Fixing defective apartments could cost State up to €1 billion

ireland
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O'Brien.
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Kenneth Fox

Fixing defective apartments across the State could cost more than €1 billion, while developers who built affected homes are still active under new names in some instances, an Oireachtas committee has been told.

As the Irish Times reports, the joint Oireachtas housing committee heard evidence on Tuesday from groups representing owners of homes impacted by building defects, as well as affected individual homeowners.

The Construction Defects Alliance (CDA) told the committee it estimates there are 100,000 units impacted, with a median cost of about €15,000 per home to remedy defects, usually related to fire safety or water ingress.

Des McCabe of the Apartment Owners Network told the committee that obtaining more precise costs should be an objective of a working group being set up by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, but “at the moment, we’re looking at a billion [euro] plus, based on 100,000 units.”

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The committee also heard evidence from owners who have paid or are paying thousands of euro to remedy fire safety defects. Ciara Holland said her two-bedroom Dublin home was affected by fire safety defects, which ultimately cost her more than €16,000.

She said: “My developer is still in operation. He actually was recently granted planning permission, just down the road from me.”

She objected to her local authority against the new development, but it was approved. “The county council were fully aware that they previously built defective homes, that hadn’t complied with the granted fire certificate. But they granted planning permission anyway.”

She said she was “shocked and disgusted”. “The regulatory environment just doesn’t work, it doesn’t protect the innocent people. I have two little girls, and I put them to bed, all their little lives in a fire-defective home.”

Barry Mulhern, who is being asked to pay €15,000 to remedy safety issues in his home, told the committee: “We know for a fact that the developer that built our apartments is still trading under a different name but is doing substantial works.”

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