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Fire Safety

Final report on Celtic Tiger era apartment defects to be sent to minister

As many as 100,000 apartments and duplexes may be affected by these issues.

A WORKING GROUP tasked with assessing the scale of construction defects at Celtic Tiger era apartments and duplexes is expected to finalise its report today and will shortly present it to the Minister for Housing.

The report is expected to show that as many as 100,000 apartments or duplexes are affected by fire safety, water ingress and other defects.

Last week Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik told the Dáil that the report will reveal that every county in Ireland are affected by construction defects, with a particularly acute problem in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Dublin South-Central, Dublin Bay North and Dublin Fingal.

She said up to 44,000 apartments are in the process of being remediated right now. The working group report has estimated that total repair costs across the country could reach up to €2.8 billion.

The working group was established by the Department of Housing in February last year. It was tasked with examining the scale of fire safety and structural safety defects in apartments and duplexes built between 1991 and 2013. It will also report to the minister on costs associated with repairs. 

The group is expected to finalise its report later today and present it to Minister Darragh O’Brien. 

Homeowners who have spoken to The Journal have received bills of between €15,000 and €20,000, with some complaining they were given a short period of time to come up with large lump sums.

Those who could not or refused to pay faced what some described as “frightening” legal threats, even, in some cases, after they had made offers of alternative pay arrangements. 

Although the most prominent defects relate to fire safety, some complexes also have water ingress which causes damp issues in their homes and adding thousands of euro to their repair bills. 

Responding to Bacik in the Dáil last week, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar acknowledged that people have been “left in a terrible limbo where they are unable to sell the apartment and they are worried about whether it is even safe for them to continue to live there”.

“The government responded to the issues that arose with pyrite and it has responded with the new mica scheme for Donegal and other counties. I believe we will need a response to assist people who are facing large bills as a result of defects in apartments,” he said.

Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath also last week told RTÉ News that the burden cannot solely fall on the State and that “the industry will have to step up to the mark as well in order to meet the overall costs”.

However the construction industry has warned that any levy applied by the government would impact on construction projects and push property prices up.

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