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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019

Belmayne 'not a similar situation to Priory Hall', says Minister

The Minister for Environment noted how the responsible parties in the Belmayne case were facing up to their obligations, adding “this is clearly not a similar situation to Priory Hall”.

CONCERNS OVER FIRE safety at Dublin’s Belmayne housing development is “not a similar situation to Priory Hall”, the Minister for the Environment has insisted.

Deputy Phil Hogan explained that problems uncovered at the Belmayne development in relation to fire safety in January of this year were not deemed to require an evacuation – as had been necessary at the Priory Hall complex.

Although some residents were informed that they would have to leave their homes in order for remedial works to be carried out, it is understood that this would take only a few days and in order to reduce the inconvenience caused by noise and dust.

Concerns raised in January

The problems at the complex came to light after Dublin Fire Brigade notified the developer Stanley Holdings of a construction defect on 19 January 2012. Hogan said that once the concern was raised the developer, acting  responsibly in consultation with his Fire Engineer, consulted the local authority and undertook to carry out remedial works to all affected properties.

Hogan said the Fire Officer then carried out an inspection, confirmed some defects, and raised additional – and more serious -concerns than had been uncovered by any previous inspection. The officer recommended that remedial action was necessary.

Due to a number of other functioning fire safety controls that already existed within the complex, the officer was satisfied that evacuation was not called for.

Fire-proof boards will be inserted at homes in the complex in order to seal a 75mm gap in the voids above ceilings, as well as the removal of service ducts which will then be rebuilt with full fire-proof construction. Works on all the affected apartments are expected to be completed within three months.

Earlier report failed to raise safety concerns

Hogan said that, in July 2011, a report was prepared for the Chief Fire Officer of the Dublin region outlining the position in relation to fire safety inspections carried out between April and July 2011 on a number of units in the Belmayne development.

“These inspections were carried out in the presence of the owners and their technical advisors and were in the main visual inspections, although in a number of units some construction had been opened up,” Hogan said

The report at that time indicated that the escape layout and fire protection facilities were in compliance with regulations and with the relevant fire safety certificate as issued by the Building Control authority.

“While the inspection was limited in terms of the actual construction that could be accessed, the officer reported that the exposed construction was in compliance with the Irish Agrément Board Certificate issued in respect of the proprietary timber-frame construction system in use,” Hogan said.

The report also indicated the fire authority followed up with the developer, the designers, and the specific timber-frame construction company – and that they received documentation showing a continuous audit trail during the construction phase of the Belmayne site. The fire authority did not, at that time, recommend any further action at the complex.

Hogan said the situation at Belmayne was different to the one unfolding at Priory Hall – noting “the responsible parties in this case are facing up to their obligations in carrying out remediation works and bearing that cost together with the costs of relocating residents.”

He vowed that his Department would continue to liaise closely with Dublin City Council as the situation at Belmayne evolved.

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