Press Piece: Blood, Sweat & Tears Tax? BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team

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The following ‘Letter to the Editor’ appeared in the Sligo Weekender on Thursday 13th March 2014. Link here: sligo weekender

Blood, Sweat & Tears Tax?

Sir – There has been a lot of confusion surrounding the Building Control (Amendment)Regulations 2014 – SI9. From a Self Builder’s prospective I would like to draw your attention to a few points:

Minister Phil Hogan is telling the Citizens of this country that ‘Self Build / Direct Labour’ can continue as before under this regulation.  I would like to point out that in the entire SI 9 and in the Code of Practice (Building Control) the words ‘Self Build’ or ‘Direct Labour’ do not appear. He also says these regulations are because of shoddy construction in the past like Priory Hall.  The Minister has just created 1,800 more victims of Priory Hall this year alone – as 1,800 self build projects are now abandoned due to these regulation.  We must remember that Priory Hall was signed off by Architects, Engineers and Surveyors – there is absolutely NO change to those bad decisions in these regulations as a Building Contractor / Developer can still employ his own Certifiers – this fact alone is a grave injustice to the victims of Priory Hall.

Problem No.1 a self builder faces now is the signing of legal documents where it clearly states: to be signed by a principal or Director of a building company only.  Now we, as self builders, are not a principal or director of a building company and never will be and to sign such a document is fraud.  How will a Financial Institution react when you produce fraudulent documents when applying for a mortgage?

Problem No. 2 for the self builder is they must employ an Assigned Certifier – this will be impossible as no Architect, Surveyor or Engineer will work alongside a self builder under these new regulations – due to liability issues and I would assume they do not want to be party to fraud.

The Self Build Sector is a viable contributor to the economy and to local employment and we would welcome an Independent Building Inspectorate and a Register of Competent Trades people available in Local Authorities as opposed to the Ministers idea of a privately owned register of builders run by the C.I.F. (Construction Industry Federation)

In the months preceding the implementation of SI 9 – The Irish Association of Self Builders(I.A.O.S.B) made many pleas to the Minister to amend the wording on the legal documents to include the words ‘building owner’ as this would remedy the ‘self builder issue’.  The President of the R.I.A.I (Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland) and 500 of their members also called on the Minister to defer the implementation of the SI 9 as further talks were needed.  Calls for more talks came from many other Architects, Architectural Technlogists and Draughtsmen of Ireland who are now unemployed. Alas, all pleas fell on deaf ears.

We had budgeted for materials only as we are a one income family with 5 small children and we were going to construct our home with our blood, sweat & tears, during our free time, at weekends and during holidays, at the end of the build we were going to hand the keys of our current council house back to the State for another family to have a roof over their heads.  There is no question of the black market / shadow economy for self builds as all materials are purchased from local builders merchants, window & door suppliers etc.. i’m sure they are all tax compliant, and as far as I know there is no Tax on Blood, Sweat & Tears – yet!

Amanda Gallagher

Ballisodare

Co. Sligo

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