To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government if a full review of the pyrite remediation scheme with a view to including all homes with a category 1 rating in the scheme will be carried out; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government his views on the exceptional circumstances clause when accessing appeals of refusals for applications to the pyrite remediation scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
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” for affected homeowners who have no other practical option to obtain redress 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 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.
Where a dwelling, otherwise not eligible for inclusion in the scheme, adjoins a dwelling already included in the scheme, such a dwelling may be considered in accordance with the exceptional circumstance provisions set out in section 17 of the Act. Section 17 provides that exceptional circumstances may apply where -
- failure to include a dwelling in the scheme may result in damage to that dwelling or damage to the dwelling being remediated under the scheme, or
- pyrite remediation work is causing or may cause damage to a dwelling.
The Housing Agency will consider if exceptional circumstances apply when the Remedial Works Plan is being drawn up and the Board will be informed of any recommendation for a decision in the matter. To date, one dwelling has been included in the pyrite remediation scheme under the exceptional circumstances provisions of the Act. My Department is in regular contact with the Board and the Housing Agency in relation to the implementation of the scheme and is satisfied with the arrangements that are currently in place, including in relation to appeals.
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. This remains the position with regard to dwellings which do not display significant pyritic damage.
The latest figures available indicate that a total of 2,179 applications have been received under the pyrite remediation scheme. Of the 2,179 applications received so far, 1,727 dwellings have been included in the pyrite remediation scheme and the applicants notified accordingly.
A further 105 applications have been validated and referred to the Housing Agency for the Assessment and Verification Process, while another 214 applications are at the initial Application and Validation Process. 133 applications under the scheme were not successful.
Of the 1,727 dwellings that have been included in the pyrite remediation scheme:
- 136 are at remedial works planning stage,
- 106 are at tender / tender analysis,
- 248 are under remediation, and
- 1,237 are complete.
A sum of €30 million was announced under Budget 2018 to fund the operation of the pyrite remediation scheme this year. This allocation will facilitate the remediation of some 430 additional dwellings in 2018.
A sum of €32 million was announced under Budget 2019 to fund the operation of the pyrite remediation scheme next year. This allocation 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.
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