The following letter was sent, today, May 27th to Mr Kevin Hollingsworth, SCSI…

‘Singular indeed that the people should be writhing under oppression and injury, and yet not one among them to be found, to raise the voice of complaint.’ – Abraham Lincoln

Dear Kevin,

I hope this letter finds you well. I wrote to you previously regarding the SCSI and its advice to members on the self build issues within S.I. 9. You were most prompt in your reply to me and I thank you for that.

I contact you again as this whole self build / S.I. 9 debacle has reached boiling point – even to the extremities of a Government Minister ranting incorrect facts in a Letter to the Editor (Irish Times last Friday) – I thought it was only me who rants in letters (albeit always factual rants!). In light of a letter I received recently from Martin Vaughan (DOECLG) concerning my fears over Assigned Certifiers working with self builders, he informed me that my concerns were unwarranted as the three professional bodies are indeed, willing to take on the role of certifier for self builders (contrary to Law Society advise to the professionals). I note that you told me the SCSI would leave this decision to each member, however, I am pretty sure that you would have, since then, had members looking to you for guidance on this serious issue – therefore could you please furnish me with answers to the following questions:

• Is it the opinion of the SCSI that self building is possible under S.I.9?

• Has the SCSI obtained legal advice on working with self builders under S.I.9?

• If so, would you be willing to make this legal opinion public, via the IAOSB?

I attended the IBCI Conference in Sligo recently – you may have heard my comments – I was quite animated and I hope you can appreciate why. I wish I had attended the whole conference, but maybe it was just as well or there may have been ‘fireworks’! I did hear afterwards that you gave a talk at the Conference in which you commented on self builders who go ahead under this legislation as ‘playing Russian Roulette’. I absolutely agree with you and I cannot fathom who Minister Hogan and the DOECLG are encouraging people to commence illegal builds.

However, I do believe, that it is the Government who are playing the most riskiest game of Russian Roulette as it is them who are ‘misinforming’ the Nation and by doing so it is inevitable that they will pull the trigger on themselves and the truth will emerge. In the meantime the self builders of Ireland are relying on the professionals, the SCSI included, to help us by just telling the facts regarding the stance of self building in Ireland under the S.I. 9.

The ordinary people of Ireland, my family and any other family who intend to self build have been served a great injury in having the right to build our owns homes snatched from us. The powers that be are oppressing us with unjust legislation – I know that the SCSI were one of the key stakeholders at the talks on the BC(A)R – I can only presume you knew that self building would be erased – I feel strongly that now the SCSI owe it to all the self builders of Ireland to make a public statement on our status. I also feel strongly, that your own members have been served a great injury under this legislation – why should the whole weight of responsibility be thrown upon the Chartered Surveyors, Chartered Engineers & Registered RIAI Architects’ shoulders – once again, the developers & building contractors of this country avoid accountability for their work.

I am sure by now you are familiar with the alternative solution to Building Control formulated by two past presidents of the RIAI – the ‘Collins & O’Cofaigh – A Better Way’ – this system would solve all the serious issues within S.I. 9 – we, as self builders, could get on with our builds and lives, all construction professionals would have ample employment, CIF members would be held accountable for their work and your members could get back to their working lives without the worry of future liability. I would appreciate it if you could promote this fair system of building control to the DOECLG at your earliest convenience, knowing that in doing so, you will be answering life’s most persistent & urgent question – ‘What are you doing for others?’.

Regards to you at this most difficult time in the construction sector,

Amanda Gallagher