Fire safety: Beacon apartment owners warned of legal action

Owners voting on management company plan to charge €10m for defects at complex

Apartments  at Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford, Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Apartments at Beacon South Quarter, Sandyford, Dublin. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

Apartment owners at the Beacon South Quarter development in Sandyford, Dublin are facing legal action from Dublin Fire Brigade if they do not undertake fire safety works at their homes.

Owners were on Wednesday night voting on a plan put forward earlier this year by the development’s management company to charge them more than €10 million to pay for fire safety and other structural defects at the complex, built in 2005 by developer Paddy Shovlin’s Landmark Enterprises.

The city’s chief fire officer, Patrick Fleming, wrote this week to owners to say the fire brigade had been alerted to “fire deficiencies” in the development.

The fire brigade has ordered a detailed fire assessment to be carried out on all blocks. Where remediation works are required, “this will commence immediately after the detailed fire assessment has been undertaken and be completed within an acceptable time scale,” Mr Fleming said.

“If the required works are not carried out to the satisfaction of the Dublin Fire Brigade within an acceptable timescale, then it will have no other alternative but to pursue legal options.”

Rescheduled meeting

About 250 owners on Wednesday night attended the rescheduled annual meeting of the management company at the Ballsbridge Hotel in Dublin.

Last month’s scheduled annual meeting at a hotel in Leopardstown had to be halted after a very large number of people turned up, giving rise to safety concerns.

Owners of the 880 apartments face costs of €7,500-€15,000 each in relation to the safety defects. Owners of apartments in blocks A, B1, C and D are being asked by BSQ Management Company Ltd to pay €9.1 million into a sinking fund for fire remedial works. Residents in blocks A and D were being asked for more than €1 million in relation to water damage.

Aoife Culleton, spokeswoman for the Beacon South Quarter Owners’ Group, which has about 300 members, said while Landmark Enterprises had gone into receivership, the construction firms which built the apartments were still in business.

‘Enormous bills’

“We want the management company to enter into mediation with these construction companies before they ask us to pay these enormous bills. The management company has not done enough to pursue other parties.”

Property investment company I-RES Reit, the State’s largest private landlord, owns 25 per cent of the apartments at the complex. As the largest single owner of apartments, it faces charges of €2.7 million, and said it was supportive of the work being completed - particularly in light of the correspondence from the chief fire officer.

“I-RES has a responsibility to its tenants and a duty of care to all owners in ensuring the buildings are compliant with building and fire regulations,” it said.

A spokeswoman for the management company said it would not be making any comment.

Local Green Party TD Catherine Martin said the State had to bear some of the cost burden. “There’s been enough words of support from the Government, they need to set up a redress scheme for these owners.”