, entities providing building services can voluntarily register with CIRI, which has operated since 2014. Once the legislation is enacted, all entities providing building services will be required to register with CIRI.

CIRI was established by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), which is expected to operate the statutory register. This is a similar model to that of registration for Registered Architects and Surveyors. Approximately 800 building and contracting entities are currently included on the register. When the register operates on a statutory footing, it’s expected that initially at least 5,000 entities will be required to register.

Eligibility for registration

The requirement to register will apply to builders of both residential and non-residential buildings that are subject to the building regulations. Employees of such building firms will not be required to apply but sole traders will. Eligibility for registration can be achieved through qualifications, experience or a combination of both. The criteria required for registration will be clear and transparent and will be set out in regulations.

Once enacted, the statutory register is expected to help develop and promote a culture of competence, good practice and compliance with building regulations. The new measures will also address shadow economic activity in the construction sector and ensure fairer competition for compliant operators.

MinisterO’Brien said: “This legislation, promised under Housing for All, will help improve our housing system over the longer term. Everyone should be confident in the knowledge that their homes are built to the highest standards and that any professional services they use are also of a certain standard.

"Likewise, companies and people buying or renting commercial buildings should be able to expect that they are built by service providers of a certain standard. This legislation will ensure that the construction sector operates to the highest standard and that people have confidence in its workforce and practices.

“This government is taking firm action on the issue of housing defects and the legacies of poor construction design, workmanship and materials. It is something which has impacted so significantly on the lives of so many of our people.

"By driving regulation in the construction sector, the state will ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated and we have a more sustainable housing system and construction sector in the future.”