“How many more Irish homes are in breach of Fire Regulations?

homeinspection-1080x675

29 September 2016

Elected Councillors in Local Authorities are concerned that they may have similar fire safety problems to those in Fingal County Council that affect the safety and welfare of not only Local Authority tenants but also private home owners.  They want to know how much County Councils already know, and whether they, like Fingal, are taking a “head in the sand approach to Building Control”.

In August it was revealed that a fire report commissioned in 2012 by Fingal County Council which identified serious breaches of fire regulations in a large housing development in Holywell in Swords remained unpublished for 4 years.  Although remedial work was carried out by the Local Authority to make 55 homes safe, Local Authority tenants and private owners were not made aware of the dangerous state the units were in at the time and were not evacuated.  Repairs appear to have been made when units became void and in a piecemeal basis.  The Local Authority prefer to leave tenants and owners live in dangerous homes rather than act or make them aware of the serious safety issues. 

The following question was put and answered before a South Dublin County Council meeting this week. See “Meeting of South Dublin County Council, Monday, September 26, 2016; QUESTION NO.12“: 


QUESTION 12: Councillor D. Looney

“To ask the Chief Executive to clarify the number of fire safety issues in houses within Council stock, including Part V houses and other acquisitions, which have arisen, year on year for the last ten years; to ask the Chief Executive to give details with regard to all of these issues; and to make a statement on the matter.”

REPLY:

Where the Council owns properties, including its extensive housing stock, it is responsible for issues of constructional quality, maintenance and safety in use.

The Council, in common with all other sellers of property, is required to include Opinions on Compliance with the Planning Acts and Building Regulations in the Conveyancy documents.

It is the responsibility of the purchaser’s legal team to protect the interest of the purchaser through careful examination of all contract documents. In the case of schemes not designed or supervised by the Council’s own architects e.g. schemes obtained by the Council under Part V or other such mechanisms, these Opinions will be provided by the developer/builder from his own Design-team consultants in accordance with Buildings Control Acts 1990 & 2007 – 2014. The extent of the Councils’ liability in these cases is still under review by the Supreme Court in the Priory Hall case and remains sub-judice.

For the above reasons, it is not possible to issue such a general indemnity to accept all and unknown remediation costs in private properties (outside Council ownership), which were sold or transferred by the Council.

To date only two larger schemes have been addressed under Fire Safety. In Cluain Aoibhinn in Clondalkin remediation was addressed and paid for by the developer. In Foxford Court, Ballyowen the remedial works are completed as contracted by the Developer but with additional contributions from the Foxford Court Management Company and South Dublin County Council who are the owners of a number of units in the scheme.


BRegs Blog have tracked media reports of thousands of defective houses and apartments- see list to follow.  Despite these legacy issues putting communities at risk, the State still has no function in testing compliance with Building Regulations (see link here).

LIST OF 30 DEFECTIVE MULTI-UNIT PROJECTS

  1. Longboat Quay, Dublin (see RTE news link here)
  2. Gallery Quay, Dublin (see UTV news link here)
  3. Priory Hall, Dublin (see Journal.ie link here)
  4. Shangan Hall, Dublin (see Irishconcrete.ie 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)

Posts of Interest:

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

Department of Environment regulatory failure | PYRITE 10 years on

“We will not tolerate any more Priory Halls” | Taoiseach Enda Kenny

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

Ministerial Review into Fire Safety is “…a joke” | Irish Examiner

“After 18 months of operation the industry view of SI.9 is pretty conclusive: it’s not working”

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

Defective schools | Are our children safe?

Building Regulations Reform & the Housing Crisis | Irish Examiner

Legal perspective: consumer benefit? BC(A)R SI.9 | look back 9

Pyrite + Mica | Continuing Problems

One thought on ““How many more Irish homes are in breach of Fire Regulations?

  1. Michael Tweed

    I hope everyone notes that the Chief Executive of South Dublin County Council didn’t actually reply to the question asked. Nowhere in the question did Councillor Looney ask about responsibility of the Council for property sold by the Council. So the points made in paragraph two, three and four are irrelevant. Nonetheless there is a glaring error in the Chief Executive’s reply. Prior to S.I.9 there was no requirement under either the Planning Acts or the Building Control Acts to provide Opinions on Compliance. Opinions on Compliance were invented by the RIAI to enable some sort of documentary proof of compliance in the absence of statutory approval documentation. Opinions of Compliance are outside the legalities of either the Planning Acts or the Building Control Acts and are only required by lending institutions to provide comfort in respect of title. While this is irrelevant in respect of fire safety issues it demonstrates how much misunderstanding there is and has been regarding the control of building since the introduction of the Building Control Act.
    The Chief Executive side-stepped clarifying the number of fire safety issues within Council stock. Clearly this was premeditated with the sole purpose of limiting possible financial responsibility on the part of the Council. Money is more important than lives it would seem.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *