Statement of Strategy Strategic and Business Support Unit Department of Environment, Community and Local Government Newtown Road Wexford
Please note that in the interests of transparency, all written submissions received will be publicly posted on the website of the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government after Monday, 3 November 2014
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.
Under the new regulations as a self builder, you need to have a Design Certifier to design the house for you which is not a problem as it is always advisable to get professionals involved for this part of the build. However, you also need to have an Assign Certifier to sign off each section.. This is where the problem starts as there are currently only a few professionals who are prepared to sign off a build done by a self builder. It is a general attitude by Architects, Engineers and Building Surveyors that a project done by a self builder would be a huge risk on their practice should something go wrong.
Following legal advice, we were also told that as a self builder you will not be able to legally nominate yourself to be the builder . What this means is that you will not be able to participate in the construction of your build if you wish to do so unless you can find a Certifier that is prepared to sign off each section off for you. Without a certifier, for you to operate in the role of contractor you will be deemed to be not in compliance with the building regulations as you do not fulfil the Department's criteria of a "competent person": which requires you to have at least 3 years relevant contracting experience and also be the principal of a building firm. Legally, a self builder can not sign the certificates as the builder while the wording’s “(to be signed by a Principal or Director of a building company only)” remain on the documentations. DECLG’s recommendation would be to break the law and declare yourself as someone you are not.
It is a known fact that due to inadequate resources the likely hood of getting a local authority inspection are remote. However should you decide to sell on your property, if the necessary compliance documentation is not in place in the local authority you may not be legally able to sell. These requirements will essentially preclude non-contractor self-builders from operating the role as contractor for their own projects.
According to a recent survey done by Iaosb, we found out that 1/3 of all self-builds this year have either been postponed or abandoned due to the huge costs and unintended consequences of S.I.9. This results in between 800 to 1,000 homes not being built.
Self-building has been a major sector of all the house’s built in Ireland 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.
S.I.9 has caused nothing but problems for self builders and professionals.
Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I.9 of 2014 has failed and needs to be revoked.