This is a post I’ve been thinking about for a while and concerns the raw, unbearable truisms of designing and building in Ireland. Not pleasant reading but unfortunately (in my experience), all true:
5 unbearable truths of building in Ireland
1. You don’t have a God given right to build on the site you own.
95% of planning permissions will sail through, unfortunately there are some sites that just can’t be built on. Whether it’s because of the sites unsuitability due to poor percolation, road safety or contradicts the Local Authority Development Plan, either way – you won’t get planning
2. You may think ‘My home is my Castle’ but it’s not
Unless you build your house for cash with no mortgage, your home isn’t your castle – it’s the banks. As we’re seeing in a current court case in Ireland, if the bank wants its house back it will do everything it can to recover it.
Why is this important? Because the house is the banks and not yours, I have to make sure that the design and construction is in compliance with its Planning Permission and the Building Regulations; otherwise the bank will come after me!
3. Take tender submission dates with a pinch of salt
I remember in the UK that if a tender submission wasn’t received by a certain date/time then it was destroyed. Forget this in Ireland – we have a much more casual approach
4. Don’t think the builder gets a lovely warm feeling every morning when they’re working on your lovely house with all it’s intricate details
You may think the builder will love working on the complexity of your design, will challenge and entertain them and even give you a cheaper price because of the enjoyment they will get. They won’t. Building is building; they want to get in and out of your job as quick as possible with the money that they’re owed and then move onto the next project.
5. Builders don’t really want me there.
A couple of sub-headings on this one:
• Builders don’t really want me there. The building culture in Ireland isn’t used to work getting checked as it is in the UK. In fact I’m seen as a bit of a nuisance checking things all the time and ensuring things are done right!
• With the advent of S.I.9 of 2014 the Government has made me into a bureaucratic pen-pusher, checker and collector of certificates (see bullet above)
• The builder is much better at bending the ear of the client than the architect. The builder when the job is on site is there more than the architect and over the friendly cups of tea can come up with some ‘great ideas’; be careful!