Pyrite Action Group Meeting on the Pyrite Resolution Board 11th June 2013

A very successful meeting of the Pyrite Action Group took place on the evening of the 11th of June 2013 at the ALSAA Leisure Complex at Dublin Airport. Once more this was chaired by Peter Lewis of the Pyrite Action Group and it was a very successful evening with a number of local politicians present including Clare Daly TD and Helen McEntee TD. Their presence certainly brought clarity to a number of issues and questions raised by the audience particularly in relation to the workings of the Pyrite Resolution Board. Some of the questions that were raised are as follows:

  1. Building Condition Assessment Report discussion.

A member of the audience asked whether their old Engineering Report which had been prepared for submission to Homebond would now satisfy the Pyrite Resolution Board, as their Building Condition Assessment Report (BCAR). “It was the consensus of the committee that the Pyrite Resolution Board could not accept any previous engineering reports and that they will require building condition assessment reports to be carried out in accordance with Is 398 Part 1. This procedure under IS398 Part1 has been adopted to standardise the type of reports that are submitted and they are not willing to accept others outside of this type at the moment.”

Both Clare Daly and Helen McEntee however stated that it would be advisable that any engineering reports that a homeowner has should be submitted to the Pyrite Resolution Board in conjunction with the required BCAR. This will aid the resolution board in recognising how long this problem has in fact been occurring within a particular homeowner’s dwelling.

 2. The Cost of the Assessment Report:

This question was raised by a resident from Enfield who stated that he had a recent BCAR carried out and that it cost him €1500.00. Aidan O’Connell, Consulting Engineer was asked by the committee as to what would reasonably be expected to be charged for this type of service. Rather than giving a specific price for each type of property, which would be difficult to do without viewing the house, he stated that a competent experienced Engineer working in the pyrite field should be able to ascertain whether a house will have a damage condition rating 2 very quickly. He further suggested that it might be beneficial for a group of residents to get together and to have a quick review of their properties initially carried out to ascertain which properties would most likely obtain a damage condition rating 2 and for those houses immediately to proceed to have the BCAR carried out and those that are likely to only obtain the level of “amber” may wish to hold off until the property has degraded further.

However it was also suggested by the committee that homeowners might wish to have their properties registered as a pyrite affected house even though they may not have reached the damage condition rating No.2.

 3.  Amber Properties:

There was a lot of irate discussion among the audience at this meeting who stated that it was very unfair that the properties that will only be remediated will be restricted to those having a damaged condition rating No.2.  Currently there are no plans by the Pyrite Resolution Board to deal with houses that have got progressive damage within them and it is currently unclear whether those that have progressive damage and reach damage condition rating No.2 will then be remediated. The opinion of the politicians present was that all properties that reach a damage condition rating No.2 will be repaired but that those that get into damage condition rating No.2 in the first instance will be dealt with as first priority and those that progress into damage condition rating No.2 will be dealt with at second level priority.

 4.  General issues Discussed:

 The fact that Homebond are now part of the Pyremco Company raised very serious concerns at the meeting within the audience. A number of members of the audience stated that they had reports and letters from Homebond confirming that they have pyrite damage and also confirming that Homebond were going to repair their dwellings. However they then stated that they subsequently received letters from Homebond stating that they would not be carrying our repairs to their dwellings. These members of the audience queried whether these reports both engineering and geological coupled with the confirmation letters from Homebond would allow them to proceed straight to the top of the queue for houses to be remediated, considering that Homebond are now part of the Pyremco Organisation.   The committee stated that as far as they were aware all properties to be remediated by the Pyrite Resolution Board would have to follow the IS398 Part 1 protocols.

Further discussion also took place as to the exact role of Homebond within Pyremco and how they would be carrying out the geological testing and the issuing of certificates for houses. The process identified within IS398 is that the BCAR is carried out by an independent competent Chartered Engineer or Chartered Building Surveyor and following their designation of a damage condition rating No.2 for a dwelling, the geological testing of the infill material would then be carried out by an independent testing organisation. Now that Pyremco, incorporating the ICF, CIF and Homebond will be taking over the testing, this was seen at this meeting as not being independent. IS398 Part 1 stipulates that the engineer carrying out the BCAR would take the independent geological testing results and finally issue a certificate on the house, Green, Amber or Red. With this new involvement of Pyremco into the testing procedures, the inspecting engineer will not be able to issue any such certificate. It was intimated that Pyremco could never be seen to be independent and no engineer could issue a Certificate based on results emanating from Pyremco.

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