Minister Coffey announces establishment of expert group to investigate the problems that have emerged in concrete blocks in Donegal and Mayo
Mr. Paudie Coffey, T.D., Minister with Responsibility for Housing, Planning and Coordination of the Construction 2020 Strategy announced today (27 November, 2015) that he intends to establish an expert group to investigate the problems that have emerged in the concrete blockwork of certain dwellings in Donegal and Mayo in order to assist the parties directly involved in reaching a satisfactory resolution to their difficulties.
“I am acutely aware of the extremely difficult and distressing situations that affected homeowners in Donegal and Mayo are facing on account of damage to the structural integrity of their homes having visited a number of homes in Donegal earlier this year” said Minister Coffey. “While building defects are in the first instance, matters for resolution between the relevant contracting parties, i.e. the homeowner, the builder, the supplier and/or their respective insurers, I propose to set up a small expert group, with a strong technical background, to establish, insofar as it is possible, the number of affected dwellings in Donegal and Mayo, the root cause of the problems and the technical solutions for remediation.”
The expert group will have the following terms of reference:
- To identify, insofar as it is possible, the numbers of private dwellings which appear to be affected by defects in the blockwork in the Counties of Donegal and Mayo
- To carry out a desktop study, which would include a consultation process with affected homeowners, public representatives, local authorities, product manufacturers, building professionals, testing laboratories, industry stakeholders and other relevant parties, to establish the nature of the problem in the affected dwellings
- To outline a range of technical options for remediation and the means by which those technical options could be applied and
- To submit a report to the Minister of State by 31 May 2016
Arrangements are now underway to identify a suitable candidate to chair the expert group. Nominations will be sought from a number of professional bodies for suitable persons to participate on the group which it is envisaged will be comprised of technical experts. The Minister of State will announce the appointment of the chair shortly.
The problems with concrete blocks in north Donegal and Mayo first came to the attention of the Department in late 2013 suggested that the nature of the problem related to blocks crumbling which gave rise to structural problems in the affected dwellings. Impurities such as muscovite mica and pyrite have been identified as constituent elements within some of the affected blocks. The Mica Action Group, formed by a number of affected homeowners in Donegal, is actively campaigning on this issue and has provided a number of technical reports to the Department earlier this year to provide a scientific insight into the problems that have emerged in the affected dwellings in north Donegal.
“I look forward now to establishing the expert panel as soon as possible so that they can get to work and report back by 31st May 2016” added Minister Coffey.