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Conveyancing What role can it play in identifying and remediating homes above 200 Bq/m Conveyancing What role can it play in identifying and remediating homes above 200 Bq/m 3? Stephanie Long Senior Scientist, Radon Advice

Why conveyancing? • Approximately 1. 9 million households in Ireland (80% privately owned) • Why conveyancing? • Approximately 1. 9 million households in Ireland (80% privately owned) • National Radon Survey estimated 91, 000 homes exceed 200 Bq/m 3 • 5, 000 of these identified (of 36, 000 measured) • Current measurement rate about 4, 000 annually

Why conveyancing? • At this rate, it would take 400 years to measure the Why conveyancing? • At this rate, it would take 400 years to measure the full housing stock • Clearly, it is important to greatly increase the rate at which homes are measured • Including radon in conveyancing is one way to increase the measurement rate • 2008 figures for home purchases indicate that, on average, all the existing housing stock would be bought and sold over the next 40 years

International recommendations • WHO 2009 “A requirement for radon measurements at the time of International recommendations • WHO 2009 “A requirement for radon measurements at the time of sale of homes can be beneficial…in ensuring that dwellings exceeding the reference level are identified and remediated” • WHO 2007 survey of radon programmes internationally identified a number of other countries that include radon in conveyancing: Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, US • RPII follow-up up this survey (2008) to gather further information from these countries

England Wales • Property purchase requires an enquiry form (Law Society CON 29) to England Wales • Property purchase requires an enquiry form (Law Society CON 29) to be sent to local authority for completion - checks whethere are charges enforcable by the local authority • Includes the compulsory question (2002): – Is the property in a radon affected area? • If “yes” further questions are asked: – If the property is in a radon effected area, has it been tested for radon? – If so, did the radon level exceed the action level? – If so, have remedial measures been installed? – If they have, has the house been re-tested and shown to be below the Action Level?

England Wales • Where no measurements have been carried out and the buyer is England Wales • Where no measurements have been carried out and the buyer is concerned that there is a risk from radon a “radon bond” may be agreed • A clause in the purchase contract allowing the buyer to retain a small part of the purchase price • Used to pay for remedial work if necessary following purchase

England Wales • HPA consider inclusion of these questions on the CON 29 form England Wales • HPA consider inclusion of these questions on the CON 29 form as a key success in raising awareness of radon among home buyers • HPA recently estimated that most individual householders measuring in the UK are driven by home purchases • No data re use of “radon bond” but HPA aware it is used regularly

Sweden • Swedish implementation of Directive 2002/91/EC on energy performance of buildings (BER) • Sweden • Swedish implementation of Directive 2002/91/EC on energy performance of buildings (BER) • Requires a report re a buildings energy use and indoor environment when buildings are constructed, sold or rented • This report includes whether a radon measurement has been carried out and, if so, what the levels are (non-mandatory)

Switzerland • Legally binding requirement • Enforced by “Radon Agencies” within Office of Works Switzerland • Legally binding requirement • Enforced by “Radon Agencies” within Office of Works (responsibility for implementation of building regulations) • Measurement and remediation costs borne by owner

Internationally • Wide range of different approaches to radon and conveyancing • Generally: – Internationally • Wide range of different approaches to radon and conveyancing • Generally: – Not a mandatory requirement, but a strong recommendation – Onus on buyer to include radon in process – Onus on seller to fund measurement and remediation

Advantages to introduction in Ireland • Cost neutral to Government • Cost to homeowers Advantages to introduction in Ireland • Cost neutral to Government • Cost to homeowers relatively small in context of conveyancing • Increased measurements • Raised awareness

Dis-advantages to introduction in Ireland • 3 month measurement requirement (identified internationally as a Dis-advantages to introduction in Ireland • 3 month measurement requirement (identified internationally as a problem) • Non-mandatory requirement

Three month measurement requirement • 3 month measurement required due to significant fluctuation in Three month measurement requirement • 3 month measurement required due to significant fluctuation in radon concentration • Due to changes in temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind direction and speed, behaviour of occupants • Three-month measurement needed to “average” out the impact of these variables • Recent research carried out to determine possability of a shorter “screening” measurement of 1 month

Short-term measurement project • Measurement data for over 500 homes collected • Measurements carried Short-term measurement project • Measurement data for over 500 homes collected • Measurements carried out for 1 month and 3 months • Statistical analysis of results show that 1 month measurement “screening” is feasible • RPII will publish protocol regarding this in 2010

Options for Ireland Legal advice has identified two options: 1. Amendment to Law Society Options for Ireland Legal advice has identified two options: 1. Amendment to Law Society of Ireland’s standard contract (for second-hand homes, similar contract for new homes) 2. Amendment to Law Society of Ireland’s “Objections and Requisitions on Title” RPII currently seeking a meeting with the Law Society’s Conveyancing Committee