About the CDA
Safe As Houses? Report
The issue of defects in apartment blocks very much came into the public eye with the problems in Priory Hall, however, it was very much seen as an outlier. However, during the middle part of this decade more and more issues starting coming to public attention and, as a result, the Oireachtas Housing Committee started to examine the issue in some detail.
Out of this process, the Safe As Houses? report emerged. It was completed in December 2017 and was published in January 2018 setting out clear proposals to help apartment owners trying to sort out their defective homes including:
The establishment of a redress scheme to assist homeowners with latent defects;
Provision of an information and advice service for those affected by defects;
Redress scheme to be funded through industry levy matched by Government funding, tax write offs or interest-free loans.
Despite the fact that in May 2018, the Dáil voted to support these recommendations, the Government have not implemented them. The Construction Defects Alliance has been set up to campaign for the implementation of these proposals.
Creation of Construction Defects Alliance
The Alliance has its origins in the Beacon South Quarter (BSQ) Lobby Group which has been campaigning for the last couple of years for action for homeowners affected by defects and its work is currently funded by the BSQ Owners’ Management Company (OMC).
Through the BSQ Lobby Group’s campaigning work other individual owners and OMCs approached for support and got involved in the campaign. Ultimately, as the numbers involved began to grow, the Alliance was set up in autumn 2019 as an informal grouping focused on getting redress for apartment owners as proposed by the Oireachtas Housing Committee.
The Construction Defects Alliance has the support of the Apartment Owners’ Network (AON) – currently involving owners and OMCs from dozen different locations around the country which are affected by construction defects. it also have active involvement from some of the professionals who are working with the owners and OMCs concerned.
While the Construction Defects Alliance is focused on delivering the Safe as Houses? report’s recommendations, it is eager to explore if the current Government could facilitate soft loans to help ease the pain for owners who are having to pay levies – on top of their mortgages and service charges – to remediate defects. From the State’s perspective, such a proposition does not involve it signing the dreaded ‘blank cheque’ and still enables it to assist people who are experiencing real stress and pressure.
A system of tax breaks should be put in place – like the Home Renovation Incentive scheme – to help take the sting out of the levies homeowners are having to pay. The Beacon South Quarter Lobby Group proposed such a measure in its Pre-Budget Submission which was received by Government in early July.
It’s important to reiterate that these proposals are not the Alliance’s preferred solution – but they represent acceptable interim measures that would offer some relief to those affected by structural defects they did not cause.