Flawed Government policy and failure of Building Regulation

6th July 2011

Mr. Phil Hogan TD

Minister for the Environment Heritage and Local Government

Custom House

Dublin 1.


Dear Minister,

A single picture can speak a thousand words.

The situation pictured is a consequence of flawed Government policy and failure of Building Regulation to fix responsibility for wastewater treatment products on those in the design/ supply chain and to provide protection for consumers and our environment.

The official policy of fixing liability solely on homeowners for the public health consequences of defective design or construction of wastewater treatment systems  and facilitating everyone in the supply chain to evade responsibility is wrong must be rectified. Another indication of our failed building regulation system of control is the failure of our Building Regulations, Guidance Documents or Building Product Certifications to meet-

  • General Product Safety Regulations.
  • Supply of Goods and Services Act.
  • Consumer Protection Act etc.

The neglect can be extended to the responsible Ministers and other state agencies who have been regularly made aware of the situation over the past 20 years and to our elected representatives and indeed to ourselves for not trying harder to alert everyone to the present appalling situation of unsustainable planning, defective infrastructure, constructions and construction products which are not fit for purpose.

If one requires further evidence of the failure of our deficient building regulations one need only refer to your own Joint Oireachtas Report on the Regulation of Wastewater Treatment Services in Ireland and Related Matters and to the Grant Thornton Report on the Building Regulations which was carried out on behalf of the Irish National Consumer Agency and to the thousands of malfunctioning systems that have been installed in accordance with official guidance.

Notwithstanding that we now have I.S EN Standards for some building products consumers are not alerted to the fact that I.S.EN Certifications for wastewater products do not refer to General Product Safety, National Health and Safety, Electrical, Building Regulations or other applicable requirements. Nor do the regulations require, as specified by the European Court, that all such products carry the CE mark, which is standard practice throughout the EU except in Ireland. The CE mark is the manufactures guarantee that the product complies with all relevant regulations.

This evasion of responsibility by our public officials in failing to adopt legal E.U. directives into national regulations has also resulted in Ireland being found by the European Court to be in contravention with EU law.

We are raising this consumer protection matter once again in the hope that some of our more publicly minded representatives will take up these consumer and environmental protection issues and confront the official bureaucracy and industry influences to have them properly addressed in the Building Regulations and other applicable documents.

If you require further information please contact us.


Yours sincerely



Frank Cavanagh

Managing Director, BioCycle Ltd.