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Legislation will set up apartment-repair scheme
Pic: RollingNews.ie

18 Jan 2023 / property Print

Legislation will set up apartment-repair scheme

The Government has approved the drafting of legislation that would set up a scheme to repair defects in apartments and duplexes built in Ireland between 1991 and 2013.

The Department of Housing said that the legislation would provide a statutory basis for a remediation scheme aimed at protecting the safety and welfare of those living in apartments or duplexes with fire-safety, structural-safety, and water-ingress defects.

A report by a Working Group to Examine Defects in Housing estimated last year that between 62,500 and 100,000 apartment or duplexes built in the period covered by the scheme might be affected by defects.

The average cost of remediation is estimated at around €25,000 per unit, which means the scheme could cost the Exchequer up to €2.5 billion.

Common areas included

Under the scheme, what the department describes as a ‘whole-building’ approach will be taken, ensuring that common areas and shared spaces are also remediated where needed.

Only defects linked to defective design, defective or faulty workmanship, or defective materials that were in contravention of building regulations applicable at the time of construction will be eligible for inclusion in the scheme.

Defects that originated in inadequate maintenance or poor management will not be included.

The Housing Agency will play a central role in administering the scheme, and owners’ management companies will be funded to carry out the necessary works, though there will be “specific limitations or exemptions” on certain commercial owners.

The Government has decided that works linked to fire safety, that have been entered into or started from today (18 January) will also be part of the scheme.

These will need to be agreed with local-authority fire services, but the department says that the details of this process will be worked out “as a priority”.

Building-standards regulator

Ministers have also backed the principle of allowing remediation costs already incurred or levied to be covered under the plan.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien (pictured) said that the Government had listened to calls from representatives of home-owners on this aspect of the issue, adding that the “details and mechanics” would be worked out as the legislation was drafted.

He said that the department would draft the legislation “as quickly as possible”.

The minister added that the building-control system needed to be strengthened further to ensure that similar issues did not arise in the future.

“I remain committed to establishing an independent building-standards regulator, with effective powers of inspection and enforcement, and an appropriate suite of sanctions," he stated.

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