Council foots bill to make firetrap apartments safe

Major fire safety defects were uncovered in an estate of apartments in north county Dublin, the Irish Examiner has learned.

Council foots bill to make firetrap apartments safe

The estate of timber-frame apartments and duplexes was found to have a dozen defects that effectively rendered the homes as firetraps. Up to 200 homes are understood to have been affected by the construction deficiencies.

Remedial work was undertaken and paid for by Fingal County Council on 55 homes, including 11 which were privately owned. The Irish Examiner understands it was deemed necessary for the council to pay for the work on private homes for reasons of access to the council-owned properties.

The problems in the estate were uncovered following an investigation into fire safety issues in 2012, six months after the evacuation of Priory Hall inCo Dublin, according to documents released under the Freedom of Information act.

Priory Hall had to be evacuated on foot of a fire safety order because of major deficiencies. The cost of rebuilding the complex is estimated to be €27m, for which Dublin City Council is footing the bill.

The defects uncovered in the north county Dublin estate were of a similar nature to those uncovered in other timber-frame estates, including Millfield Manor in Newbridge, where a fire razed a terrace of six homes in half an hour in March 2015.

Among the problems uncovered were:

  • Apartment entrance hall partitions not carried full height/fire stopped to underside of fire-rated ceiling layer of compartment floors;
  • Non completion of fire doors, missing smoke seals, gaps around fire doors not fire stopped;
  • Lack of adequate fire stopping around PVC and waste stacks in kitchens and bathrooms.

The development was constructed in 2004 and fire safety certificates were issued between 2004 and 2006. These certificates are issued for the design of buildings, and the deficiencies suggest the apartments were not built according to design.

According to the report to the council, a number of options were available, but: “It is clear that in every option the buildings will require to comply with the standards in respect of fire safety as set down in the building regulations.”

The estate joins the growing list of those which have now been found to have been built to a standard not suitable for fire safety in the years of the building boom.

Firetrap Homes: TV3 Investigates presented by Michael Clifford, airs tonight at 9pm

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