By Bregs Blog admin on 17th November 2014
As reported earlier this year, Mayo homes are excluded from the Pyrite Remediation scheme: “[Mayo Owner] has also been told that she is not entitled to apply for the government’s pyrite remeditation scheme because Mayo is not included in the scheme” see previous press article here.
The following Dáil question on Pyrite in Mayo was tabled by Michelle Mulherin (Mayo, Fine Gael) on 21st October 2014.
In his answer Minister Kelly confirms under the new regulations, owners of completed dwellings affected by pyrite will likely end up seeking redress through the courts, with no guarantee of success. We know this was a major problem for pyrite affected dwellings pre 2012 and due to public pressure the taxpayer has ended up paying for remediation.
Pyrite costs are seen as an example where inadequate local Authority enforcement and policing, combined with a reliance on private insurance, has resulted in major costs for the taxpayer. Industry sources suggest based on DECLG estimated numbers of houses affected the cost of remediation could be in the region of €780m for pre 2012 dwellings.
Quote from Minister Kelly:
While I fully appreciate and acknowledge the extremely difficult and distressing situations that householders have to deal with when faced with the consequences of the use of defective materials or poor workmanship, building defects are, in general, matters for resolution between the contracting parties involved, i.e. the owner, the builder, the manufacturer, supplier, quarry owner and/or their respective insurers. In the event that the contracting parties cannot reach a settlement by negotiation the option of seeking redress in the Courts can be considered.
Local Authorities are tasked with policing of construction material markets.
Under the new regulstions SI.9 the situation remains unchanged and Local Authorities have not received any additional resources for this task.
For a link to the Dáil exchange click here. Transcript is below.
Written answers, Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Department of Environment, Community and Local Government
Michelle Mulherin (Mayo, Fine Gael)
563. To ask the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government the number of houses, both private and social, in County Mayo that have been reported to his Department as having pyrite damage; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39889/14]
Alan Kelly (Tipperary North, Labour)
In late October 2013, Mayo County Council submitted a report to my Department on problems with the cracking of concrete blocks used in the construction of two local authority estates. In May of 2014, the Council notified my Department that two houses in another local authority estate may also be affected. As matters stand, my Department understands that a total of 17 houses in the three local authority estates are affected by the cracking in the blockwork. The majority of these dwellings appear to have been constructed between 2000 and 2002.
In early March 2014, my Department also met with a number of private homeowners whose homes are similarly affected by structural problems. The problems appear to concern approximately 15 houses and the period of construction for the houses involved was 1997 to 2002. My Department has not been made aware of other dwellings affected by structural problems in the blockwork in County Mayo.
While I fully appreciate and acknowledge the extremely difficult and distressing situations that householders have to deal with when faced with the consequences of the use of defective materials or poor workmanship, building defects are, in general, matters for resolution between the contracting parties involved, i.e. the owner, the builder, the manufacturer, supplier, quarry owner and/or their respective insurers. In the event that the contracting parties cannot reach a settlement by negotiation the option of seeking redress in the Courts can be considered. In this regard, I believe that the responsible parties should face up to their responsibilities and take appropriate actions to provide remedies for the affected homeowners. [emphasis by Bregs Blog]
The Building Regulations 1997 – 2014 set out the legal requirements for the construction of new buildings (including houses), extensions to existing buildings as well as for material alterations and certain material changes of use to existing buildings. The regulations are divided in to 12 Parts (classified as Parts A to M), and Technical Guidance Documents (TGDs) are published to accompany each of the parts and provide guidance indicating how the requirements of each part can be achieved in practice. Where works are carried out in accordance with the relevant technical guidance, such works are considered to be, prima facie, in compliance with the relevant regulation(s).
Primary responsibility for compliance with the requirements of the Building Regulations rests with the designers, builders and owners of buildings. Responsibility for enforcement is delegated under the Building Control Act 1990 to local building control authorities who are independent in the exercise of their statutory powers. The use of these powers is, however, subject to a statute of limitations of five years from the date of completion of the buildings concerned.
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