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The following letter was sent yesterday, May 5th to Respond Housing Association – the effect of the S.I.9 will be felt not only in the live of self builders but also in the lives of every person in need of social housing, as the S.I. 9 will increase Housing waiting lists all over the country – this is a terrible outcome to Building Control Regulations – I hope and pray that this was not an ‘intended’ outcome…I hope and pray also that the erasing of self building from Ireland was not an ‘intended’ outcome of the S.I. 9…


 

Dear Respond Housing Association,

I write to you regarding the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – (SI 9) and the effect they have on people trying to provide a home for their family in Ireland. My name is Amanda Gallagher from County Sligo. Myself and my husband were planning a ‘self build’ this summer. We have 5 young children and we were going to hand the keys of our current council house back to the State when our build was complete. Our story was featured on RTE Radio & TV Shows and also the Six One News on Friday, Feb. 28th last – we hoped our pleas for a deferral of these new Building Control laws to the Minister would be listened to – how naïve of us!

These new laws state that all construction must go through a main building contractor, and from next March on, that Building Contractor must be taken from the CIFs new Register of builders (CIRI). We are so shocked as how on earth a private company – the CIF – has managed to influence our politicians so much as to be now enshrined on our laws and have convinced the Government to take control of the self build sector.

This legislation could only have been thought up by the CIF as it is so irrational! – I say irrational because when you think about it a Building Contractor and a self builder do the exact same thing – we both study the plans of the house, purchase materials, employ tradesmen and listen to architects – there is one difference however, the Building Contractor gains a hefty profit and puts a lot less love into the build!

The talks about this legislation were very secretive – the Minister, his Department and the key stakeholders were involved only – these were the CIF, RIAI, ACEI & SCSI – not one representative from the self build sector, trade union, consumer agency and I dare say Respond were invited? It is all the more outrageous when one discovers that now every key stakeholder is gaining financially from this legislation – the CIF have domination in construction, the RIAI, SCSI & ACEI are the only professionals entitled to act as Assigned Certifiers – shocking!

Here is the link to a letter I sent to Minister Hogan recently, I ask you to please read it as it gives you a better idea of this whole thing:
https://bregsforum.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/letter-to-minister-hogan-cif-bcar-si-9/

One can clearly see that the CIF went into these talks and did nothing but promote the interests of their own members – developers & builders and not one ‘key stakeholder’ thought of the ordinary men and women of Ireland – the very people that laws are supposed to protect. These new laws hold no new safety measure for consumers either. The whole thing is a sham as it is being portrayed as some sort of justice for the victims of Priory Hall and the like – it is nothing of the sort – there can and will be many, many more ‘Prior Halls’ under this legislation as the scandal of self-regulation of the Construction sector remains – this legislation is an injustice to every man, woman and child in this Nation with the exemption of Builders and Developers.

I seek the help of Respond as we are just one of 1,800 families this year alone who have abandoned our plans due to this terrible, unjust law. We will all need housing as we had tiny budgets and now we will never have a chance to own our own homes. Not one of us can afford builders rates. Some will sign on to Local Authority Housing Lists others will seek the help of Respond and other Housing Associations – I do not know how long your lists are but this legislation will increase them immensely.

As for us, we will be housed by the State for the rest of our lives – this is terrible as we had gone through the whole planning process, spent €3,000 already on the plans & site tests – my husband had even built a little model house and the children knew their rooms – this law has erased our whole future. We didn’t want or need to be housed by the state for the rest of our lives – we didn’t need anyone to hold our hands forever – we wanted to leave something beautiful to our children one day – to give them a ‘home sweet home’ to come back to wherever their lives may lead them.

I know that the role of Respond is ‘not just to build houses, but to build communities’ – well we too, had a role as parents we were ‘ not just going to build a house – we were going to build a HOME’. Actually, this legislation, is going to have a detrimental effect on the rural communities, as the majority, if not all, farmers always self build their homes on the land. This is a very sad time for many in Ireland, and for many more who don’t even realise yet what has happened. As a matter of fact, rural Ireland will slowly diminish as a result of this legislation and will sadly, one day die off altogether.

I received a letter the other day from the Department of the Environment, I must tell you that their answers to my queries were so persuading that for one minute I was convinced of what they told me. It did not take long however for myself and my husband to come back to reality – and that reality is that to build a home in Ireland you must be a Principal or Director of a building company only. We are not alone in this battle by the way – there are many people who feel the injustice if this law from farmers, councillors, senators, lawyers, architects, surveyors, engineers, architectural technologists, draughtsmen…many, many good people.

I am placing my hope and the hope of all the self builders in Ireland in Respond – you may be able to help us in some little way to make our government to see sense. A sensible solution to Building Control has been put to the Minister for his consideration, a solution that has been drawn up by two past presidents of the RIAI, a solution that will be cost neutral to the State and would resolve every issue that is contained within the S.I. 9 – we all cannot fathom why Minister Hogan will not even consider it.

If you would like to check put this law for yourselves please google: Irish Association of Self Builders (IAOSB),

Regards to you,

Amanda Gallagher

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