Amanda Gallagher, Self Builder: Opinion Piece BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

PPF-Hogan & Taoiseach


Reading comments via the National Newspapers on the recent Fine Gael Ard Fheis inspired me to jot down some comments of my own.  An Taoiseach Enda Kenny was asked who inspired him in life – he answered the great Muhammad Ali – apparently Mr Kenny loved his use of ‘verbal gymnastics’ – phrases like “It isn’t the mountain ahead to climb that wears you out it; it’s the pebble in your shoe!” I also heard Mr Kenny reassured the crowd that Self Build / Direct Labour is still possible in Ireland.

Minister Phil Hogan also made comments at the Ard Fheis regarding Mr McFeely of Priory Hall fame – apparently Minister Hogan found Mr. McFeely’s BBC Interview “an outrageous waste of free speech” and also that “Fine Gael stand for the people of Priory Hall“.  On hearing these comments I was bemused to say the least.  The Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – known as SI9 which Minister Hogan implemented on Saturday, March 1st, 2014 in NO way stand for the people of Priory Hall, in fact these regulations mean that the likes of Priory Hall could happen time and time again.

The SI9 still allows self-certification – this is a grave injustice to the victims of Priory Hall. Developers and Building Contractors will still be able to walk away from shoddy workmanship and leave the ordinary folk abandoned.

The Minister and the CIF continue to use the ‘cloak’ of Consumer Safety when talking of these regulations.  If only the general public would take a little while to research the SI9, just like we had to, all would become clear to them. Some good resources are available on google – and bregs blog to name a few. I understand many people think the SI9 doesn’t concern them – but I feel they concern our whole society, for example, 1,800 families this year alone have abandoned their self build projects – their dream of owning their home – many will apply now for Local Authority Housing as they had a tiny budget to build with and will never be able to purchase a home. The Minister has created a major future housing crisis with the implementation of the SI9. The Farming Community will be especially affected as most farm buildings are self build and one off self build homes are what make up the rural countryside. Architectural Technicians, draughts-men and many fine architects have been left with no prospect of employment with these regulations.

We, as self builders, find the Ministers reassurances that self build can continue as before under these regulations an ‘outrageous waste of free speech‘ – we cannot fathom why the Minister cannot just come out and make a statement to the Citizens of this country informing them that self build cannot continue under SI9 – in fact the words ‘self build / direct labour’ do not appear once in the entire SI9 or code of practice for Building Control.  If the Minister does not want to do this then we feel he has no choice but to amend the wording on the legal certificates in the SI9 to accommodate self builders.  They really are his only two options.  You know, self builders too are fond of ‘verbal gymnastics’ – ‘It isn’t the mountain of the build ahead that’s wearing us out; it’s the pebble in our shoes‘ – and that pebble is the SI9 – and we are going to remove that pebble and throw it in to the widest, deepest lake in Ireland!

The above opinion piece was submitted on 22nd March 2014 by Amanda Gallagher