Property Clinic: Storm Doris damaged our new roof. Who pays?

Your property questions answered

Two years ago we built a house in north Co Dublin. In the last year our builders have gone out of business and we are no longer able to contact them. Storm Doris ripped off some slates from our roof along the ridge leaving the underlay exposed. My understanding is that a roof should be guaranteed for 10 years. I spoke to our architect and he wasn't sure what we were covered for and suggested calling the builder again (despite the fact the line is obviously disconnected). What recourse if any, do we have? Do we now need to claim against our house insurance?

Storm Doris swept over the country on February 23rd bringing hurricane force 12 gusts in places. You are not alone as there was widespread destruction and damage right across the country.

When we experience such damage, particularly to a new building, it is normal to look for recourse. Generally, this will be to the party who provided us with the particular article which has failed to perform as we would expect. In this case, your builder is no longer in business and your only recourse therefore is to your home insurance.

Most policies will cover storm damage such as you have experienced. You should inform your insurance company immediately of the incident and they will initially guide you through the process and will issue claim forms to you.


In the intervening period, you should make your roof watertight and safe.

Keep all receipts for this expenditure and explain to your insurer that you wish to carry out initial temporary works. The insurance company will ask that you provide an estimate of the cost of repair. You should have your roof thoroughly examined as the wind may have damaged areas which are not immediately apparent to you. The roof structure could have been affected and insulation may be water damaged. If so, it will need to be replaced.

You should seek the help of your local chartered building surveyor as he/she will be able to carry out an assessment of the full extent of damage and prepare cost estimates. They will also guide you through the process of dealing with a loss adjuster should the insurance company appoint one.

Your building surveyor will also be able to recommend a good local builder to you, who can be relied upon to correctly repair your damaged roof.

Noel Larkin is a Chartered Building Surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland,