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Letter from Iaosb to Mr Martin Vaughan, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government

Dear Mr Vaughan,

Building Control (Amendment) S.I 9 & S.I 105 of 2014

Following your email on 26th of February 2014, we actually thought that you would make an effort and get back to us before the commencement date of 1st of March 2014. But then again, we have to expect these kind of lack of communication and delays from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

According to your email, the issues that we brought up in our previous correspondence can all be explained. Well Mr Vaughan, we have waited for the past 12 days to hear from you and your department about how you can justify the legality of asking self builders to break the law by signing a certificate as a principal or director of a building company when you clearly know that this would be illegal.

Also in your email, you attached a copy of notice that was sent to all the Local Authorities explaining to them the situation of self builders as far as Building Control (Amendment) Regulation S.I. 9 of 2014.

I personally decided to test this and visited my Local Authority and I would like to tell you what happened and maybe you can explain this to me as well in your reply.

I walked in through the doors as a self builder without any knowledge of how this Amendment could effect me and firstly came across the lady at the reception who knew about the Amendment but could not answer most of my questions as they were not informed. She finally gave up and asked the County Engineer to help me with this issue.

The following are my questions and his answers:

Can I Self Build? Yes

Can I use Direct Labour for my build? Only if they are competent and experienced

So, who decides if they are competent? You do

What else do I have to do? You have to choose a person to design and inspect the house for you and give you a certificate of commencement and completion.

Who else has to sign this? You as the building owner and the builder.

But I am the builder, so who signs the certificate? You do but if you are using the Direct Labour, they also have to sign the form.

But what is the procedure on that? On the commencement notice you have to name your labourers and we will be sending them an email telling them that you have chosen them as the contractors and they need to have all the necessary insurance and documentation.

Where do they sign? on the certificate of commencement and completion.

I have seen these certificates on line and in the place where the builder has to sign, it says (To be signed by Principal or Director of a Building Company Only) so where do I sign? Where it says to be signed.

But you are telling me to sign as someone who clearly I am not? Yes but it does not matter as we would not be questioning it.

Do you agree with me that by signing as the Principal or Director of a Company I would be breaking the law? Yes but that would be OK.

If I give you a legal document and ask you to sign as a Fireman even though you are clearly an Engineer, would you break the law and sign it? No way

So how do you expect me to sign it? We do understand that there is a big issue regarding this sentence and we accept that by signing this you will be breaking the law but it is ok.
What, to break the law? In a way yes as we would not follow on with it.

Can you please give me some paperwork with this information on it? No, everything is online. We have not been given anything to hand out. This is also knew to us and we have not got a lot of information on it.

So if someone who does not understand how to use a computer wants to know about this, what can they do? They have to ask for help from someone else.

If I write all that you mentioned above on a piece of paper, will you sign and stamp it for me? Ehhhh, yes

Mr Vaughan, your Local Authorities are not as ready as you claim them to be which again makes me think that you, the Minister and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government should have listened to all the professionals who recommended a deferral.

I have also found out that there is a new Amendment out today to the Building Control which is S.I.105. You must understand our disappointment to find out that even though you do understand there is a major issue for the self builders in the amendment S.I.9, you still have not made any effort to clarify, explain and correct the situation for us.

Hopefully we will hear from you soon with the clarification and explanation of all the points raised.

Kind regards,

Shane McCloud

Irish Association of Self Builders

Notice to Local Authorities from DECLG