The following letter was sent to Ms Anne Potter, ACEI, today, May 30th..

“We do not need to get good laws to restrain us from bad people.

We need to get good people to restrain us from bad laws.”

– G.K. Chesterton

Dear Ms Potter,

I wrote to you a couple of months ago regarding the ACEI and its advice to members regarding self building and the S.I. 9., you replied to me and informed me that your members will make their own minds up on whether to certify self builds or not.

In light of a recent letter I received from the DOECLG,
(letter here: https://amandagallagherblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/letter-from-mr-martin-vaughan/)

in which they state that the three professional bodies (ACEI, RIAI & SCSI) have no problem whatsoever in certifying self builds, I would appreciate it if you could furnish some information to me at your earliest convenience:

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

• Has the ACEI received 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?

• Can the ACEI issue a list of members who are willing to work with self builders?

• Did the ACEI, CIF, DOECLG & others come to the conclusion at your CPD on January 17th that self building was not possible with S.I 9?

Now, on to more serious matters – I have been contacted by a family, who were due to commence the self build of their new home this month and have been stopped in their tracks by five of your members. This family, went to five registered Chartered Engineers with their house plans to get a quote for them to certify the build. This poor family, were and are still in complete shock as the quotes the received from your members ranged from €9,900 to €12,500 – these amounts are over four times higher than the €1,000 to €3,000 that Minister Hogan is constantly stating that the S.I.9 should cost a homeowner. There is also an eerily ring of truth to Minister Hogan’s ‘Cartel’ accusations in the Dail this week – whereby he raise his concerns over members of the RIAI, SCSI and yourselves, operating a Cartel in rural areas.

This family are also in shock as to the more serious matter of your members discriminating against them. Apart from the extortionate quotes that your members handed to them, their next bizarre request was that this family employ a main building contractor. This request from your members does not make any sense, especially as Minister Hogan and the DOECLG state that it is totally okay and legal to self build – if this is the case, then why are members of the ACEI demanding building contractors? Are building contractors part of this Cartel also? I must tell you, Anne, the actions of these five members of the ACEI is nothing short of discrimination. This family were going to employ 10 local tradesmen over the duration of the build – and are being prevented from doing so by your members – in fact, your members are not only discriminating against this family, they are discriminating against the 10 local tradesmen also.

Like myself and my husband, this family had made their plan to build long ago, we all had gone through the planning process, priced our builds, told our children etc.. and the ACEI, along with the CIF, RIAI, SCSI & DOECLG, decide to play Monopoly with our lives, and come up with the most hideous building control laws on the face of the earth. Your rationale must be questioned. What is more shocking than this is that since March 1st, every one of the key stakeholders, have avoided every attempt at self builders quest for the truth. You are all like little kids that get caught doing something wrong and when questioned, they go silent – it is quite obvious why and is most juvenile for construction professionals to act in such a manner – this infantile behaviour of seemingly intelligent key stakeholders has caused widespread condemnation in the sector.

The DOECLG have proven that they are totally inadequate at revealing truthful facts to the Nation by their ridiculous misinformation, so the responsibility falls on the other key stakeholders to sort out this mess – In light of this, the self builders of Ireland would like the ACEI to launch an immediate investigation among their members to request answers as to if there is in fact a cartel in operation, why they would quote extortionate amounts of money to homeowners and more worryingly why ACEI members are discriminating against self builders by requesting they employ a building contractor, when ACEI members should know well that there is absolutely no difference whatsoever between a self builder and a building contractor (save profit!) – and in doing so, ACEI members are discriminating against the local tradesmen, who will now lose wages over this – it is most irrational for members of the ACEI to request a building contractor when they should know very well that it is actually the tradesmen who are the real ‘builders’ of homes – the contractor is usually just the ‘Gaffer’ who gives his orders and picks up the fat cheque at the end, and often omits to pay the poor tradesmen – I can tell you a self builders have never failed to pay their tradesmen.

There is a solution to all of this – and that is in the form of the ‘Collins & O’Cofaigh – A Better Way’ – system of building control – a system that would resolve every issue within S.I.9 – I feel that the ACEI should promote this system, as I have just outlined one example above of the serious issues that self builders and your members are being faced with due to S.I. 9. – it is a very bad law and the self builders of Ireland need good people to help us in our plight.

I do hope I hear from you with the results of your investigation soon as there are many families who have been stopped in their tracks over this whole debacle, and until self building is enshrined within our building control laws as opposed to the CIF, we cannot possibly proceed with our builds,

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

Amanda Gallagher