Developer has two weeks to submit safety plan for ‘firetrap’

The developer of a block of apartments labelled a firetrap, in a series of expert reports, has been given two weeks to submit a plan of remedial action or face High Court proceedings.

The director of services for Meath County Council has written to developer Michael Ryan, whose Saltan Properties built Riverwalk Court in Ratoath, demanding action on foot of an independent engineer’s report to condemn the apartment block.

Following media disclosures, and in particular the Irish Examiner, the council commissioned an independent engineer’s report a fortnight ago, and it arrived at similar conclusions to a public interest report handed to the council last July.

Among conclusions reached in the new report are:

  • Internal walls only had fire resistance of 30 minutes, half of the necessary time resistance required by law.
  • Electrical and other services breached the integrity of plasterboard designed to enhance fire resistance.
  • A complete absence of fire doors in the building.
  • Walls did not extend to the underside of the roof, compromising the integrity of the fire-stopping properties in the walls.
  • Some of the fire alarms were defective.

The report, compiled by Duffy Chartered Engineers, made 16 recommendations required to bring the building up to the required standard fire safety.

On foot of the report, the council’s director of services Des Foley wrote to both the residents’ management company, and Mr Ryan, who is still the owner of the common areas in the building.

“In the event of the recommendations of the enclosed report not being satisfactorily addressed, the council will have to consider the service of statutory notices pursuant to the provisions of the fire safety act 1981,”

Under section 20 of that act, the council may obtain an order to have the building evacuated, or may obtain a court order to compel the developer/owner to take immediate action to render the building safe.

At a meeting with residents yesterday, management in Meath County Council confirmed that it considers the fire safety certificate for the building to be invalidated.

Residents are advised not to use balconies on the second and third floor due to suspected safety issues.


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