Over 90,000 Affected
During the Celtic Tiger years over 131,000 apartments were built and it’s estimated that – of those – around 70% – or over 91,000 – are affected by construction defects.
The defects largely relate to water ingress – or leaks – and fire defects. In relation to fire, the defects mainly consist of a lack of fire stopping – the material that stops the spread of fire from one home to another. Clearly this is vital in the context of apartment developments where – without proper fire stopping – fire can quickly spread from one home to another.
In Breach of Regulations
The defects – particularly the lack of fire stopping – are in breach of the Building Regulations and occurred because of the weak system of enforcement and compliance building in Irish construction.
During the Celtic Tiger years there was no effective system of independent inspection of construction works to ensure it was being carried out in accordance with the Regulations. Those involved in the construction process self-certified that their work was carried out in compliance with the Building Regulations. It’s clear that in relation to the vast majority apartments built between 2000 and 2008, this was not the case.
Costly to Rectify
Rectifying the defects caused by shoddy construction is a very costly and time-consuming process. Costs vary from between €3,000 per apartment up to almost €50,000 with the average seeming to be around €15,000.
And here’s the real issue. Apartment owners are being left to pay for these defects – which occurred through no fault of theirs – because most of those involved in the original construction process have gone bust or set up joint venture or special purpose vehicle companies that have since been liquidated. The State, which let the owners down by its failure to ensure compliance with its own Regulations, has – to date – refused to assist the apartment owners concerned as they it is a private contractual matter between the owners and the those involved in the construction process who are bust or are long since gone.
This is clearly unfair and unjust.