On Wednesday last, myself, my husband, Raymond and Vivian Cummins, a RIAI Architect, had the great pleasure of representing the IAOSB and all the self builders of Ireland at a Review of the S.I.9, in the Department of the Environment, Community & Local Government. Also present were Minister Paudie Coffey, his Senior Officials, the original Key Stakeholders ( RIAI, ACEI, SCSI & CIF) and others.
The Minister wanted to get a grasp on how the SI9 was working in practice and as contributions flowed from the floor, mainly from the original key stakeholders, if one did not know better, one would get the impression that S.I.9 was the best thing that could have happened in the construction sector since the invention of concrete!! But, we, who sat and listened, we, who are affected in a monumental way, know better. Obviously, there was strong opposition from many that S.I.9 should not be amended in any way.
Finally, Vivian stood up and spoke on behalf of the IAOSB, he was most passionate in his pointing out the flaws that are contained in SI9, and he struck a chord with everyone when he stated that 'there is just something in us that wants to create a home...' or words to that effect! I spoke next and I just outlined once more, but this time in person, the very real difficulties that is faced when one attempts to commence a self build. Yes, the quotes for the role of Assigned Certifier are high, but it is this along with the stipulation that a main building contractor be employed that throws projects out of reach for many.
The Minister was most passionate in his defence of self builders and the astronomical assigned certifier quotes that we are receiving, he replied to the assertion from one of the Key Stakeholders that such quotes were a 'ball of smoke' - and he stated that they were certainly not a ball of smoke as he has had concrete proof of figures ranging from ¤5,000 to ¤15,000 just to inspect the build of a one off home. Minister Coffey went on to state that he had himself self built two homes in the past and was an electrician in his pre-political days - so we finally have a Minister who has an understanding and appreciation of what self building is - of what a noble thing it is for one to construct a family home. We have a Minister who has grasped that self builders are in fact the same as building contractors - save for one difference - a self builder builds for love not for profit!
So, now, we are at a crucial point in the whole drama that has been the S.I.9 - for the first time I can actually see light at the end of the very dark tunnel that we all have been in - I think the Minister & the DECLG would appreciate some practical, workable solutions on how we can regulate the one off home in a way that does not punish the self builder in the way that SI9 does. They invite submissions before May 15th to firstname.lastname@example.org and I encourage anyone who has ideas on this to do so.
All in all, a most positive meeting took place, and I was delighted that I was given the opportunity to talk on behalf of the IAOSB and on behalf of all who wish to self build a home for their family now or in the future!