Longboat Quay: Apartment owners may have to pay millions for remedial fire safety work

More than 600 people will be forced to leave their homes in Dublin unless remedial fire safety work is carried out immediately.

On August 14, Dublin Fire Brigade wrote to representatives of the Longboat Quay development threatening to have the building evacuated unless a date to begin the work was agreed within two weeks. The Irish Examiner understands funding has yet to be secured for the works.

Longboat Quay, which was built in 2006, is a 298-unit development of privately owned apartments on Sir John Rogerson Quay, for which the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) is nominal landlord.

Representatives for the management firm replied to the fire brigade assuring that “it is expected that the commencement date for the works will be no later than the end of October 2015”.

Longboat Quay: Apartment owners may have to pay millions for remedial fire safety work

However, it is unclear how this work will be paid for.

As first revealed by the Irish Examiner in January, Dublin Fire Brigade had considered evacuation 14 months ago when it became aware of the extent of major fire safety issues.

Following negotiations with the management company, the DDDA, and Dublin City Council, the fire brigade then agreed to delay any such order providing fire marshals were installed on a 24-hour basis until work on the deficient fire alarm system was completed.

Last February, a schedule of remedial work was agreed with the fire brigade and a tender process initiated. That process is complete but the issue of funding remains unresolved.

Longboat Quay: Apartment owners may have to pay millions for remedial fire safety work

A management company spokesman said it “has been actively pursuing all parties involved to ensure that a safe building is delivered, and the cost of delivering that is borne by the parties who bear responsibility”.

“We accept it is likely that some of the cost will be borne by the owners because the developer is in receivership,” the spokesman said.

The DDDA funded most of the cost of installing the proper fire alarm system, but the public body is in the process of being wound up. If no more public money is available, the cost, understood to run to millions, will fall on apartment owners.

The development was built by a Bernard McNamara company, Gendsong, which has gone into liquidation. Mr McNamara declared himself bankrupt in the UK in 2009 and is now reported to have returned to the development business.

Longboat Quay: Apartment owners may have to pay millions for remedial fire safety work

In its letter to the management company’s consultant, Michael Slattery and Associates, the fire brigade said a fire safety notice would be served by August 31 if a date and timescale for the works was not agreed. The letter went on: “Whether or not a fire safety notice is served, you are also advised that the owner or occupier of the premises above may be liable for prosecution by reason of contravention of Part III of the fire safety acts 1981 and 2003.”

Questions submitted to Dublin Fire Brigade yesterday had not received a reply at the time of going to press.

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