Homeowners affected by defective concrete blocks due to mica content will be sorely disappointed with the report of the expert panel, which has failed to announce the launch of a redress scheme.
The defective blocks have had devastating consequences for family homes, creating cracks on external walls and corners, and blockwork displacement which causes gaps to appear around window and external door openings. At present, owners of the homes affected struggle to pay for the investigations needed to begin remedial work.
The details of the expert panel report – released today – still need to be examined carefully but in the meantime, I have put together a summary of the key findings I would like to highlight:
Key findings of the Mica Report
- The panel estimates that up to 4,800 private dwellings are potentially affected in Donegal.
- Regrettably, the report doesn’t make any recommendation of a redress scheme.
- The report doesn’t identify where liability rests even though the purpose of this report is to assist the parties directly involved in their efforts to reach a satisfactory resolution of these matters.
- One of the recommendations is that existing building controls are fully enforced for all house building to give confidence to individual homeowners that their significant investment is not wasted.
- The panel concludes that the nature of the problem is manifested primarily by the disintegration of the concrete blocks used in the construction of the affected dwellings.
- The panel suggests that the extractive and concrete products industry assess their onsite quality control measures to ensure full compliance with their legal obligations, relevant harmonised standards, that their products are always fit for purpose and suitable for the conditions in which they are to be used.
Background to the Mica Report
The expert panel was established to investigate the problems that emerged from defective concrete blockwork in Donegal and Mayo homes. It was chaired by Mr. Dennis McCarthy, on behalf of the Minister for the Environment. Mr. McCarthy is a former director of services with Waterford County Council.
The expert panel had 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 to establish the nature of the problem in the affected dwellings – this included consultation with affected homeowners, public representatives, local authorities, product manufacturers, building professionals, testing laboratories, industry stakeholders and other relevant parties.
- To outline a range of technical options for remediation and the means by which those technical options could be applied.
Mica – what still needs to happen
What I would like to see happening now:
- Ultimately an announcement by the Minister that he will be setting up a redress scheme like the Pyrite Redress Scheme.
- A full detailed comprehensive investigation carried out by the Department of Environment into the suspected suppliers of these blocks.
- Proposals on how to address the appropriate remedial building work for the homes affect and how to certify that work, once it has been completed. At present, homeowners cannot afford to pay for the kind of detailed investigations they would need to help them determine remedial work.
- Follow-up action to ensure this issue doesn’t occur again- which doesn’t rely on self-regulation by the industry: I feel we need a Regulatory body over the entire Construction Industry as exists for the financial services, insurance and food industries.
How Mica affects homeowners
Defective blocks have created a huge a nightmare for homeowners -many of whom have had to leave their homes – are facing:
- Huge costs associated with remedial works.
- Diminished market value consequent to the defect.
- Difficulties in renewing home insurance on their property.
- Getting certification from Engineers on partial remedial works.
- Limited redress options as some have purchased their home from a Developer who is no longer in business or previous homeowner with no traceability or proof of which company supplied the materials.
If your home has been affected by Mica, then please feel free to call us on +353 74 9129243 or email firstname.lastname@example.org