Property firm to contribute €1m to pyrite board

A Dublin property development firm is to contribute €1m to the Pyrite Resolution Board to assist with the cost of carrying out work on homes affected by sub-standing construction material.

The Pyrite Resolution Board has revealed that Charles Gallagher Limited, paid €400,000 last year as a result of a full and binding legal agreement with two further contributions of €300,000 due on October 1 and on the same date in 2017.

The building company which is run by Gregory Gallagher, a Howth-based developer, was held liable for the use of pyrite in an unnamed development.

The PRB was established in January 2014 to oversee a scheme to remediate residential properties that were affected by pyrite, after problems with a large number of housing estates emerged in various parts of the country.

Pyrite is a mineral found in rocks which if used in construction material can swell from the combination of air and moisture, resulting in cracks in floors and walls of a property.

In its latest annual report, the board revealed it had also reached an agreement with Homebond, the company which provides structural defect cover to new homes, that it would contribute €2m towards the cost of the scheme through staffing and services.

The PRB has also commenced legal proceedings against builders and developers for a contribution towards the costs of remedial works.

Up to the end of 2015, the board had received €484,000 from liable parties including Charles Gallagher, while further actions are still ongoing including legal proceedings against a developer relating to 80 homes in a housing estate in Fingal.

An average of €58,850 is being spent to carry out remedial works on each home affected by pyrite under the Government-backed scheme.

The figures includes allowances for residents to move to alternative accommodation while repair work was being carried out on their homes.

The PRB spent just over €10.2m last year under the pyrite remediation programme on top of almost €800,000 in 2014.

Almost 1,000 applications were received by the end of 2015 with 744 claims approved by the Housing Agency.

A total of 19 applicants have had their request for assistance rejected. Six decisions were appealed. Two were subsequently withdrawn, while another two were disallowed.

The other two cases which arose from the refusal to include extensions were successfully appealed.

A total of 375 applications were made to the PRB last year with 250 coming from people living in Fingal Co Council.

Towns with the highest number of applications to date are Balbriggan (165), Lusk (158), Ashbourne (154) and Rush (101).

Residents of seven local authorities are eligible for the scheme: Dublin City, Fingal, South Dublin, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, Kildare, Meath and Offaly.

An expert group is also examining houses in parts of Dongal and Mayo affected by pyrite to see if they should be included in the remediation scheme.

A total of 153 dwellings had remedial work completed by the end of last year, while works contracts were in place for a further 184 houses and apartments in ten developments.

The board’s chairman, John O’Connor, the scheme had a target of completing remedial work on 600 homes by the end of this year.

Mr O’Connor said the board was continuing to receive a steady stream of new applications of around 30 per month with most coming from housing estates that were already the subject of applications.

He said remediation works would peak this year but would also continue on a significant scale into 2017 before continuing on a reduced sale thereafter.

According to the latest figures, a total of 1,248 applications had been received by mid-July with remedial works completed on 358 homes.

Mr O’Connor said in most cases remedial work on homes affected by pyrite had been completed within the 12-week target timeframe.


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