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Defective Building Materials

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 15 June 2021

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

Questions (575)

Joe O'Brien

Question:

575. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage his plans to review the defective block scheme specific to counties Mayo and Donegal; and if consideration will be given to co-operation with the SEAI to ensure that windows and doors that need replacing are energy efficient and affordable for the impacted homeowners. [30687/21]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The remedial options provided for under the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant scheme constitute a material alteration to an existing building. Any works that are beyond the requirements of the current building regulations for existing dwellings, or any works that are not required for or ancillary to the remediation of damage to the dwelling arising out of, or in connection with, the use of defective concrete blocks in its construction, while not prohibited, do not qualify for grant assistance under the scheme. In this context, energy upgrades beyond the requirements of the current building regulations for existing dwellings, do not qualify for grant assistance under the scheme.

Similarly, in line with Government policy on waste prevention and value for money considerations, the reuse, recovery and recycling of materials, is encouraged where possible. Costs associated with the unnecessary replacement of items such as windows, doors, kitchen units etc, do not qualify for grant assistance under this scheme.

My Department is engaged in ongoing dialogue with Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, and SEAI, to provide clarity on whether eligible homeowners can access SEAI grant funding while also availing of the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant scheme. There is no barrier to qualifying applicants engaging with SEAI to avail of any funding they may qualify for under the suite of schemes administered by that authority.

Engagement between my Department, the local authorities and local action groups on the scheme and these matters will continue. In this regard, I have proposed a timebound working group, with representatives from my Department, the local authorities and homeowner representative groups, to review and address any outstanding issues in relation to the operation of the Scheme, including issues such as grant caps, homeowner contributions, engineering and allowable costs, SEAI grants etc. I propose that the recommendations of this working group will inform any changes or improvements to the scheme as may be required, which I will bring forward in conjunction with my Government colleagues, and in particular in consultation with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform and the Attorney General.

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