A dispute has broken out in the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI) about an objection made by its director, John Graby, to higher energy performance standards for new homes in Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown.
In a letter to the county council last month Mr Graby said it was the RIAI's view that "such matters are properly dealt with through the building regulations regulatory systems and not by variation to [ county] development plans".
Although the institute "fully supports the concept of improved standards in energy efficiency and sustainability generally", this "should be dealt with on a national basis by the Minister for the Environment . . . and the Building Regulations Advisory Board".
The Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown proposal had been examined by the RIAI sustainability task force and it was felt that there would be "substantial problems" in implementing it, "including lack of agreed standards, methodologies and local authority resources".
The Irish Home Builders' Association, which also opposed setting a standard 60 per cent higher than the current regulations on the basis that it was "not achievable", said that the industry's concerns about the proposal were "fully shared by the RIAI".
However, one member of the sustainability task force, who did not wish to be identified, said that all of its members "supported Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown wholeheartedly" in adopting the new standards, and they had requested a meeting with Mr Graby to discuss the issue.
"I can only say that we were very unhappy about the tone of the letter, which was very negative and wouldn't have been something that we endorsed."
Mr Graby said that he discussed the matter with John Goulding, who chairs the task- force, and he had agreed that energy standards for new housing should be dealt with on a national basis rather than by individual local authorities imposing their own standards.
© 2007 The Irish Times