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Department of Infrastructure seeking to update building regulations

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Department of Infrastructure is seeking to update the Isle of Man’s building regulations in order to raise standards of workmanship and design, with a specific focus on improving energy efficiency.

The new measures will result in long-term energy savings for property owners, while providing for greater accountability by builders.

The Building Regulations 2014 will be laid before this month’s sitting of Tynwald, with Members being asked to approve the proposals in July.

Infrastructure Minister Laurence Skelly MHK said:

‘The overall aim of the proposed changes is to harmonise the Island’s building regulations with those of England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands, and to encourage better and more sustainable designs in respect of new and existing buildings. Enhancing energy efficiency will cut fuel costs for end users and reduce the impact on the environment.’

The Island’s Building Control Act 1991 has already been revised to improve areas such as fire safety, drainage, recycling of materials, prevention of waste, water efficiency and crime prevention.

Following those changes to the primary legislation, the Department of Infrastructure is now proposing to update the relevant secondary legislation.

The Building Regulations 2014 also seek to amend the definition of building work to include certain repairs, while a new measure will establish moisture resistance targets regarding a material change of use of a property. It is intended that these changes will help to address concerns highlighted in a recent case that was the subject of a Tynwald Select Committee Report.

A six-week public consultation on the new legislative provisions took place during the summer of 2013.

Richard Ronan MHK, Member of DoI with responsibility for Planning and Building Control, said:

‘The Department is mindful of the current economic climate and the need to ensure that any costs incurred as a result of the proposals are kept to a minimum. Any additional expenditure associated with the new energy efficiency provisions will be offset by savings arising from lower energy consumption.’

He added:

‘We believe that encouraging higher standards and accountability will result in more confidence in our building industry, which has a pivotal role to play in efforts to grow the Island’s economy. It is also important to protect the vulnerable, and by requiring improved standards in the construction and repair of properties we will be helping the people who live in these buildings for years to come.’

An explanatory memorandum will be issued when the Building Regulations 2014 are laid before Tynwald in May. This is to give Members an opportunity to raise any views or concerns with the Department before they are asked to approve the proposals at the July sitting of Tynwald.

The regulations are scheduled to come into effect on 1 October 2014, which will allow time for the Department to further brief interested parties, including builders, architects and project managers.

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