Apartment firm sues over bill for €3.5m fire safety works

The Longboat Quay Management Company has initiated legal proceedings over liability for funding €3.5m fire safety works at the Dublin apartment complex.

Apartment firm sues over bill for €3.5m fire safety works

An application to have the case fast-tracked has been adjourned to facilitate efforts to resolve matters, the Commercial Court heard.

More than 600 residents of the 298 apartments at Longboat Quay are affected by fire safety notices which empower Dublin Fore Brigade to evacuate the complex should it consider that necessary. The complex was developed in 2006 by Gendsong Ltd, a company of developer Bernard McNamara, which later went into receivership. Among the management company’s claims is that the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) was obliged, under a December 2004 agreement, to ensure works at the complex were completed in a manner leaving it reasonably fit for immediate occupation. It is alleged the DDDA failed to do that.

It is also alleged both the DDDA and Gendsong are obliged to indemnify the management company for all costs, losses, and claims resulting from defects in the design, construction or certification of the development, or any losses due to lack of insurance, or underinsurance, of the development.

Fire safety concerns over the apartment complex date back to 2007 when the fire brigade attended the property and notified one or more residents the fire alarms were not loud enough, the management company claims. There was also extensive contact about fire safety with Dublin City Council and other parties over the years, particularly between 2009 and 2011 and from 2014, it was stated in court documents.

The management company says it was later told it must fund remedial works at a cost of more than €3.5m but cannot do so. It says fire safety notices were served on it in October 2015 in relation to the North and South Blocks of the development and fire safety notices were also served on the DDDA and Gendsong. It is not disputed fire safety works should be carried out as “a matter of urgency”, the company says. It disputes it has liability for those works and has appealed the notices served on it.

An application by the company to have its proceedings fast-tracked by the Commercial Court was adjourned yesterday to November 9 on consent of the sides. Patrick Leonard SC, for the company, said the adjournment was to allow for further discussions. This matter affects the lives of many people, should be resolved as soon as possible and requires a number of parties to resolve matters, counsel said. All sides have agreed to try and resolve it by early November, he added.

Counsel for the DDDA supported the application to have the matter put back. His side would resist the claims against them, counsel indicated.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern granted the adjournment.

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