Dublin City Councillor Jim O’Callaghan has proposed the establishment of a National Buildings Inspectorate to ensure far better oversight of safety standards in new residential developments.
The Dublin Bay South candidate has said it is completely unacceptable that residents of the Longboat Quay apartments would be expected to foot the bill for making their homes safe.
Cllr O’Callaghan has also called on the Department of the Environment to refund all property tax paid by residents of Longboat Quay to date.
“It is disgraceful that there is no clear liability for the gross failures in meeting basic safety standards in this high end development. These problems are through no fault of the homeowners, who trusted that the building had passed inspection and therefore was safe and habitable. Although the developer is now in liquidation, we cannot allow a situation where these homeowners are forced to pick up the tab,” the local Councillor said.
“This shines a light on what remains a very poor inspection regime that has failed apartment dwellers on far too many occasions. Despite changes in 2012, the system is still entirely self-regulatory. At the moment the person issuing a fire safety notice is employed directly by the developer. This is not good enough. We have learnt from bitter experience that self-regulation of safety standards does not work. For that reason I believe an independent State authority is needed to check every new development to ensure it is fire safe.
“A new National Building Inspectorate that is overseen by local authorities and operates much like the NCT system would be a far more cost-effective. Monitored by local authorities, it would have dedicated specialised staff and standardised systems, thereby making it much easier to ensure quality control.
“I am also calling on the Minister for the Environment Alan Kelly to immediately refund the property tax paid by residents at Longboat Quay to date. This is one small gesture that the Government can make now while legal cases are being pursued.”