Local Authorities take over fewer than 1,200 NAMA Housing units in four years


16 July 2015

NAMA made 6,391 units available for social housing but only 1,198 ( less than 20%) have been taken up by local authorities in a four year period.

€25m of public money has so far been been spent by NAMA to bring substandard residential units up to Local Authority standards.

In the Dáil on 30th June 2015, Gabrielle McFadden T.D. (Fine Gael) queried the number of units identified by NAMA for social housing, and the take-up by Local Authorities for the period 2012 to date. NAMA took over control of these housing units from failed housing developers in the crash. She also asked if enough efforts were being made to accelerate this and address the current housing crisis.

For full exchange click here:  Dáil 30th June 2015 30th June 2015

The Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, in his reply noted that there were only 1,200 units for this four year period (2012 to Q1 2015), and that significant works were required to bring speculatively built units up to social housing standards. The number quoted by the minister represents less than 20% of the NAMA units identified as available:

“in the vast majority of cases, the properties for which demand has been confirmed require substantial completion or remediation work and the resolution of compliance issues in relation to planning conditions, and regulatory standards, title issues and Multi-Unit Development Act compliance including transfer of common areas and insolvent management companies. It is NAMA’s policy and practice that all properties are completed to a high standard, in compliance with all relevant planning and building regulations. In this context, NAMA has to date provided over €25m for completion works to facilitate the delivery of properties for social housing.”

A breakdown of the total number of units, from 2012 to Q1 2015, is as follows (source: Dáil):

Year : Number

  • 2012 : 229
  • 2013 : 367
  • 2014 : 472
  • 2015 : 130 (Q1)

Total : 1198 (to Q1 2015)

The following County Councils had no delivery of NAMA social housing units in this period: Wicklow , Tipperary, Sligo, Roscommon, Mayo, Longford, Leitrim, Laois, Donegal and Cavan. Cork City & County had just 132 units delivered in four years.

Despite the widely heralded plans by current Minister of the Environment Alan Kelly last November to dramatically increase social housing output and provision, the supply levels out of NAMA are inconsequential.

What are the reasons for this? Is it that in some cases the location is not appropriate? Or simply is it that the standard of construction of NAMA speculative residential units is poor? Dáil figures indicate that units offered by NAMA require considerable work, on average over €20,000 per unit, to bring them up to acceptable standards.

Other posts of interest:

Getting Our Housing in Order | Vivian Cummins

Peter McVerry says he’d be embarrassed if he was Alan Kelly | Journal

Realistically, the industry will probably manage to build a total of 9,000 houses a year | CIF

Construction Sector starting to slowdown | Central Statics Office

House completions continue to stall | Department of the Environment

More Fire Safety evacuations, European Committee of Social Rights court case & uninhabitable rented housing | NEWS

1 thought on “Local Authorities take over fewer than 1,200 NAMA Housing units in four years

  1. Michael O'Neill MRIAI


    “Local Authorities take over fewer than 1,200 NAMA Housing units in four years”



    The real issue is not the cost of repairs, This is a red herring. The real issue is the lack of delivery.

    20,000 Euro to remedy a defective property that has been abandoned is not significant and might have been just a cosmetic touch-up job and re-fit, by which I mean; –

    install external windows and doors
    install internal doors, architraves and sirtings
    renew hardware
    paint/stain all timbers
    strip and re-paper the walls
    carpet for the hall stairs landing
    spec timber floored lounge
    fully tiled kitchen, WCs and bathroom(s)

    This is merely finishing work. This would be essential if the house has been left exposed to the elements for any length of time since it was abandoned. This is per the Contract to Part D standards. This will eat up 20,000 Euro.

    Where a house is deemed significantly non-compliant following an Inspection Team Review (Architect + Civil & Structural Engineer + Mechanical 7 Electrical Engineer + Fire Safety Engineer + radon gas inspector) it might cost 50,000 Euro nett cost for the builder (i.e. without profit) to remedy.

    This is EXCLUDING the cost of professional assessment, where the issues could involve (assuming some internal drywall construction or studding out):

    Opening up at corners at ground level to see if house is “square” on the foundations or has foundations
    Opening up walls to check development of cracking/ installing and monitoring cracks with Demec gauges
    Opening up walls to check cavities for insulation placement, wall ties, spacing, full bed and perpend joints in blockwork/brickwork, adequate beam supports at opes, existence of beams at opes and/or alterations made during works, DPMs carried out over external opes and extension abutments and full-fill insulation completeness.
    Infra-red photography to check for cavity fill and cold spots.
    Air-tightness check.
    All services and systems checking, testing and re-commissioning.
    Check support framing and sealing to tiles for kitchen worktops, WHBs, baths, shower trays.
    Check upper level wet rooms for floor tray installation or equal approved.
    Opening up floor(s) to check for DPM/ Radon Gas Barrier/ Radon Sump and pipework
    Removing plasterboard to check insulation and vapour check
    Removing plasterboard to check trimming and timbers generally around chimney breast
    Removing plasterboard at window opes and wall-ceiling junctions to check for fire sealing and depth
    Removing plasterboard at ceiling to check for fire sealing to external wall (not wall plasterboard) MVHR penetrations and downlighters, adequate thickness of plasterboard and minimum joist sizes
    Checking all services pipes, runs, penetrations and gradients, including sealing of holes in walls, sealing of DPM / Radon barrier around pipes,
    Checking ground conditions to ensure water run off is diverted/does not affect foundations
    Checking boundary walls/fences to ensure suitability and adequacy of supports
    Checking Main and Garage roofs for bracing, sizes of elements, post-erection cutting, splitting of minimal timbers, support for tanks, wall plate sizing
    Checking correct strapping of wall plates to masonry – both length and spacing of straps
    Checking fire sealing of penetrations at First floor / Ground floor ceiling, including downlighters, MHVR vent openings.
    Checking fire sealing / fire door installation at and around integral/abutting garage including 100m step down
    Checking fire sealing of Party Wall to roof underside, including up to and above felt to meeting roof covering proper.
    Checking attic insulation for dampness, proper ventilation of space

    This is not exhaustive list. As you an see, there is a lot of work checking a house for compliance never mind actually making it compliant. You could pay 20,000 just in professional fees.

    But I suspect this disastrous conglomeration of central and local government is making do with a builders inspection. This is not clear. I could be wrong. Someone prove me wrong.

    One thing is crystal clear; –

    Anyone who certifies that an abandoned house, partly built during the height of the boom, is 100% compliant without at least carrying out these checks cannot support their position.


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