Pyrite damage to Dublin social housing will cost €7m to fix

Severe structural issues recorded in nine estates across the city due to mineral

Pyrite damage to a house in Finglas, Co Dublin.  File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Pyrite damage to a house in Finglas, Co Dublin. File photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times


Severe structural damage to social housing in Dublin, attributed to the presence of pyrite in the foundations, will cost more than €7 million to fix, according to a city council report.

Almost 150 homes and a number of community facilities, spread over nine estates built in the city in the last decade, have been damaged by “pyritic heave”, where the presence of the mineral in foundations has caused subsidence and cracks in the buildings.

In a report, to be presented to city councillors today, the council’s senior structural engineer Peter Finnegan said that in several cases there was “no possibility” of pursuing the costs of fixing the defects because the developers were no longer operating and others were “close to liquidation”, making the recovery of the council’s costs unlikely.

The council has already spent significant funds repairing homes and footpaths, but is still awaiting approval from the Department of the Environment to go ahead with about half the work needed.

Repair costs

The highest repair costs identified so far are in Poppintree, Ballymun, where 40 out of 90 homes built for the council by Glenman Corporation in 2007 are expected to require remediation at a cost of €2 million.

The report said the council will go to tender for the work this year and will “gather the necessary information to pursue a dispute with the contractor”.

Pyrite was discovered in Griffith Heights in Glasnevin in 2008, and the council has already spent €720,000 fixing 13 houses, but is facing bills of €1.2 million more for work to another 22 houses and footpaths, which it hopes will be completed this year.

The development was built by Noreside Construction. The report said an attempt was made to have the company’s insurers fund the work, but it does not say if this was successful.

Severe structural damage

The council said it is awaiting approval to spend €331,000 more to fix the adjacent community centre.

In Ballybough, work is nearing completion on 19 ground floor units, part of a 33-unit estate built by Glenman in 2007.

The work is expected to cost more than €1 million, which the council said it will seek to recoup from the company.

In Marino there has been “excessive damage” to two of four apartments at Carleton Hall, built again by Tara, which will cost €140,000 to repair, while a creche and community hall in the same development will cost at least €400,000 more.

At Owensilla Terrace and Balbutcher Way in Ballymun €255,000 has been spent fixing eight houses.

The report says the unnamed builder has ceased trading and there is “no possibility” of pursuing a claim.

At Sillogue, Ballymun, another Glenman development needs approximately €200,000 to be spent to fix four houses.

At Valeview Crescent in Finglas, the council has spent €82,000 fixing two houses built just over 10 years ago by AMDL, which has since been dissolved, again resulting in no possibility of recouping the money.

In Belmayne, 17 council-owned units in a former Stanley Holdings development have been affected by pyrite.

The report does not detail costs but says claims have been initiated with the insurer, Premier Guarantee. Stanley Holdings is no longer trading but remains solvent and a spokesman confirmed the claim was being dealt with by its insurer.

At Tolka Valley View the council has spent €10,000 fixing the footpath surrounding 49 homes owned by housing association Respond.

No pyrite has been detected in the housing, Respond said.

Glenman and Noreside did not respond to queries yesterday.