Written answers

Thursday, 16 December 2021

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Defective Building Materials

Photo of Violet WynneViolet Wynne (Clare, Sinn Fein)
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336. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the reason the recent sliding-scale redress for homeowners accessing the defective concrete block scheme is not 100% redress given the motion that passed in Dáil Éireann on 15 June 2021 was in favour of 100% redress. [62668/21]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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I brought a Memorandum on an enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme to Government on the 30 November 2021 and it included an unprecedented suite of improvements to the current scheme. Government approved the enhanced scheme which it is estimated will cost approximately €2.2Bn. The comprehensive changes include:

- The current 90% maximum grant will be increased to a 100% grant for all remediation options 1-5

- The maximum grant cap for option 1 (demolition and rebuild) will be increased from €247,500 to €420,000

- The grant calculation methodology in respect of option 1 remediation will be based on a cost per square foot with costings to be set by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage in consultation with the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI). An indicative rate of €145 per square foot for the first 1,000 sq foot with a sliding scale thereafter has been announced by my Department and this will be subject to review as required in line with construction cost changes. In the case of remediation options 2-5 a similar but necessarily different approach will be taken to inform the appropriate rate for blockwork removal and replacement following consultation with SCSI

- A revised application process will be introduced which will only require the homeowner to submit an initial ‘Building Condition Assessment’ at minimal cost recoupable on entry to the Scheme. The Housing Agency will take over testing, sampling and categorisation of homes on behalf of homeowners and local authorities and will thereafter recommend the appropriate remediation option and grant amount for each home.

- Alternative accommodation and storage costs are to be included, subject to a maximum of €20,000

- In relation to works carried out under remediation options 2-5, a second grant option, will be available for such a home in the future if blockwork which was not removed as part of the initial remediation work subsequently proves defective in accordance with the IS:465 standard

- A new independent appeals process will be introduced

- The Scheme will be extended beyond the current scope of Principal Private Residences only, to also cover Residential Tenancies Board registered rental properties, subject to the introduction of a clawback mechanism upon re-sale within a set time period depending on the remediation option used. Opportunities for the State to acquire such rental properties for social housing purposes will also be examined.

Full details in relation to the changes announced are available at the following link:

www.gov.ie/en/press-release/e365e-minister-obrien-announces-enhancements-to-the-defective-concrete-block-scheme/.

Work is ongoing in my Department to bring forward the legislative requirements necessary to provide for the enhanced scheme.

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