So – what IS wrong with the CIF and their new Register of Builders (CIRI)?  Up, until Saturday, March 1st, 2014 the CIF were just a company that I would hear of now and again in the media – slightly annoying reports of them wanting to reduce the pay of electrians and the like…they were not on my ‘radar’ at all – that has now changed.  Since that dreadful day when the Building control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 came into force here in Ireland – I think I can now speak for all the self builders in Ireland when I say – ‘everything is wrong with the CIF and CIRI in our point of view!’

With the BC(A)R 2014 the Government have now effectively taken the tools out of our hands and replaced them with pens for us to sign ourselves over for many years to a massive mortgage – to enslave ourselves to builders & banks (celtic tiger de ja vu!).  These new laws state that it is now illegal to self build in Ireland – the construction of our new house must go through a main building contractor and an Assigned Certifier must also be employed.  The cost of which sends our budget spiralling out of control with the result of our plans vanishing into oblivion. It is so sickening to think that our planned dream home will now never exist – and unfortunately we are one of thousands who will have this sickening thought.

The laws state that a ‘competent’ builder must be employed – this ‘competent’ builder seems to be most welcome in the eyes of the Assigned Certifier also.  I personally think it actually has nothing to do with the fact that the builder may or may not in fact be ‘competent’ – as there is no ‘school for builders’ – just the fact that the builder will have suitable insurance in place to shoulder the burden of accountability in the future when Mr & Mrs Lawcase come looking for the Assigned certifier! I do not for one second blame the Assigned Certifiers for thinking this way as the BC(A)R 2014 are set up to wipe out self builders from the construction sector and the ‘authors’ of the BC(A)R 2014 knew very well what they were doing and every single word was carefully thought out.

There was a real opportunity for the Irish Government to introduce a fair, independent building inspectorate which is in place in most other countries – an Inspectorate which would include all of us – an Inspectorate that would be cost neutral to the State. This Inspectorate is in the link below:


A Register of Qualified Tradesmen is what is needed – contractors who are all tax compliant, have insurance etc.. Men that can actually prove they are more than just ‘competent’ they are in fact qualified – maybe a licence system for builders also should be introduced (this system would generate revenue, would weed out the ‘cowboys’ etc..) – also, a VAT return scheme on materials used for the self builder.  This would wipe out the black economy that our government are so worried about – what they fail to see is that the BC(A)R 2014 will not only wipe out the black economy it will also wipe out the whole economy (or part of!)

The CIF are touring Ireland and giving media Interviews explaining CIRI – they  ‘claim’ there never was a Register of Builders in Ireland – this is absolute baloney as we have always had the National Guild of Master Craftsmen – they really have a brass neck giving such mis-information to the Nation. In my opinion I think it is immoral of the CIF to blame the likes of Priory Hall on the fact that they say there never was a register of builders – shouldn’t every building contractor who enters into a deal to build a house for a client do his utmost best to ensure the client receives the best work possible for their money? How outrageous of the CIF to claim that the reason there was shoddy workmanship in the past was because there was no register – how nonsensical –  how gullible do these men think we are??

As the CIF’s Register of Builders is now enshrined within our laws I think it is only right that we check out this company that is so highly regarded by our law makers – they must be something really special when they hold dominant position in our Construction Sector – when they were worth wiping out the self build sector – a sector by the way that is a viable contributor to our economy – a sector that gives employment to local tradesmen, stores etc…- so for the government to erase the self build sector forever the CIF must be some boyos!

After extensive research on google I came across some interesting quotes from the CIF over the past few years – some I had heard before – others were a real revelation! All of these quotes are from the CIF Chief –  and for those who don’t know already – he is an ex government Minister also!:

  • “Our message is now is the time to buy – there is real value out there!” – May ’08 Irish Examiner
  • “The IMF don’t know what they’re talking about!” – Oct. ’08 The Last Word – in response to the presenter saying that the IMF reported that Irish House Prices were most overvalued.
  • “Now we see value” and “we still need 40,000 houses built!” – Oct. ’08 Newstalk
  • The CIF Chief claimed he’d never seen a ghost estate! – Nov. ’08 The Last Word
  • “WE [IN THE CIF] SAW THE CRASH COMING!!” – Jan. ’09 Morning Ireland
  • “I’m in and out of the Dail every other day…every chance I get..” – Oct. ’10 Irish Independent
  •  “House prices need to rise to make it viable for builders to make a profit” – Jan. ’14 Newstalk
  • We have been getting good vibes from this Government…I have access to the Toaiseach’s office…I would find this Government very accessible..” – Jan. ’10 Irish Independent

Wow! You couldn’t make this stuff up – even if you tried! The CIF should have shut it’s doors years ago – if they saw the crash coming – why on earth were they advising young families only weeks earlier to buy, buy, buy, buy – knowingly encouraging them to buy homes way overpriced and now they live in negative equity!!  And I really don’t know who the Chief is trying to impress telling the world that he has access into the Taoiseach’s office?  He certainly does not impress the self builder – especially in light of where we are now – we find it rather obnoxious and hurtful.

Where are we now?  The CIF are the guys who are deemed more ‘competent’ than us!! – these are the guys who have now been crowned as the ‘Kings of construction’ – these are the guys that self builders and the whole nation must ‘curtsey’ to – we are all now their loyal subjects – these are the guys that are part of the ‘elite’ – these are the guys that all the sub-contractors must ‘keep sweet’ to gain employment – after reading all of the quotes above, in my opinion these guys are about as ‘competent’ as a bunch of clowns and I wouldn’t trust anyone off their register to build a doll’s house!!

To the outsider looking in on the S.I. 9 talks that took place over the past two years – talks that involved key stakeholders – all of these stakeholders had a vested interest in the outcome – one would wonder what on earth a private company, the CIF, were doing at the table? There were no consumer groups, Trade Unions, Self Builders – no one that these laws would actually affect were invited to these talks – but then again none of these groups have an ex-government minister as their chief.! – he was always going to infiltrate these talks.

For the rest of us now left behind, erased from our laws, outcasts in construction – the ‘lepers’ of building control – we want to shout out to our leaders in Leinster House: the words of that temperamental Tennis Champion – John McEnroe – “You CANNOT be serious???”