Warning to Unions: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team


The following letter was sent by Amanda Gallagher, Self-builder, on April 6th 2014 to the following unions:  OPATSI (Plasterers Union of Ireland), TEEU (Electrical), ICTU, UNITE, SIPTU, IWU (Independent Workers Union), UCATT (Construction Allied Trades & Technicians), APHCI (Association of Plumbing & Heating Contractors Ireland)


Dear Unions –

Please forward this letter to your Members that are involved in any way to the Construction Sector,

I write to you regarding the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations 2014 – (SI 9).  My name is Amanda Gallagher from Co. Sligo.  Myself and my husband were planning a ‘self build’ this summer.  Our story was featured on RTE Radio & TV Shows and also the Six One News on Friday, Feb. 28th last – we hoped our pleas for a deferral of these new Building Control laws to the Minister would be listened to – how naive of us!

I am concerned for the Tradesmen (& women) of Ireland – my own husband is an electrician.  The SI 9 state that all construction in Ireland must now go through a main Building Contractor – gone are days of direct labour / self build.  This is very grim.  The CIF (a private company) have introduced CIRI (Construction Industry Register of Ireland) on a voluntary basis but from March 1st 2015 it will be put on a Statutory footing – however the Certificates within the Statutory Instruments relating to Building Control have made a provision for the Building Contractor to enter his CIRI number – this is bewildering – that a private company is ‘advertised’ within Irelands’ legal documents and they haven’t even been made Statutory yet!

The CIF along with Minister Hogan present CIRI as some new invention in the Construction Sector. I have pointed out to them that Ireland already had a register of Builders & Tradesmen – The National Guild of Master Craftsmen – these men have been forgotten.

My concern for you guys is that as a main building contractor must be employed by any home owner who wishes to build a home or an extension above 40msq – it puts Tradesmen in a situation whereby unless that Building Contractor chooses you off the CIRI you have absolutely no chance of employment.  That main Building Contractor will without doubt always bring his ‘usual crew’ to a job.  The General Public can no longer choose their preferred tradesmen. 

The cost to register with CIRI is 738 euro (annually)plus 50 euro induction course.  ‘This may go up or may go down depending on how many join’said the CIF at a meeting I attended recently.  The cost to register with the National Guild is 295 euro initially and then 195 euro per year after.  I have written to Minister Hogan to talk to the CIF about their pricing structure.

I was at a Building Control Conference last week and the CIF were presenting CIRI – the only concern they had was if te person joining CIRI is Tax compliant. I pointed out to them that it astonishes me to hear the only concern of the CIF was if the builder had a certificate of Tax compliance and not a mention of a certificate of qualification.   As we all know there is no ‘school for builders’ – there is absolutely no way a building contractor can ‘prove’ he is ‘competent’ as he cannot show me a qualification.  Also, there will be people on the CIRI with absolutely no qualification – this is most unfair on the people on the same register with a Qualification – does this mean we don’t bother with Apprenticeships anymore? When all we have to do is be tax compliant and give a 3 references of past projects – this is utter nonsense and we must all work together to get a fair system in place.

We, as self builders, have set up a petition in order to get enough support to have a Dail debate on these unjust laws, we are also calling for a Register of Qualified Tradesmen, project managers etc..to be available at each local authority so that the general public can choose their local registered tradesmen in a fair and transparent manner – why should the CIF – a private company hold a dominant position in the Construction Sector of Ireland?

Petition Link: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/self-build-rights-ireland 

By the way, I wondered at how Regulations as ‘unjust’ as the SI 9 were ever signed into Law.  I now know that the Tradesmen of Ireland, the self builders, the farmers, the Architectural Technologists and the ordinary men and women of Ireland were totally ignored and disregarded in the talks – astounding – the very people that these laws affect were never consulted.  Well, if we all stick together they WILL have to talk to us now….

If you want further information on SI 9 there are some good resources on google: bregs forum, si9.ie and the Irish Association of Self Builders (IAOSB).

Regards to you all,

Amanda Gallagher