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Letter to Minister Alan Kelly from Iaosb on 15th of September 2014

Dear Minister Kelly,

I am writing to you regarding Building Control (Amendment) Regulations: S.I.9 of 2014 which came to effect on 1st of March 2014.

This new regulation was the answer by then Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D., to ensure properties are safe and compliant with Building Regulations. According to Mr. Hogan, this Amendment would stop situations like Priory Hall and Pyrite problems and give extra protection to home owners against bad workmanship by Building Contractors. The idea sounded great but like all his other policies it has done nothing but make life more difficult for the people of  Ireland.

Self-building has been a major sector of all the house’s built in our country in the past decade and I am sorry to tell you that since the commencement of Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I.9 it has denied many of us the centuries old Irish tradition of building a house for ourselves and our families.

Under the rules of S.I 9, self-builders will have to employ a certified professional (Architect, Engineer, Building Surveyor) to design the house for them and then an Assigned Certifier to sign off each section of the build to confirm that it has been built according to the Regulations. Perfect, a supervised build under the eyes of the professionals. However, like other thousands of self builders in Ireland we would be grateful if you could let us know the contact details and locations of these Certifiers as they are almost non-existent. From the feedback that we have been receiving, as soon as your so called Design and Assigned Certifiers hear the word “Self-Build” the conversation ends as none of them are prepared to endanger their business by signing off the certifications needed for the build in case something goes wrong. Before the commencement day of S.I.9, the RIAI President, representing the Architects of Ireland, protested to Minister Hogan and raised concern about the possible consequences this amendment might bring but this was ignored by the Minister.

According to Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, Building Control (Amendment) Regulation: S.I.9 of 2014 was needed to give protection to self-builders should something go wrong. However, by not having any professional committed to the build, all that S.I.9 has done is to make it a lot more difficult for them to build and make the dream of owning their own house a thing of the past. What S.I.9 has done is like giving a man a brand new car with all the extra safety features designed for the protection of the family but then ruining it by putting a clamp on all four wheels. There is no point having this car if it does not go anywhere.

Self-builders of Ireland have been let down by your department and this government. Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I 9 of 2014 is a joke and not even a funny one. It needs to be revoked or revised otherwise the option of Self-Building will be gone for many families in Ireland.

Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I.9 of 2014 has failed and you need to take action now.

I would be grateful to you if you do not reply with false promises and politically correct answers like the ones we have had in the past two years from Mr Hogan.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Kind regards,

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of Self Builder