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Building Regulations

Volume 976: debated on Tuesday 20 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he is satisfied with the content, administration and interpretation at local level of the Building Regulations (Northern Ireland) Orders 1972 and 1978.

The building regulations in Northern Ireland operate in a generally satisfactory manner but we are constantly looking at means of simplifying and streamlining their content and administration.

When my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State next considers amendments to the Northern Ireland building regulations, will he consider whether they can be simplified without in any way compromising safety, as many people consider possible? If he thinks that there is merit in the building regulations being uniform throughout the United Kingdom, instead of having the present four different sets, is he prepared to consult his right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Scotland, Wales and the Environment to consider whether that can be brought about?

I am aware of the review recently announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment. I intend to study his conclusions carefully to ascertain whether they may be applied to Northern Ireland.

Will the Minister accept that if he finds a way of meeting the wishes of the hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Chapman) by simplifying the building regulations without weakening safety requirements, he will receive the Opposition's full support? Will he take this opportunity of congratulating the six building control officers in Northern Ireland who, by their efforts, have made the interpretation of regulations that much easier to understand in Northern Ireland?