Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (1542)

Róisín Shortall

Question:

1542. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to assist homeowners who have been assessed for level 1 pyrite damage and who are not currently eligible for assistance with pyrite remediation works; if he will review the situation in this regard (details supplied); if consideration can be given to providing grant contribution towards remediation works for level 1 homeowners; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18899/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 provides the statutory framework for the establishment of the Pyrite Resolution Board and for the making of a pyrite remediation scheme to be implemented by the Board with support from the Housing Agency.

The pyrite remediation scheme is a scheme of “last resort” and is limited in its application and scope. The full conditions for eligibility under the scheme are set out in the scheme which is available on the Board’s website, www.pyriteboard.ie.

The provisions of the Act apply only to dwellings affected by significant damage attributable to pyritic heave consequent on the presence of reactive pyrite in the subfloor hardcore material and not to damage arising in any other circumstance, e.g. such as pyrite in concrete blocks.

The scheme is applicable to dwellings, which are subject to significant damage attributable to pyritic heave established in accordance with I.S. 398-1:2017 - Reactive pyrite in sub-floor hardcore material – Part 1: Testing and categorisation protocol. In this regard, it is a condition of eligibility under the scheme that an application to the Board must be accompanied by a Building Condition Assessment with a Damage Condition Rating of 2. Dwellings which do not have a Damage Condition Rating of 2 are not eligible to apply under the scheme. This ensures that, having regard to the available resources, the focus of the scheme is on dwellings which are most severely damaged by pyritic heave. I have no proposals to amend this eligibility criterion.

The Report of the Pyrite Panel (June 2012) recommended a categorisation system as a means of prioritising pyrite remediation works in recognition of the expensive and intrusive nature of pyrite remediation and the unpredictability of pyritic heave. The independent Pyrite Panel was clear in its view that only dwellings with significant damage due to pyritic heave should be remediated and that it would be unreasonable to expect dwellings not exhibiting such damage to be remediated. Dwellings which have no significant damage but have reactive pyrite in the hardcore material should be monitored and only remediated if they display significant damage due to pyritic heave. I have no plans to introduce additional supports to assist households beyond those who fall within the Pyrite Remediation Scheme, in the manner referred to.

The latest figures available indicate that 2,326 applications have been received under the pyrite remediation scheme. Of the 2,326 applications received so far, 1,892 dwellings have been included in the scheme and the applicants notified accordingly.

A further 78 applications have been validated and referred to the Housing Agency for the Assessment and Verification Process, while another 205 applications are at the initial Application and Validation stage. 151 applications under the scheme were not successful.

Of the 1,892 dwellings that have been included in the scheme:

- 128 are at remedial works planning stage,

- 42 are at tender / tender analysis,

- 214 are under remediation, and

- 1,508 are complete.

A sum of €32 million is available to fund the operation of the pyrite remediation scheme this year. This will facilitate the remediation of some 460 additional dwellings and is a clear signal of the continuing importance attached by Government to addressing the issue of significant pyritic damage in private dwellings. This will bring to approximately €126m the total funding provided under the scheme since 2014.