A local authority may exercise powers in relation to dangerous places and dangerous structures. It may take steps in order to prevent a place becoming dangerous. A dangerous place is an excavation, quarry, pit, reservoir, stream, bank, dump, shaft or land, that in the opinion of the authority, in likely to be dangerous to any person. A dangerous structure is any building, wall or other structure or part of or anything attached to it, that in the opinion of the local authority is likely to be dangerous to any person or property.
A local authority may require the owner or certain lessees tenant to carry out specified works as will in its opinion; prevent a place from being or becoming dangerous. The owner is the person entitled for the time being to sell or dispose of the fee simple interest in the land. Lessees with a lease with at least one year left, who occupies or is entitled to occupy the land may also be the subject of requirements.
A local authority may carry out such works as will in its opinion; prevent a place from being or becoming a dangerous place. The local authority, its contractors and employees may enter the premises for this purpose. The local authority may claim from the owner, the cost of doing the works. It may require the owner to make a payment towards the cost of the works of such amount as the authority considers proper. Such sums shall bear interest at 5% until the date of payment and may be recovered as a simple contract debt.
Before taking action under this power, the local authority must give notice to the owner of the place concerned, stating that the place is a dangerous place and that the authority intends to proceed to use the above powers in relation to it. It must specify the works, which in the opinion of the authority, are required to be carried out in relation to the place, in order to prevent it from being a dangerous place. It must give an estimate of the cost of the work. Where it give notice, it shall within seven days after giving notice, post a copy of the notice at or near the place concerned.
An appeal may be taken to the District Court against the notice. Works may not proceed until 21 days after the above notice is given. If there is an appeal, the works may not proceed until 21 days after the District Court permits the works .
Similar powers may be exercised in respect of dangerous structures. The local authority may notify the owner or (or if he cannot be ascertained by reasonable inquiry, the occupier) requiring that within the period specified, he carries out such works as are specified, which in the opinion of the authority are required to prevent the structure from being a dangerous structure. This may include the removal of any debris, the erection of any wall or barrier between any open area created by the works and any street or public place. It may require the termination or modification of the use of any structure or part of it. For such purpose, the owner may enter the land with his employees and contractors.
If it is necessary in the opinion of the authority in the interests of the safety of any person, the authority may by its contractors or employees carry out works on any dangerous structure in its area. This may include demolition of the structure, clearing and levelling as may in the opinion of the authority prevent the structure from being a dangerous place.
The authority may enter the land for the above purposes. Where the authority proposes to enter land, they shall as soon as may be, give the owner notice. If the owner cannot be ascertained by reasonable inquiry, it may give the occupier of the structure, notice stating it has entered or proposes to enter the land, specifying the works it has carried out or proposes to carry out.
A notice may require the carrying out of the work specified, to commence immediately, be carried out in accordance with such conditions as the authority thinks appropriate and in such manner as specified in the notice. Failure to comply with the requirements specified in a notice is an offence.
Where a person on whom a notice has been served does not comply, the District Court may on application of the authority, order and direct the person, within such time as the court considers reasonable and may specify in the order, to carry out the works specified. It may authorise the authority to carry out the works, if the person does not comply. It may prohibit the use of the structure or part of it or prevent the use of any parts for any purpose specified in the order. Failure to comply is an offence.
Where cost incurred by the authority in relation to a dangerous structure are not paid by the owner within 14 days of demand in writing, the amount together with interest at 5% may be recovered as a debt and/or by sale of materials resulting from the works carried out by the authority. Any surplus monies from such sale, are to be returned to the owner or owners in such proportions as the District Court may on application of the owner determine.
Where the costs and expenses incurred by the authority in relation to the structure have not been paid, the District Court may on application of the local authority, prohibit the repair or letting of the structure or the carrying out of any works on the land on which structures stood, until payment of the amount due in respect of the expenses.
The local authority is to keep a register of all orders made under the legislation in relation to structures in its area. It is to be open for inspection at all reasonable times.
If in the opinion of the authority, it is necessary in the interests of the safety of any person, the authority may require the occupier or any person in a dangerous structure or its curtilage or any structure or its curtilage in the vicinity, to vacate the structure and remove all property in it. Failure to comply is an offence. The authority may provide other living accommodation for an occupier who has left a dwelling or make a grant of such amount as enables them to obtain other living accommodation.
If a person does not comply with the order, officers of the authority may use such force as may be necessary enter the structure and remove persons and properties. They may request members of An Garda Síochána to assist them in the exercise of their powers.
A local authority may for the purpose of ascertaining the ownership of a dangerous structure, give any person who is an occupier or directly or indirectly receives rent in respect of it, a notice in writing requiring him to state their interests and the name and address of any person known to them as having an interest, whether as owner, a mortgagee, lessee or otherwise.
Failure to give required information is offence. A person appointed by the Department of Environment and Local Government or the authority as an authorised officer may enter and inspect land for the purpose of obtaining information. Obstruction or interference with an authorised officer is an offence.
A person aggrieved by a notice by a local authority may appeal to the District Court within 21 days for an order for annulment of the notice. The decision of the District Court is final.
Local authorities have powers to acquire by agreement or compulsorily, land and premises, which is or was, a dangerous structure. Special shorter provisions apply to the acquisition. They may vest the property in themselves by a vesting order. Where immediately before the vesting order, a person is entitled to the property, he may apply for compensation.
In determining the amount of compensation payable by the authority, regard is to be had to the expenditure incurred by the authority in relation to the land. Where after making the vesting order, any sums remain due to the authority by reason of the exercise of above powers, it is to be deducted from the compensation and may reduce it to zero.
The authority may acquire land by agreement or by compulsory acquisition. It must give notice of its intention to acquire land within which a dangerous place is situate. The owner or occupier may object within one month. Where an objection is not withdrawn, the matter is submitted to An Bord Pleanala for confirmation.
Whenever a local authority exercises its powers under the legislation, and acquires land, it must take steps as may be a necessary and with all convenient speed to prevent injury to health or to amenities of the neighbourhood. It may clear drain, level fence and otherwise improve and develop the land. It must carry out works to alleviate the risk or danger.
Where works are required on a dangerous structure, the owner may not do works which interfere with an easement of support for an adjoining property. The local authority or owners are obliged in carrying out demolition works to provide support to adjoining premises where an easement of support exists.
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Minimum criteria for energy audits are set out. A national registration scheme for registration of energy auditors is provided for.
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