Yesterday, I received the following letter from the DOECLG – I am absolutely shocked (what’s new at this stage) with their idiotic response to my very simple requests for information…
Dear Ms Gallagher
Thanks for your further letter. (my letter here: https://amandagallagherblog.wordpress.com/2014/05/02/194/
On a personal level I sympathise with you and anyone who has had their dream home put on hold for any reason.
I can only advise you and others in relation to how SI No. 9 of 2014 applies in practice. The legal and professional services and advice in relation to your own self build home are not matters in which I can involve myself.
In my experience in recent weeks in dealing with numerous person seeking to advance their building project under the new system I have not found the application of SI No. 9 of 2014 to be surrounded by infinite problems. The significant level of construction activity now proceeding in accordance with SI No. 9 of 2014 confirms that the legislation does indeed work in practice.
I have no wish to burden you with another lengthy missive and most of the issues outlined below have in fact been addressed in the public statements and information provided by the Minister and the Department.
The contents of your email below are in the main arguments in favour of revoking the legislation. It is perfectly valid for you to take that position and to campaign for the reforms to be revoked. From the Department’s perspective, SI No. 9 of 2014 is now in place, having gone through very extensive public consultation procedures at various stages over a number of years in its development. The Department continues to keep all aspects of its implementation under close review. If you wish to be put on an email list for contact in connection with any consultation in relation to future changes to the Building Control Regulations let me know and I will arrange for same.
I will not be in a position to supply you with the letters you seek from the Department to CIF/CIRI, BCAs, the Law Society, the RIAI, ACEI and SCSI instructing them to cooperate with self builders. All of these are independent legal entities in their own right and the Department has no role in relation to instructing or directing them along the lines suggested.
In relation to the proposed fair system of building control advocated on the online BREG blog, I would say that the idea that any reforms intended to empower competence and professionalism and to enhance accountability can be achieved on a cost neutral basis is suspect in itself. A move to a full local authority approval system would involve significant increase in building control staffing and resourcing. Inspectors would have to be registered professionals and it would take time to develop the capacity to conduct full approval inspections on dwellings. It is also unlikely that such an approach would be cheaper on building owners than the new regulations. The legal obligation on owners to design and construct in accordance with the Building Regulations would continue to apply.
The requirement to demonstrate compliance for approval purposes, whether by a building control authority or an approved independent operator, would mean that the person who owns or commissions the work would necessarily incur comparable design, building and inspection/certification costs as are essential and unavoidable in line with the new regulations. The administrative charge required to cover the approval fee payable to the local building control authority would be a further additional cost.
I have tried to address the issue that the Department may not previously have shared its views on but if there is anything I have omitted I will be glad to address it.
Architecture/Building Standards Section
Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government