The following letter to the editor by Lester Naughton MRIAI was published in the Irish Examiner on Wednesday 20th August 2014. Link to original letter here:
A scenario that would leave thousands of homes ruined | Irish Examiner
“New housing starts at zero and unemployment up 100,000”. This is the headline that your paper may well be printing in the future and I will explain why with a story.
Mary and Paraic are celebrating outside the High Court popping champagne. The judge has just found against the architect who certified their new house. At first, they thought pyrite was causing the structural problems and the architect thought he would not be found liable as he had demanded certificates confirming the absence of pyrite. However it turned out the problem was the steel reinforcing bars used in the concrete. The architect hadn’t thought of seeking certification from the supplier and the judge found the architect had certified the building and was therefore responsible. Mary and Paraic are paid out by the architects’ insurers.
In such a scenario, if such problems turned out to be widespread and thousands of houses are ruined, people will take their cases to the courts and will receive similar judgments. But due to the judgments, it will prove impossible for professionals to renew their insurance. Many professionals will be bankrupted and many homeowners will receive little or no compensation.
Sir I doubt you will find a single architect or lawyer who will not agree this is a plausible scenario. You will only perhaps find disagreement as to its likelihood. Our legislators have let us all down once again.
Lester Naughton BArch MRIAI