The Government has given the go-ahead to putting the Construction Industry Register Ireland (CIRI) on a statutory footing in the coming months. The Register has been in existence since 2014 and was established by the Construction Industry Federation in conjunction with the Department of the Environment (as it then was, now Planning, Housing and Local Government) with a view to assisting the public in selecting competent builders or specialist contractors.

The new legislation will make registration with CIRI mandatory for all builders, contractors and specialist sub-contractors, subject to limited exceptions. Registration will cost €738.00 and enforcement will be the responsibility of CIF.

The new legislation creates a number of offences associated with registration on CIRI. For example, it will be an offence to undertake works within the scope of the Building Control Acts unless registered to do so or otherwise exempt.

In addition to mandatory registration, it will now be possible to make a complaint to CIF in respect of breaches of the registration requirements. Sanctions range from censure, admonishment and advice to de-registration. More serious sanctions require the confirmation of the High Court.

The regulation of builders and contractors is something that has long been talked about and has been widely welcomed, including by the construction industry itself.

However, it will be interesting to see whether the scheme has any teeth. It now generally accepted that self-regulation is not best practice when it comes to the regulation of professions and service providers and it is doubtful that CIF will want to be throwing the book at its own members for non-compliance.