I am writing to ask for your help with the forthcoming proposed amendment (S.I-9) coming to effect on 1st of March 2014 which will have big repercussions for residential self-builders.
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 for a building contractors to take over the build from start to finish.
While we welcome the idea of tougher rules to police and control the construction industry, we find this amendment taking away some of 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 and doing as much as they can.
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 9 goes ahead without any revisions, it will deny people of Ireland the centuries old Irish tradition of building a house for themselves and their family and will restrict them on the choice of method of construction. Self builders will no longer be able to be involved or manage the project themselves.
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, they will need to be prepared for much higher costs which includes the higher amount payable to the professional design certifier for the extra work that needs to be done and the extra costs the Building contractor’s will charge them for the additional amounts that will be imposed on them. This extra cost will effect at least 40% of self builders in Ireland who are already struggling financially and could leave them out of the property market completely.
I would like to make an official objection on behalf of self builders Fundamental Rights under the Irish Constitution:
The right to fair procedures
The courts, and all other bodies or persons making decisions that affect you, must treat you fairly. There are two essential rules of fair procedure.
•The person making the decision that affects you should not be biased or appear to be biased. S.I. No. 9 of 2014 will effect most self builders and is biased towards Building Contractors and the Construction Industry Federation members.
•You must be given an adequate opportunity to present your case. You must be informed of the matter and you must be given a chance to comment on the material put forward by the other side. No opportunity has ever been given to individual self builders to present their case. This amendment has already decided that self builders will have no right to choose their route of construction or give them the opportunity to be part of building their own home.
There has already been a large amount of objections to this amendment by different groups of professionals and organisations involved in the construction industry and we are asking for your support as a representative of people of Ireland to stand up for their rights and do not let this bill be passed without further review.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you in advance for all your help and co-operation in this very important matter.