Press Releases

Friday, 29th July 2022: Apartment Owners’ Network Welcomes Publication of “Defects in Apartments – Report of the Working Group to Examine Defects in Housing (July 2022)”

The Apartment Owners’ Network has welcomed the publication of the long-awaited report on legacy construction defects in apartments and called on the Government to act on its findings without delay. The report found that up to 80% of apartments constructed between 1991 and 2013 have fire safety defects, water ingress issues, structural safety issues or a combination of all three.

Des McCabe, Director of the Network, and a member of the Working Group said, “This report confirms, as expected, that many apartment buildings in Ireland have serious construction defects. Fire safety issues are most prevalent but many owners, via their Owners’ Management Companies (OMCs), are dealing with more than one type of defect. This experience has caused serious financial and emotional hardship for owners with an average cost of €25,000 per property.”

“This report is not news for most apartment owners – for many it has been a living nightmare for the past 15 years. The discovery of cavity walls without fire stopping, constant water ingress issues, the sleepless nights worrying if our families are safe and how we are going to afford the repairs. Owners had nowhere to turn for justice or help.”

“Owners, who bought properties in good faith, have been landed with huge bills to remedy defects. Many owners, working with their OMCs, have quietly paid these bills to avoid any negative publicity which might impact the value of their homes. They have effectively paid twice for what should have been built properly in the first place. Retrospective financial support for projects already completed or underway is a key recommendation of the report to ensure all owners are treated fairly. We call on the Government to immediately incorporate retrospective support in Budget 2023 so that OMCs can immediately raise the necessary funds from owner levies – apartment owners must be confident that if they put their hand in their pocket now to pay for the repair of defects, that they will not be excluded from any future government redress scheme. We must avoid the moral hazard of any delays to necessary health & safety repairs”, McCabe said.

“Construction defects have also further highlighted the need for reform and support for OMCs that are mainly run by volunteer owner-directors. Many OMCs that are already struggling to collect management fees, manage sinking funds and approve budgets, now also have to oversee multi-million euro construction defect projects which can be overwhelming for many volunteer directors to undertake.”

McCabe continued, “Apartment owners are aghast that construction companies, their directors and shareholders, who booked huge profits from the sale of apartments, can simply walk away from their legal and moral responsibility to build homes to a safe standard. Many of those responsible for construction defects continue to operate in the market today. The fact that up to 80% of apartments are impacted demonstrates that this is not an isolated issue of a few rogue players – it is a widespread systemic failure. We call on the Construction Industry to acknowledge their central role in this scandal and play their part in covering the cost of remediation.”

“Government must also acknowledge its role in overseeing a regime of light-touch regulation which facilitated an industry culture of sub-standard work practices to maximise profits at the expense of ordinary owners’ health & safety. The cost of light-touch regulation is now plain for all to see – estimated at up to €2.5bn.”

The Apartment Owners’ Network looks forward to working with all stakeholders to help bring the recommendations in the report to reality.

ENDS

Media enquiries: info@apartmentownersnetwork.org