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Independent working group to examine defects in apartments and duplexes

Problems with fire safety, structural safety and water ingress in purpose-built apartment and duplex buildings are being scrutinised.

AN INDEPENDENT WORKING group is examining defects in apartments and duplexes constructed in Ireland between 1991 and 2013.

Problems with fire safety, structural safety and water ingress in purpose-built apartment and duplex buildings are being scrutinised to understand the scale and nature of defects in the sector.

The group, which was established in February 2021, is asking for homeowners, landlords, directors of owners’ management companies (OMCs) and property management agents to submit information through online surveys.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said “we need to understand the full extent of legacy problems so that we can address them going forward”.

“I encourage all those who own or manage purpose-built apartments or duplex buildings constructed in Ireland between 1991 and 2013 to complete these surveys – whether the property in question has defects or not, or if the presence of defects is not known,” he said.

The working group will use the survey information in a report to be published later this year.

The Construction Defects Alliance, a group of apartment owners, Owners’ Management Company directors and construction workers, urged members to complete the survey to highlight problems.

“Around 170,000 apartments were built during the Celtic Tiger era and it’s estimated that at least 100,000 of them are affected by fire safety defects, leaky balconies and defective roofs due to shoddy building and ineffective building control,” Pat Montague, spokesperson for the alliance, said.

“These defects are costly to fix — averaging €15,000 to €20,000 for fire safety issues — lead to huge hikes in insurance premiums and these costs come on top of mortgage payments and service charges,” he said.

“However, there is no hard information on the true extent of the problem and the Working Group on Defective Homes is looking for this information so it can shape its recommendations to Government.

“We in the Construction Defects Alliance are urging all apartment owners and Owners’ Management Companies (OMCs) to fill in this questionnaire as a key first step in letting Government know about the defects issues you are facing.”

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