The forthcoming proposed amendment (S.I-80) coming to effect on 1st of March 2014 will have big repercussions for residential self-builders.
Under the rules of S.I 80 self builders will have to employ a certified professional (Architect, Engineer, Building Surveyor) to design the house for them.
As a self builder, you can nominate yourself to be the builder until 1st of March 2015 when the compulsory registration of the contractors comes into effect. What this means is that should this amendment proceed as it is, as a self builder you have until 1st of March 2015 to participate in the construction of your build if you wish to do so. After this date to operate in the role of contractor you will need to be on the register and fulfil the criteria: membership of the Construction Industry Federation, have at least 3 years relevant contracting experience, have appropriate insurances in place etc (criteria for register are being formulated at the moment). These requirements will essentially preclude non-contractor self-builders from operating the role as contractor for their own projects.
While we welcome the idea of tougher rules to police and control the construction industry, we find this amendment taking away the rights of the nation of Ireland to be involved in building their own home.
Self building has been a major sector of all the house’s built in Ireland in the past decade and in most cases the quality and the workmanship used in these projects have exceeded the constructions done by major developers.
We have seen the latest technologies being used by self builders long before they have been available on big developments. These self builders have been involved in their projects from the beginning and in most cases they have been able to afford the best technologies by reducing the overall cost of the build. This has been achieved by them physically taking part in the build.
We are not trying to imply that everyone should get rid of their contractors and build the houses themselves but a lesson can be learned from UK where the work is inspected and certified by the local authorities. Many of the self builders in Ireland have been and are well capable of doing certain things through personal experiences and as long as they have complied with the Building regulations and Health & Safety, this right should not be taken away from them.
If the Amendment S.I 80 goes ahead without any revisions, it will deny you the centuries old Irish tradition of building a house for yourself and your family and will restrict you on the choice of method of construction. You will no longer be able to approach subcontractors or manage the project yourself.
We have always advised self builders to add at least 20% extra to the cost of the construction for unseen extras that will come up during the build but should this amendment go ahead as it is, by 1st of March 2015 you will need to be prepared for much higher costs which includes the higher amount payable to your professional design certifier for the extra work that needs to be done and the extra cost your Building contractor will charge you for the additional amounts that will be imposed on them.
There has already been a large amount of objections to this amendment by different groups of professionals involved in the construction industry and you need to make sure that your voice is heard by standing for your rights.
Please approach your local representatives and raise your objection to this amendment. Make them understand the effect this would have on you and your project. Request that as a representative of the people, your opinion and objection should be put forward to the government and ask for this amendment to be reviewed.
If you need any further information, please write to us or to a great forum dedicated to this subject: BREGSFORUM