Written answers

Wednesday, 29 May 2024

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Defective Building Materials

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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117. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government to list the recommendations made by the steering group comprised of officials from the relevant local authorities, his Department, the Housing Agency, and the homeowner's liaison officer for the first six months of the defective blocks scheme; if home owner representatives, aside from the HLO, were consulted during this six months review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24185/24]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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I commenced the Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Act 2022 (the Act) on 22 June 2023 which contains the enhanced grant scheme and adopted the related Regulations on 29 June 2023.

The enhanced grant scheme was legislated for following extensive consultation with all relevant stakeholders.

At the time of the Scheme launch, I established an Implementation Steering Group comprised of officials from the relevant Local Authorities, my Department, the Housing Agency, and the Homeowners' Liaison Officer (HLO) who have met several times over the last number of months and will keep the operation of the regulations and guidelines under review. In addition a subgroup of this group met in January and April of this year focusing on the financial aspects of the scheme and following these meetings my Department has issued updated guidance to local authorities that will enable eligible applicants have earlier access to grant funding for certain eligible works.

The Group assessed how the Scheme was operating in its first six months i.e. July to December 2023, within the legislative framework set down for it by the Oireachtas. They concluded that it is generally operating satisfactorily within these parameters. The Group made the following recommendations (see the table below.

- Recommendation Timeline
1 The emerging financial issues should be dealt with as expeditiously as possible within the designated sub-group structure. ASAP
2 A number of minor clarifying amendments to the Scheme Guidelines and the associated “Your Questions Answered” document need to be made in light of the issues raised in section 45 of this report. Q1 2024
3 A further targeted advert campaign to raise awareness of the Scheme in all relevant counties should be considered during 2024. 2024
4 The propagation of best practice approaches within the local authority sector should continue and the Implementation Group will continue to help all authorities to actively seek to work with each other in this regard 2024
5 The issue of incorrect/incomplete applications needs to be further analysed so that the unusually high number of Requests for Further Information (RFI) can be significantly decreased. Q1 2024
6 The Implementation Group should continue in its current form. It should meet with the same regularity as before until at least the end of 2024. 2024


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