The self build world has been thrown into disarray

by Bregs Blog admin team


The following opinion piece was submitted by Michael Gillespie on 5th September 2014

The self-built world has been thrown into disarray with the introduction of SI9.

The result has been projects shelved or delayed while clients, agents and local authorities come to grips with the tsunami of changes and information that must be absorbed. This industry was always blessed with varied knowledge and competencies within the professional groups. SI9 was promised to change all that, but the problem has only gotten worse, particularly for self-builds. Having self-built myself and inspected self-build’s over the years, I now first had the advantages of self-build.

  • You can shop around for best prices
  • Source preferred materials and products with greater ease
  • Avoid the main contractors fee’s
  • Direct and redirect project as you see fit. Even bring it to a complete halt if necessary.
  • Select the trade’s people you want and wait for them to become available if needs be.
  • If money gets scarce, you can move into the dwelling the minute you feel it’s workable to avoid paying rent.
  • With proper planning, you can dictate the speed of the build (don’t forget the five P’s) according to your budget. A kind of pay as you go approach, over a few months or years if required.
  • Lower mortgage.
  • The value of the later items will for many often mean the difference between a project going ahead or not. In this regard the impact of SI9 on direct labour/self-build homes I feel has yet to be fully realised. On top of the additional professional fees clients now have to content with the fact that the house has to be finished and signed off by the certifiers and council before they can take up residents. This simple requirement adds thousands more to a project.

My own PROJECT, which WAS common place, included moving in long before completion. I can remember the scene where helping big brother with the electrical, he asked when did we hope to move in, to which my good wife replied ‘Two weeks’. He laughed for moment until he seen we were serious. But it happened we had a kitchen (fitted myself), stairs, and lino in the kitchen and I think one bathroom finished. The rest I did myself over time. Yes I hung doors, did the second fixing etc. all as wages allowed. It saved us a small fortune on mortgage and repayments.

But alas that era is no more, your budget & mortgage must be large enough to complete the home before you move in. For many the enlarged budget & mortgage is not feasible or attainable, thus many projects will never see the light of day (I’d ask agents to spell this out for people at the design stage)

The need for absolute compliance is another gem. Generally the industry is not known for perfection. Of course we strive for it, but we should be realistic, we have neither the professionals nor the trades to achieve this (in an ever evolving industry can we ever come to a point and say stop this is perfect). The situation as it stands is designers and AC’s going over the top with requirements, adding yet more cost.

In short S.I. 9 is failing (been generous here), it has gone against the advice of the people on the ground, Industry stake holders, and government panels. So Please Alan fix-it or replace it.

Independent inspection is the way to go in my opinion.

Other posts of interest:

Self Builder petition- BC(A)R SI.9

S.I. 9 | Self-builders – 6 months’ update 

SI.9 costs for a typical house

The € 500 million + cost of S.I.9 in 2014 | Residential Sector

Eoin O Cofaigh FRIAI- A changing landscape?

Law Society response to self-builders

Self building, self-regulation & the consumer

Senator Mooney- BC(A)R SI.9

RTÉ Radio: self-builders & RIAI past presidents