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Council demands builder contribution to costs at mould-ravaged development

The local authority housing development at Balgaddy, near Clondalkin, was only completed in 2007.

SOUTH DUBLIN COUNTY COUNCIL has demanded that the construction company which built a local authority housing complex for it – and which was only completed in 2007 – contribute to the costs of repairing houses that have become ravaged with mould.

The housing development at Balgaddy – which won a prestigious award for housing design in 2004 – was built between 2004 and 2007 by Gama Construction Ltd, but many of the houses already have massive problems with mould and dampness.

The development of 400 homes – originally intended to be as high as 550 before the downturn in the construction sector – was “designed and supervised on-site by well-regarded architectural consultants,” the council said – before adding that “Gama Construction’s difficulties on this site are well-known” nonetheless.

“Since completion of these projects, Gama have been involved in a series of contractual disputes with South Dublin County Council,” the county architect Eddie Conroy said.

“Only one of these disputes remains unresolved to date. The resolution of these disputes involved a serious contribution towards repair works outstanding on some dwellings in Balgaddy by Gama.

“There are issues requiring repairs in a number of these homes including window sashes, roof flashings and external plaster cracks.”

Local councillor Gino Kenny said there was evidently something “dramatically wrong” with the construction of some of the houses.

“After seven years of a new development, to have structural problems like that is just incredible,” Kenny said. “I’ve seen some pretty awful stuff in there.”

Kenny, a member of People Before Profit, said the problems seemed to affect the “majority” of houses in the development.

Irish Times journalist Kitty Holland, who visited the site last week, said one house had mushrooms ‘the size of fists’ growing in the bathroom, while an adjacent bedroom had so much mould that its tenant had moved their bed into the kitchen.

Solicitor Eugene Smartt, who could not be reached today, said he had already handled complaints from a number of residents seeking to exercise their tenancy rights with the council.