Defective “Celtic Tiger” projects | The Cubes, Sandyford


18 August 2016

Towards the end of 2015 Taoiseach Enda Kenny said  “I don’t know how many Priory Halls & Longboat Quays are out there, I’m convinced there are others”.  Ministers at the time suggested that problems similar to those in Longboat Quay may be widespread with more defective projects to emerge (see Dáil discussion here).

The list of defective boom-time housing projects got longer this week.  Residents at The Cubes apartment complex in Sandyford in South Dublin are facing bills that could run into the millions to fix problems including mould and damp in their homes.  The Cubes are part of a large apartment complex developed by Paddy Shovlin’s Landmark Developments around 2007.  Many of the apartments were sold off the plans, with prices ranging from €500k up to €1.1m.

They were hailed at the time as luxury, desirable residences, designed around a courtyard.  An article in the Irish Independent this week “U2 stars among 200 investors suing over apartment complex” revealed that 200 investors bought more than they bargained for and have commenced a High Court action over alleged defects at the apartments.  Extract from article:

“One woman said she had been living in the apartment for around eight years, but the problems had only set in recently.  She said: “I have problems with the bathroom with damp and now there’s mould growing. “There are also problems around the windows and with the ventilation.”

Some of the residents said they were tenants with Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council or the Circle Voluntary Housing Association, while others owned the apartments or were renting.  The council was also named as one of the prosecuting parties in the case against the developers.

Calls to the management company of the complex were not returned last night and the council could not be contacted for comment…

There are more than 600 apartments in the development, however it us understood not all of them have been hit by the alleged defects.

Two engineering firms were employed in May to look into the problems at the apartments, especially those related to the cause of leaks on some of the balconies…

Development loans taken out by Shovlin were taken over by Nama, which appointed Mazars as the receiver of the development. Mazars has in turn appointed Aramark Property to manage the apartments.

When Landmark went into receivership, Nama injected more than €10m extra funding into the scheme.”

This story follows on from an alarming article last weekend in the Sunday Business Post (see link Here) about a fire report commissioned in 2012 by Fingal County Council  which was never published.  Although remedial work was carried out by the Local Authority to make 55 homes safe, Local Authority tenants were not made aware of the dangerous state the units were in at the time and were not evacuated.  The defects, it was suggested, are typical and may well affect many hundreds of units in private ownership.  Owners unwittingly have been living in defective and dangerous properties for years.

With recently announced massive stimulus measures aimed at the private housing sector by Minister Coveney, worryingly the state still has no role in testing compliance with building standards.  Remarkably, Ireland has maintained a unique ‘hands-off’ 100% system of self-certification of building standards, where developers can employ private building inspectors directly.  The spectre of owners seeking redress for defects for years through the courts will be with us for some time to come.


  1. Longboat Quay, Dublin (see RTE news link here)
  2. Gallery Quay, Dublin (see UTV news link here)
  3. Priory Hall, Dublin (see link here)
  4. Shangan Hall, Dublin (see pdf link here)
  5. Shankill, Dublin (see news link here)
  6. Balgaddy, Dublin (see Echo link here)
  7. Prospect Hill, Dublin (see Irish Independent link here)
  8. Belmayne, Dublin (see Irish Independent link here)
  9. Thornfield Square, Clondalkin, Dublin (see Irish Independent link here)
  10. Foxford Court, Lucan, Dublin (see Irish Independent link here)
  11. The Laurels, Dundrum, Dublin (see news link here)
  12. Ballymun, Dublin (see news link here)
  13. Gleann Riada, Longford (see Longford Leader link here)
  14. Millfield Manor, Newbridge, Kildare (see Irish Examiner link here)
  15. Old Court Estate,  Bray, Wicklow (see Irish Independent link here)
  16. Glentore, Athlone, Westmeath (see herald link here)
  17. Glending, Wicklow (see Irish Independent link here)
  18. Riverwalk Court, Ratoath, Meath (see Irish Examiner link here)
  19. Kentswood Court,  Navan, Meath (see Irish Times link here)
  20. Inishowen, Donegal (see news link here)
  21. Erris, Mayo (see Mayo News link here)
  22. Derrycorris, Edenderry, Offaly (see Offaly Express link here)
  23. Moneymore, Louth (see news link here)
  24. Ceol na hAbhann, Caherconlish, Limerick (see Limerick Leader link here)
  25. Dun Ard, Craughwell, Galway (see news link here)
  26. Moyross, Limerick (see Irish Examiner link link here)
  27. Parkland, Youghal, Cork (see Irish Examiner link link here)
  28. Elm Park, Merrion Road (see Irish Independent link here)
  29. Holywell estate, Swords, Dublin (See Sunday Business Post link here)
  30. The Cubes, Sandyford, Dublin (See Independent link here)

NOTE : In compiling this post, 25 other estates affected by pyrite have not been named due to reporting restrictions (See “Location of 25 estates in pyrite probes to stay secret” Irish Independent). Homes and estates affected by mica in Donegal similarly have not been included (See Pyrite + Mica | Continuing Problems)

Other posts of interest:

Priory Hall & Longboat Quay: “I’m convinced there are others” | Taoiseach Enda Kenny

The State still has no function in testing compliance of building regulations

Housing crisis and building inspection | Eoin O’Cofaigh

FACTCHECK: “If my house is defective, Do I have any rights?”

Firetrap Homes | “Fingal CoCo ‘head in the sand’ approach to building control”

Examiner | Housing Defects Special 

Michael Clifford: “when will we address cracks in construction?” Irish Examiner

You can still buy a non-compliant home…and it’s all perfectly legal | SI.9 Loopholes

Is the scene set for another Priory Hall? | Look Back 11

Defective schools | Are our children safe?

Further questions over Newbridge fire-trap houses that have ‘no resale value’

“ BCAR… is one of the key reasons behind the absence of new housing supply” | BARRY COWEN (FF)

Reintroduce State Inspection of Buildings | Mick Wallace T.D.

Here’s How to Avoid Another Longboat Quay | Dublin Inquirer

2 thoughts on “Defective “Celtic Tiger” projects | The Cubes, Sandyford

  1. Andrew Alexander MRIAI

    Sandyford must be one of the most exposed and coldest parts of Dublin.

    Possible leaks and mould arising in a project built from glazing and walling systems developed for a central European climate is maybe not surprising (in hindsight).

    That said some questions arise e.g. what problems manifested are due to lack of maintenance, drain clearance etc. Even if one had a completion cert for such a development post 2014, the lack of any obligation for owners to maintain their properties under SI.09 or lack of acknowledgement that a Cert relates to the state of a property in a particular day and time could, in the future, see many Assigned Certifiers associated with “defective” work. Indeed one could see the term “Defective Cert” arising in parallel with same.

    One of the tragedies arising from situations such as this, is that the economic crash was not used to develop, test drive and pilot study a new system of full local authority inspection for speculative residential developments when turnover of developments were low and manageable.

    This is what was done with BIM in Britain over a period of a decade when agreed methods and procedures for the construction of Heathrow terminal four were pilot studied in the Avanti Programme, took shape in PAS 1192, leading to roll out in all centrally publicly funded projects from April 2016 – and subject to periodic review.

  2. Michael O'Neill

    The Pyrite Panel Report states as follows:

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    “Scale of the pyrite problem

    The Panel endeavoured to establish the scale of the problem by estimating the number
    of ground floor dwellings that may have pyritic hardcore. Of the 74 estates identified
    to the Panel, the total number of ground floor dwellings is 12,250. Approximately 850
    of these have made a claim with a guarantee provider and approximately 1,100 have
    been remediated or are in the process of being remediated (on 12 estates). Therefore, in
    considering the extent of possible future exposure to pyritic heave, the Panel is of the view
    that, taking the most pessimistic view, there may be approximately 10,300 more dwellings
    with reactive pyrite present in the hardcore.

    The Panel understands that no claims have been made to guarantee companies on 23 of
    the identified estates nor is the Panel aware of substantial evidence to support the view
    that there are pyrite problems in these cases but, in an effort to provide an estimate of
    the possible maximum exposure, the figure is included. There are many reasons why not
    all ground floor dwellings on the identified estates will develop pyritic heave. For example,
    there may be more than one builder or subcontractor involved in an estate, each using
    different quarries (or indeed each using a number of different quarries) or the dwellings
    may have been constructed under different weather conditions that allowed oxidation of
    the pyrite to commence.
    Representatives of the structural defect guarantee companies who spoke with the Panel
    indicated that there is, understandably, a contagion phenomenon amongst homeowners on
    suspected estates. Generally, the number of pyrite-related complaints exceeds the number
    of formal claims made by approximately 25%. In addition, the structural defect guarantee
    companies have stated that not all claims have been proven to have pyrite related damage.

    While the remit of the Panel was confined to private housing, it also looked at the
    possible broader scale of the problem in public projects. Most of the organisations
    contacted reported that they had no incidence of pyrite problems. The Department of the
    Environment, Community and Local Government reported that three local authorities,
    (Fingal, Dublin City and Meath) had identified approximately 850 social and affordable units
    across 18 developments where there were suspected or confirmed cases of pyritic heave.
    The Department of Education and Skills identified three suspected cases of pyrite in schools.”
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    The Report of the Pyrite Panel June 2012 is located here

    Copy and paste all of it if the link does not translate.

    Alternatively here is a Tiny URL

    These condensed URLS don’t seem to last forever.


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