Residents shocked by fire safety defects at south Dublin complex

Defects include inadequate fire stopping and smoke ventilation

Carrickmines Green: many in the estate of about 180 homes between Foxrock and Kilternan learned only this week of the extent of the fire safety defects in their blocks

Carrickmines Green: many in the estate of about 180 homes between Foxrock and Kilternan learned only this week of the extent of the fire safety defects in their blocks

 

Details of fire safety defects recently discovered in a south Dublin apartment block have been outlined to apartment owners, many of whom had been unaware of the problem.

Owners of apartments in Carrickmines Green have long known of the structural defects in their complex, with persistent flooding, damp and mould evident for several years.

However many in the estate of about 180 homes between Foxrock and Kilternan learned only this week of the extent of the fire safety defects in their blocks.

At a meeting on Thursday night owners were briefed by Allan Murphy of Scott Murphy Chartered Surveyors on defects including fire doors with excessive gaps, missing fire stopping materials, an absence of smoke seals, fire escapes that were too narrow, and dividing walls – designed to stop the spread of fire – where holes had been packed with insulating materials instead of being fixed.

Eamon Mullen, who bought his one-bedroom apartment seven years ago, said he had always considered himself lucky compared to others in his block.

“We’re upstairs, so we weren’t having the problems with flooding some others were, but now hearing about the fire problems, and it’s the first time I’ve heard about it in seven years, I’m worried now about living upstairs.”

‘Biggest worry’

The Scott Murphy report, completed last May, related to the common areas of the block, but Mr Mullen said he was now concerned about what problems may lie within apartments. “We don’t know what’s behind the walls – that would be my biggest worry now.”

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has agreed to buy 10 apartments in the development and many existing residents said they were concerned about the use of public money to buy housing which may pose a risk to public safety.

An owner of another apartment, who asked not to be named, said flooding had been her main concern since she moved in nine years ago. “The place would flood any time it rained. It got so bad that in 2011 the two lifts were out of commission for six months. I remember the date, because I’d just had a baby at the time.”

Attempts made to fix the problem had been unsuccessful.

“It’s moved on from just flooding to problems with damp and mould. The lift lobby area has been covered in mould for the last six months, and still when it rains water runs out under the walls and under the lift shaft. In the lift water drips on your head.”

She said she was aware to the fire safety issues, but said, unlike the damp and flooding, hadn’t been aware of their full extent.

“I suppose until there’s a fire, you won’t know how bad things are, but given the state the rest of the place is in, it’s hard to have any confidence about fire safety.”

Recession

Developer Alan Hanly’s Laragan Developments started building Carrickmines Green in 2006, but construction stopped in 2008 when the recession hit.

In 2009, accountancy firm McStay Luby was appointed as receiver over Mr Hanly’s assets including Carrickmines Green and undertook to finish the complex using funding provided by Nama.

The existing apartment owners want the receiver to fix the defects in their homes before the sales of apartments or houses to the county council or any other buyer.

Core Estate Management managing agents for the complex said the receiver had yet to commit to completing the necessary works.

Des Gibney of McStay Luby said the receivers were “committed to reviewing the Scott Murphy report” and “addressing any further fire safety issues identified”.