Tag Archives: Self-build

SI.9 | What’s another year?

one-year-on

 27 February 2015

In two days time, on Sunday, 1st March 2015, the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations SI.9: 2014 will be one year old. It has become clear that issues with SI.9 are not just ‘teething’ problems that will settle down. In fact many in the construction industry who embraced the change are now struggling with legal and practical implementation problems that cannot be resolved within the legislation.

The BRegs Blog has brought together a community of industry experts and commentators as we reach this important milestone and the imminent review of the legislation. In the coming week or so we will be publishing a series of posts on SI.9 – one year on. This will commence on Monday.

The BRegs Blog is changing!

  1. The BRegs Blog will launch a new e-zine this afternoon that gathers all SI.9 related information (tweets, photos, blogs, comments and other media links) into one easily accessible weekly digest. It will be published each Friday lunchtime as an alternative to the Saturday Summary.
  2. On the last Saturday of the month we will publish a Top Five of each month’s most read posts. This will publish tomorrow.
  3. In parallel with condensing relevant news feeds into single ‘editions’ the BRegs Blog will be posting fewer posts that are more considered with news items moved to the Friday E-zine’.

The BRegs Blog is stepping up to put forward real practical solutions for an effective system of Building Control. The blog continues to enjoy extraordinary support from most representative sectors of the construction industry. The minimal criticism being made would appear to be from those who don’t read it or are challenged by any questioning of SI.9.

The BRegs Blog promotes effective Building Control improvements and best practice standards of inspection.

Thanks for your continued support,

BRegs Blog Admin. Team

SI.9 | Minister Alan Kelly T.D. has been listening!

Kelly

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Alan Kelly T.D.

In his strongest statement to date, the Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly T.D., has indicated that the much criticised SI.9 Building Control Regulations are to be reformed to ease the burden on hard-pressed building owners and rural dwellers in particular. The Minister was speaking to political journalist, John Drennan, in yesterday’s Independent (Link to full article: here)  and revealed that he plans to reform building regulations as a priority. A detailed announcement is expected later this month.

Extract:

“The minister said that when it came to small developments, houses and extensions, the current rules were ”like using a mallet to crack a nut. We cannot continue with the present regulations for one off houses, extensions and small developments. Regulations need to be simpler to understand and comply with for people in the countryside who want to build their own houses; you don’t want them facing unexpected costs.

Building regulations are important, but you don’t need the same conditions for an eight-storey apartment as an extension to a three-bedroom house.”

The full article in the Independent covers a range of additional items including An Bord Pleanala, rural regeneration, wind farms and a new Planning Bill to also “crack down on large multiples that are holding vacant sites”.

Other posts of interest:

SI.9 | Is change in the air?  26 January 2015

Look forward to SI.9 review in January 2015  | Minister Paudie Coffey   01 January 2015

‘Onerous’ Building Regulations must be amended – Minister Kelly  29 November 2014

Imminent changes to SI.9 announced | Minister Alan Kelly T.D.  28 November 2014

Revoke S.I.9 – Fine Gael internal report to Phil Hogan in 2013  01 November 2014

SI.9 | The Right to self-build is O.K. – if you live in the U.K.

s300_Right_to_build_960x640

 06 February 2015

When SI.9 was introduced last year it sounded a death knell for the centuries old tradition of affordable self-building in Ireland. It is hard to fathom why the Department of the Environment would do this in the middle of a housing and financial crisis. In marked contrast our nearest neighbours in the U.K. are doing the exact opposite. Across the Irish Sea they are rolling out comprehensive incentives and supports to get ordinary people building their own houses. See link here:

Extract:

New ‘Right to Build’ areas at forefront of helping aspiring self-builders

The ‘Right to Build’ is the latest in a range of measures designed to help those looking to build their own home in the U.K. Eleven areas will benefit from the latest U.K. government-backed opportunity to help aspiring custom or self-builders get their projects off the ground. These 11 chosen areas will establish and maintain a register of prospective custom and self-builders in the area and begin to identify shovel-ready sites for those on the register – becoming the first to offer local people the right to design and build their own home often at a lower cost than buying an existing property.

U.K. Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

“We’re determined to help anyone who aspires to own their own home – whether that’s buying on the open market through schemes like our Help to Buy, or to build. This is one of a range of measures we’re taking to help aspiring homeowners, but also to get Britain building – and thanks to our efforts, house building levels are at their highest since 2007 and rising. Aspiring custom or self-builders will be able to register their interest with the council, who will then be required to offer suitable serviced plots for them that are for sale at market value. But it will open up the opportunity to self-build beyond those with “grand designs” so even more people can realise their self-build ambitions.”

In Ireland if you are a building contractor and a Director of your own firm with at least three years relevant experience, there is no problem with building for yourself. Otherwise, you will have to hire a professional contractor from the soon to be mandatory Construction Industry Federation’s (CIF) own register. The additional cost to employ a CIF registered builder makes house building projects unaffordable for most people. Industry estimates put the additional cost to a typical self-builder at 22%, or over €40,000 on a €180,000 house.

It would appear that SI.9 is causing huge numbers of self-build house projects to be abandoned due to these increased costs, and is a drag on increased housing supply. Minister for State, Paudie Coffey T.D. indicated last month that the unforeseen consequences of SI.9 on self-build is something he has asked his Department to examine.

Other posts of Interest:

UK + Ireland | take a quick trip to Holyhead with Breg Blog…

UK and Ireland: Take a quick drive to Newry with BReg Blog…

SI.9 costs for a typical house

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

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

The cost of a Solution to BC(A)R SI.9? 

The self build world has been thrown into disarray

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

Law Society response to self-builders

Self building, self-regulation & the consumer

Self-builders to be phased out under S.I.80

The forthcoming changes in the Building Regulations in March 2014 (S.I. No. 80 of 2013 BUILDING CONTROL (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2013) have big repercussions for residential self-builders. Nearly 60% of houses constructed in Ireland are self-builds (source NaSBA) and self-building is a common form of construction for houses and extensions; this is especially the case in rural areas.

S.I. No. 80 requires that the owner gives notice to the Building Control authority of ‘…ASSIGNMENT OF BUILDER’:

Item 2. requires the owner to have ‘…assigned the following person as Builder of the works and I am satisfied that they are competent to undertake the works so assigned on my behalf.’

The owner therefore needs to assign a ‘competent person’ to undertake the building works; this raises several questions:

• Who decides whether a builder is a competent person?

• Currently there is no register of ‘competent persons’ that are considered competent to undertake building works; the Construction Industry Federation ‘is progressing the establishment of a Register of Builders in consultation with the Department of the Environment Community and Local Government (DoECLG).’ but this register will initially only be a voluntary register (transitioning at a later date to a statutory scheme).

• Logically a self-builder cannot assign himself unless he is a ‘competent person’.

Self-builders will be required under S.I.80, as clients, to employ a design certifier and assigned certifier (engineer/ architect/ building surveyor)- this is positive as it is unwise for a technically non-experienced person to undertake self-building without professional input. This should be welcomed as a positive development.

If a client is going to be the builder, currently that’s fine- self-builders can nominate themselves (as long as they consider themselves to be ‘competent’ and as builders are currently unregistered this seems to work well for self-builders. The only persons precluded from operating as contractors are Architects.

So, S.I.80 at the moment can only improve the quality of self-builds.

However when a formal register of builders is introduced in 2015 self-builders will need to meet the criteria to become registered, or will be precluded from this role. The criteria more than likely is a minimum of 3 years relevant building experience, tax affairs in order, relevant insurances in place etc.

So, in 12 months self-building will no longer be possible unless the self-builder  is already an established experienced contractor, with their own insurances and tax-clearance documents etc. People who want to undertake works themselves are no longer able to do so. One unintended consequence of this is that rural landowners with some building experience who are capable of managing sub-contractors will no longer be able to inhabit this role- they will be forced down the more expensive route of appointing a main contractor to domestic or other projects that require planning permission (farm buildings, outhouses etc.)

The UK system of Building Control allows for self-builders; their risk-based assessment on the number of inspections takes into account whether the builder is known, his experience/track record and whether there is also an architect inspecting the works (as examples). The Building Control Officer then adjusts the number of visits following this risk analysis based on a points system in order to ensure the build is in compliance with the Building Regulations.

The introduction of S.I.80 denies the centuries old tradition of the Irish person building their home for their family themselves. There are a number of contradictions in S.I.80 and this is one of them. If public opinion forces a u-turn on registration of contractors in 2015 then the basis of S.I.80, that of “regulating” building, will not be achieved. Unregistered and unregulated builders will still be in a position to control the procurement process. Introduce mandatory registration of contractors and self-building will cease to exist.

References to UK Building Control mean England and Wales.

A special thanks to Geoff Wilkinson at TheBuildingInspector.org (Approved England and Wales Approved Building Inspectors)