Call for apartment building to stop on safety grounds

Tue, Oct 30, 2007, 00:00

All apartment buildings in Dublin should be suspended in the interests of public safety, Sinn Féin councillor and chairman of the city council's planning committee Daithí Doolan has said.

Mr Doolan was responding yesterday to a city council report which found that two-thirds of private apartments in Dublin had inadequate fire-safety provisions.

The report, Successful Apartment Living, also criticised property management companies and their control of apartment complexes in the city.

The chair of the council's housing committee, Labour councillor Mary Murphy, said the report highlighted the need for the council to be given a regulatory function in relation to apartment management companies.

Mr Doolan called for an immediate fire-risk assessment by Dublin City Council on all private apartment complexes. He said a fire at an apartment complex in Drogheda last week highlighted the importance of fire safety.

"Since the publication of the report I have had urgent consultations with concerned apartment residents. Many of them are in a state of fear and alarm since the fire in Drogheda, which has further highlighted the concerns of apartment residents."

The report was a "damning indictment of how apartments are designed, built and managed".

"I will be tabling an emergency motion at the forthcoming city council meeting calling for an immediate cessation of work on new apartment complexes until a total fire risk assessment is carried out on all apartment blocks."

The report criticises apartment companies for failing to live up to their legal and financial obligations. Of 193 apartment schemes surveyed, comprising almost 16,000 apartments, the council could only access up-to-date accounts for 62 developments and, in many cases, these accounts were inadequate.

Ms Murphy said in the face of continuing delays by the Government in regulating the property management sector, the council was working to highlight inadequacies. "The council is trying to show some leadership where the national Government has not."

She said the council was under continuous pressure to rezone land for apartment building and had an opportunity to encourage better models of practice both in apartment building and apartment management.