Myself & Raymond were featured in the Daily Mirror today, May 22nd…
Raymond and Amanda Gallagher with the model of their new dream home – which will now never exist due to restrictive building control laws.
A heartbroken mum-of-five’s plans for her dream home lie in ruins following a ban on people building their own homes.
Amanda Gallagher and her husband Raymond, both 38, ploughed thousands of their hard-earned cash into designing the perfect family home on Raymond’s dad’s farm in the beautiful Sligo countryside.
Working to a strict budget, stay-at-home mum Amanda and electrician Raymond planned to build their four-bed bungalow in rural Geevagh themselves.
They spent €3,000 on site tests and planning in the belief that, like 60% of one-off homes here, they would be able to self-build and stick to their €150,000 budget.
But they were devastated in December when their architect told them laws which came into force on March 1 mean only contractors can build homes and extensions.
These new regulations would see the cost of the Gallagher’s bungalow triple – because contractors charge roughly €125 for every square foot.
The couple claim they will now be stuck living in a council house as they cannot afford the higher costs.
Heartbroken Amanda told the Irish Mirror: “Devastated is an understatement, this was our dream home in the countryside that we spent our hard-earned cash designing and planning only to be told a few months before the foundations were due to go in that self-builds are actually now banned.
“We didn’t plan to build our own home on a whim.
“We were doing it out of necessity because we can’t afford builder’s rates and because Raymond is an electrician and good at carpentry and things, we knew we’d only need to pay bricklayers and that would have saved us tens of thousands.
“How can this be allowed? I mean these new building regulations were never even brought to our attention until December when we had already spent several thousand.
“We were basically just waiting on the foundations to go in this summer but now all that’s up in smoke and we’ll never have our new home unless this unjust law is repealed.”
Amanda, Raymond and their five kids – aged from eight months to 13 – are crammed into a three-bed council house in Ballisodare.
Amanda added: “Even paying a certifier to sign off on our plans would set us back up to €20,000 and that sort of money would have fitted out the entire interior of our home.
“I have written to Environment Minister Phil Hogan and to the Taoiseach and am currently being fed this line that self-builds aren’t banned but I have studied the law inside out and spoken to builders, architects, surveyors, engineers, lawyers and barristers who have all agreed that self-building is now illegal here.”
A Law Society of Ireland task force appointed by the Dail Conveyancing Committee to advise solicitors on the new regulations said in a letter to the Irish Association of Self-Builders that “self builders with no experience acting as a builder might have difficulties getting an architect, engineer or surveyor who is willing to undertake the task of acting as an assigned certifier”.
A spokesman for the Irish Association of Self Builders said: “We welcome the idea of tougher rules to police the construction industry.
“But self-building has been a major sector of all the houses built in Ireland in the past decade and in most cases the quality and the workmanship have exceeded the constructions done by major developers.
“As long as they have complied with the Building regulations and Health & Safety, this right should not be taken away from them.
A spokesman for the Environment Department said last night it was “incorrect to assert that self-build is banned in Ireland”.
He added: “Neither do the regulations require the signatory of any statutory to companies – it is only when the assigned builder is a company that limitations apply.”
Am I the only one who can see how nonsensical the Department’s Statement is? They are masters at twisting words.. credit to them!