Minister O’Brien welcomes the report of the working group examining defects in purpose-built apartments and duplexes constructed between 1991 and 2013

Published on: 29 July 2022


The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, has today published the report of the working group he established to examine defects relating to fire safety, structural safety and water ingress in purpose-built apartment and duplex buildings constructed in Ireland between 1991 and 2013.

Welcoming the report, the Minister said:

“This report fulfils an important Programme for Government commitment in relation to defects and examines the legacy of fire safety, structural safety and water ingress defects in purpose built apartment buildings, including duplexes, constructed between 1991 and 2013. Importantly, it gives us a strong basis of which to work on.

The level of consultation and engagement that the Working Group undertook with stakeholders and interested parties both here and abroad was extensive. As a result the report is rich in data regarding the nature and scale of these defects as well as the cost of addressing defects.”

Having consulted widely and at length with stakeholders and interested parties, the Working Group estimates that of apartments and duplexes (or associated common areas) constructed between 1991 and 2013, the number that may be affected by one or more defects (i.e. fire safety-, structural safety- and water ingress defects) is likely to range between 50% and 80%. This equates to between 62,500 and 100,000 apartments/duplexes.

Fire safety defects were found to be the most prevalent defects; it is estimated that 40% to 70% of properties may be affected by fire safety defects. Water ingress defects may affect an estimated 20% to 50% of properties, while structural safety defects may affect an estimated 5% to 25% of properties.

The Working Group estimates that the average cost of undertaking the remediation of defects is likely to be approximately €25,000 per apartment/duplex. This translates into a potential overall total remediation cost ranging from approximately €1.56 billion to €2.5 billion. Remedial works may already have been completed in respect of up to 12% of the affected properties. Up to 34% of the affected properties may now be in the process of carrying out remedial works.

The Working Group concluded that there is no single cause of defects; they tend to arise due to a variety of design, product, inspection, supervision and workmanship issues, occurring either in isolation or in various combinations.

The Working Group makes recommendations in relation to the planning, prioritisation and resourcing of remedial works. It identifies approaches in relation to life safety protection, inspection and certification. Where necessary, to enable continued use of affected buildings, interim measures should be carried out, pending the implementation of full remedial works.

The Working Group considered existing and historical schemes in Ireland, and the approaches taken in response to defects in other countries, including the funding mechanism utilised. The report presents funding options and options for the deployment of funding.

Thanking the Chair, Séamus Neely, and all members of the Working Group for their commitment in meeting the extensive terms of reference, the Minister said:

“I would like to thank all the members of the Working Group for the work they have undertaken in preparing such a comprehensive report in what was a tight timeframe. This reflects the urgency that I believe is necessary to address this issue for affected homeowners.”

The Minister welcomed that the information contained in the report saying:

“The content of this report confirms what we already know – there is a significant and widespread issue with defects in a large number of apartments and duplexes that were built between 1991 and 2013.

The evidence gathered by the Working Group along with the options for potential supports contained in the report will be of considerable assistance in informing Government’s next steps.

This report provides a very useful set of recommendations that I will now examine in detail. I will also give this report full consideration, in consultation with Government colleagues, and in developing a plan to address the situation that many homeowners find themselves in through no fault of their own.

Upon my appointment as Minister I said that this was a nettle we had to grasp and I am very much committed to helping those whose lives have been impacted by this issue. I believe this report will help us do just that.”