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I am a dedicated follower of the Channel 4 TV series Grand Designs including Grand Designs Revisited and Grand Designs Australia – these are great shows following intrepid self builders and their ups & downs – their blood, sweat and tears during the build and the race to get the build finished or sometimes not!  Building The Dream and The House that 100K Built are also very interesting TV shows – all  following ordinary men and women going to extraordinary lengths to construct their dream home.

I always wondered why Irish Television Production teams never picked up on the self build project idea for a series – I know we have shows like About the House and Room to Improve but these do not revolve around the area of Self building.  Up until, Saturday, March 1st, 2014, Ireland was one of the top countries in the world for self building – 60% of one-off houses in the country were self built – with figures now emerging from counties such as Mayo where 90 % of one-off homes were self builds.

How appalling that since the implementation of the restrictive BC(A)R 2014 laws – we now are the only country in the world to ban self building – we were once the unsung heroes of self building and now we are the outcasts – it is so sad.  One does not need to be a rocket scientist to work out why all construction of one-off houses now must go through a main building contractor – although the powers that be claim these laws are necessary for consumer safety, the figures clearly show that it is a lucrative business – nor does one need to be a rocket scientist to realise that most of the one off houses in the future will simply not exist as most self builders build for themselves out of financial necessity, although, there are some of us who do so out of sheer enjoyment (myself & Raymond fall into the latter category!)

So, where does the self builder stand at this present time in Ireland? The self builder is an outcast in Ireland today, the self builder has been erased from the construction sector, the self builder has been forgotten, the self builder is now a slave to the Banks & Builders – and as vile as this statement is for the ordinary, honest, moral, hard working person to hear – I would not be too down about it if I were you because in the words of that great orator and escaped American slave, Frederick Douglass “If there is no struggle, there is no progress” – this courageous man fought for freedom from slavery – I urge you, too, to fight this irrational law as we and the Irish Association of Self Builders are fighting – make your voices heard, sign our Petition and explain these laws to everyone who will listen!

You know, it did not take the BC(A) R 2014 to make me realise that self builders were overlooked already in Ireland, I had always thought this – in fact, in a strange ‘Amanda’ way I see a great opportunity hidden within these awful regulations – I see this struggle to restore self building once more in Ireland as an opportunity for real progress in the self build sector.

I am a ‘glass is half full’ kind of girl and I firmly believe through sheer determination that we will restore self building once more in Ireland – in fact I am adamant that self builders will be recognised as a viable contributor to the economy and therefore we will be rewarded and incentivised and we may even get a TV series dedicated to following the Irish self builder and it may even be called: Aah! Sure ‘Tis Grand….Designs!

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