Radio: Election Debate: BC(A)R SI.9

by Bregs Blog admin team


Radio: Election Debate: BC(A)R SI.9

Here is a recent Radio debate segment between election candidates on Ocean FM on Tuesday 20th may 2014. The segment deals with self-building, BC(A)R SI.9, increased costs, legal issues and consumer rights under the new building regulations. A range of contributors discuss the adverse effects of the regulations from the perspective of consumer, public representative and also informed professional viewpoints.

Link to North West Today, Tues, 20th May by OceanFM:

Relevant section of the debate goes from minute 45.25 to 1.00.00

Amanda Gallagher, self-builder, challenges Hubert Keaney (FG) on the Fine Gael policy of banning of self-building under the new building regulations introduced in March 2014.

Mr Keaney (FG) states that new building control regulations place no restriction on any person to undertake self-builds. He suggests this has been clarified by RIAI (representative body for architects), the Minister in Dail and questions why there still are people coming out and stating that this is not the case. “People can build their own homes…An accountant has started his own building last week.”

Mrs Gallagher noted in a Joe Duffy Radio interview earlier in the week two RIAI past presidents have confirmed, nothwithstanding statements to contrary by the Minister and the Department, the Law is the Law, and self-building has in effect, been banned by the new legislation.

Mr Keaney (FG) suggests stipulation on the builder’s completion Cert is to give responsibility back to the person that owns company not employee.

Donal Gilroy (FF), who inspects and signs off on part L of the regulations as part of his employment, confirms what Amanda Gallagher has stated and notes that act says what is says: it precludes self-building. If the Act is wrong simply let the Minister change it. He notes these issues were confirmed at a previous public meeting he held. He confirmed that the new building control Act means that you must have an assigned certifier and contractor, and he questioned the credentials of the professional working as assigned certifier on the accountants self-built house mentioned by Mr Keaney (FG). His experience suggested that no professionals were willing to work on self-builds, their professional indemnity insurance will not stand for this situation.

Thomas Collery (FG)- “we are told registered contractor and engineer can control and build any houses”. Amanda Gallagher notes self-builders do not use contractors and nationally commencement notices have “fell off a cliff”. She confirms that surveyors, architects, engineers, politicians, senators and lawyers all agree self-building not possible; how can Fine Gael reasonably suggest everyone else is wrong?

Francis Cadden (Ind) notes he built his own house built in the 1990’s to the best standard. The new building regulations seemed to be “Money for the boys”.

Thomas Healy (SF) suggested owners can build their own house, at a price. He compared SI9 to a “stealth tax”. He asks if 60% of owners can self-build, why cant local authorities sign off? “Let’s get employment for self-builds… not developers for profit”

Amanda Gallagher suggested Fine Gael are “…a disgrace…For politicians I think there should be a 3 month training course… one month homeless, one month hungry and one month poor.”

Mel Casserly, a chartered engineer, agreed with the self-builder comments. He notes that current Engineer’s Ireland and Professional Insurer’s direction is not to touch self-build as professionals. He confirmed that Fine Gael are incorrect in stating owners can sign off; due to vague and inaccurate wording of SI.9 this will need to be established in the courts. He also noted as mandatory registration of building contractors was due to be introduced on a statutory footing in March 2015 the current grey area,  i.e. whether owners could be builders, would end in 9 months and self-building would officially be banned. He felt there were major issues for rural ireland.

In his experience all self-builds had been completed to an exemplary standard- the poor quality building had occurred in the  in speculative building sector.


Other related posts:

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents Collins + O’Cofaigh – click link here

Irish Times: Dramatic fall in number of buildings being started – click link here

Radio: architect on commencements & SI9 – click link here

Radio Clip- O’Cofaigh: self building, self-regulation & the consumer – click link here

Law Society response to self-builders – click link here

Self-builders write to Attorney General: BC(A)R SI.9 – click link here