So it’s day 3 of Self-Builders blogging week (remember I made it up and it’s just a week of self-building blog posts).
This one is directed at architects and would love to hear your experiences.
Just to clarify that I’ve been a self-builder (a difficult one at that) and now I’m on the other side of the fence as an architect. This blog post is concerned with the certification and draw-downs required to finance a self-build project.
Now the architect’s job (as far as I understood) is to inspect and certify the work that is completed in accordance with the planning permission and building regulations (as far as the bank is concerned). With a main contractor this is straightforward and that when the work is done, the architect pops along, checks everything and then certifies accordingly (with two certificates normally; one for the client to pay the contractor and the other to draw-down the money from the bank).
The current problem in Ireland is that building suppliers and sub-contractors are giving little or no credit; payment for the materials is at the time of order and the sub-contractors need their money pretty much in advance or immediately. How therefore does the self-builder pay for the materials without the money in advance of building? And how does the self-builder pay everyone without the money from the bank and without the architect’s certificate for the draw-down.
The answer is very difficultly. It’s a Catch-22 situation:
You can’t get the materials without the money and
You can’t get the money without the certificate
This puts the architect in a very difficult situation and currently the only way around this to keep the project moving is for the architect to be certifying work in advance of completion – not a great scenario and a dangerous situation for the architect to be placed in.
What makes this situation worse is that the banks are compliant in this; local bank managers are encouraging architects to keep projects moving as they are effectively separate from the banking decisions made in Dublin.
If you’re an architect I’d love to hear what you think, and whether you have experienced the same…