My latest letter to Minister Phil Hogan on April 6th, 2014 (stall awaiting a reply!)
Re: SI 9 issues yet to be resolved by you
I write to you regarding the SI 9 and I refer to my last three letters to you, and most especially the last one – Ref: REP1164/PH/14 and so far have had no answers to most pressing questions. I would appreciate some attempt at answering them in the coming week as they are critical to all the Citizens of this Nation.
The Nation is waiting to see when you are going to amend the Documents within the SI 9 to include the words: ‘Building Owner’ or ‘Self Builder’. It really is most entertaining to read your latest statements on the issue and if it weren’t so serious we could all fall about laughing at the wording.
Fine Gael Councillors up and down the country relay your ‘rebuttals’ word for word to the electorate. Those poor men and women you send to the Nation’s doorsteps, in the direct firing line, with absolutely no defence but empty words designed to make us all fall asleep.
By the way, in your latest ‘rebuttal’ I note that you claim the CIRI number on the Certificates is ‘not mandatory’ – how astonishing that something you claim is ‘not mandatory’ is cited on a Statutory Instrument and yet something that is absolutely CRITICAL to the entire nation is nowhere to be seen – ie. the wording ‘self build / direct labour’. You must rectify this ‘mistake’ immediately. We know this can be done as within a week after the SI 9 were implemented you issued an amendment to them – SI 105 – we want no more excuses – you cannot discriminate against the ordinary man and woman while at the same time show favoritism to your own there in our Government.
On a more worrying note, below is an extract from a statement on the SI 9 written by the Conveyancing Committee of the Law Society to its members – obviously the Law Society don’t ‘believe’ your statements on self building either:
In the meantime, however, a self-build owner will… have to find an architect, engineer or surveyor that is willing to undertake the task of acting as an Assigned Certifier – in most cases for a person with no experience acting as a “builder”. Doing so will clearly increase the risk for the architect, engineer or surveyor and such professionals would be best advised not to undertake such a role in this sort of situation.
This is most serious as this renders self building impossible. As it is you and your officials who are telling the Nation that self build can continue, I think an immediate meeting of the three professional bodies and yourself, should be arranged as a matter of paramount importance. You need to warn them that their members can be struck off their Registers if they don’t work alongside self builders as they are not ‘playing ball’ with the Regulations. You should also contact the Law Society immediately as they are misinforming these professions.
If however, the Law Society and everyone else in Ireland are right and you really have banned self building / direct labour – the preferred method of building a family home in Ireland for centuries – well then I don’t know how you can sleep at night as you have destroyed a most beautiful tradition. Everyone says what you have done is Draconian – I beg to differ – the SI 9 don’t belong in the dark ages – they don’t belong to any historical era – even Draco himself allowed men build a shelter for their families!
I must tell you, my friends in South Africa are abhorred at the building control fiasco in ‘Ireland’ as are my friends in the States and the U.K. – the word is getting out there – the world is watching you Sir, to see when you will call back this ‘SI 9 Monster’ you have unleashed on your poor citizens.
As for your counterparts in Europe – when the news filters through that you are being so irrational – you will be frowned upon – Germany, Denmark, Austria, Sweden, the UK – all these countries know the importance of self building – they have systems which support, encourage and reward self builders – they see the dignity it gives to a family to realise their dream.
I sometimes compare the ‘self build’ construction of a home to that of the birth of a child. The idea is ‘conceived’ and seemingly out of nothing a ‘being’ starts to evolve. It takes months of ups and downs – tears and laughter – but at the end, after the ‘labour’, after the blood, sweat & tears, a beautiful, unique ‘being’ is present on the earth. Every single one different from the ones that have gone before and unique in it’s own right. Never to be reproduced again – with it’s own individual ‘fingerprint’. And, just like the whole process from conception to birth in a human, we rely on the professionals to get us through it and to guide us – we too, when self building need the professionals to guide us through the whole process.
We all have the right to be ‘parents’ of our family homes – we are well able to take on the role of ‘parent’ – it is our natural instinct to want to have a ‘child’ and we will be most loving and tender with this ‘child’ – we don’t want you to force us by law to use a ‘surrogate’ parent (Building Contractor) – a ‘surrogate’ who only goes through the ‘birth’ for money – a ‘surrogate’ who will not nurture or love the ‘child’ in the way we can – in fact a ‘surrogate’ who will be most brutish with the ‘child’.
For you to force the citizens of this country pay thousands upon thousands for a building contractor when they are perfectly capable – and competent – to do it for themselves is an outrage – It is against the rights of the citizens and is a National scandal.
For your information, I will now list the five functions of Government – it seems you have forgotten them of late, you may also pass on this to An Taoiseach, Minister Jan O’Sullivan, and it would do no harm to forward the points to your officials in the Department. It seems you have forgotten who elected you to make their lives better – not worse – and I think you must all consult your consciences and come together to fix this mess – perhaps a refresher course in the ‘Basics of Governing’ would be most helpful also.
Five Functions of Government:
•to establish justice
•to form a union
•to ensure domestic tranquility
•to promote welfare
•to provide defence
I regret to inform you that the implementation of the SI 9 has just sliced through the first four functions like a ‘chainsaw slicing a fruitcake’. The S I 9 are unjust (self build banned, mass unemployment ie. Tradesmen, ATs, Draughtsmen), they create divisions (Architectural Technoligists vs RIAI Architects, building contractors vs self builders, rich vs poor), they ensure domestic distress (families laden down with massive mortgages and an overall sense of despair among the Nation) and the only welfare they promote is the well being and financial security of building contractors and the CIF.
I send you on again the link to a perfect solution, which will cost the State nothing and will resolve every issue within the SI 9 – there is absolutely no reason why it cannot be implemented:
Regards to you at this most difficult time in Building Control and I am looking forward to your response to these most pressing and critical issues.