Pyrite tests may cost homeowners €5,000

Fri, Jul 20, 2012, 01:00

HOMEOWNERS WHOSE properties are suspected to have been damaged by pyrite face bills of up to €5,000 in tests for the mineral in their foundations. Many have already been told the costs of tests will not be refunded even if their homes are confirmed to have sustained pyrite damage.

A Government report published this week identified more than 12,000 homes whose foundations are believed to contain the structurally damaging mineral pyrite.

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has given stakeholders, including the Construction Industry Federation, the Irish Concrete Federation and home guarantee providers until the end of September to come up with proposals to fund repairs. Otherwise he would be “left with no option” but to impose a levy on the industry, he said.

The report of the Pyrite Panel estimated that remedial work, which involves the removal and replacement of the hard-core in the foundations, would cost an average of €45,000 for each damaged home.

While the report said stakeholders should fund the cost of repairs, many householders have been told by home guarantee companies the costs of tests will not be refunded.

Michael Thornton of Dublin 15 said he had been quoted approximately €3,500 for pyrite testing, which he said Premier Guarantee had told him they will not refund.

“There are cracks in the door frame, cracks in the walls that run from the corner of the house to the door, cracks in the stairs, a heave in the floor. The neighbours’ houses have tested positive for pyrite, but Premier are still insisting we have these tests done. It’s an awful lot of money.”

The cost of the test did not involve the reinstatement of the floor, which was drilled into to take material for testing, Mr Thornton said.

Homeowners’ group Pyrite Action said it was aware of quotes of up to €5,000 for tests.

Premier, a British company, did not respond to queries yesterday. Homebond, the guarantee scheme covering most of the pyrite-affected houses, said it did not cover the cost of tests.