Fire-safety defects estimated to cost more than €5 million to fix have been discovered at a large Celtic Tiger-era apartment complex in west Dublin.
The Crescent Building in Dublin 12 comprises 10 blocks of 257 apartments and was built by a third-party contractor in 2003 as part of the larger Park West campus developed by Harcourt Developments.
The property company, headed by Pat Doherty, currently employs more than 1,500 people and was the developer of the Titanic Quarter in Belfast, Stanley Dock apartments in Liverpool and the entire Park West business and technology campus.
The one-, two- and three-bedroom flats at the Crescent Building are part of the larger Park West Pointe group of apartment blocks, which first sold for between €199,950 and €425,000 in the early 2000s.
In a letter sent to owners on June 23rd, managing agent KPM informed residents of the result of a fire-safety survey which found non-compliance with the fire-safety certificate in various parts of the building.
A lack of fire-stopping material was found in both the common areas and inside the apartments, a problem which would have occurred at the time of construction. The letter states that the entire fire-alarm system must be replaced and tenders have been sought for full restoration works.
The letter also states the board will “explore any potential avenues for legal action against any companies which were party to the original development”.
However, under Irish law, homeowners have only six years from the time a defect becomes “manifest” to take a builder or developer to court.
In most cases of missing fire-stopping or defective balconies, it is argued successfully that the damage became manifest the day it was built. This means that for most houses and apartments built during the Celtic Tiger, the time frame in which the builder is liable has run out – often before owners were even aware of the damage.
The Irish Times asked Harcourt Developments if it was aware of the defects at the Crescent Building and if it would be contributing towards the cost of remediation. “The Crescent Building at Park West was constructed in 2003 by a reputable third-party contractor and the building was certified as fully compliant with building and fire regulations at the time,” it replied.
“In 2009, at the request of the residents, the building management was transferred to a third-party management company who have been responsible for the building services and maintenance issues ever since.”
Keenan Property Management did not respond to requests for comment.