Mica redress scheme likely ‘sufficient’ but larger houses not fully covered – industry figures

Action group calls for scrapping of sliding scale in favour of flat rate of €145 per sq ft

Construction industry figures have said the State’s redress scheme for homes damaged by defective mica blocks will likely be “sufficient” to cover the cost of rebuilding the average sized home in the northwest.

However, they also suggested the cost of replacing larger homes would not be fully covered under the indicative rates set out in the Government’s Defective Concrete Block Scheme.

The sliding scale would cover rebuilding costs at €145 per sq ft for the first 1,000sq ft of a home, then at €110 for the next 1,000 sq ft, and €100 per sq ft after that.

The Mica Action Group has called for the sliding scale to be scrapped in favour of a flat rate of €145 per sq ft.

It warned of renewed protest and claimed these rates would see homeowners having to contribute around €65,000 of their own funds to rebuild a standard sized home in Donegal of about 2,400 sq ft.

The Government has disputed suggestions that owners of homes of around 2,500 sq ft would have to contribute their own funds under the scheme which now has an increased cap of €420,000.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said an independent review of the scheme’s rates would be carried out by Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI) in February.

He told Highland Radio in Donegal this will take construction inflation into account and indicated the vast majority of homeowners will not have to contribute any of their own funds.

He also defended the tapering of the rates.

‘Not going to do it’

Barry Kearney, a quantity surveyor in Letterkenny, said the redress scheme “will probably be sufficient” to rebuild homes of less than 2,500 sq ft.

For larger homes the sq ft rates in the scheme were “not going to do it” and could leave homeowners footing bills of up to €30,000 to €50,000.

One Dublin property developer felt the scheme’s rates could “absolutely” cover most of a home’s rebuild costs.

In contrast, Bert Galbraith, owner of Donegal-based Galbraith Construction, said the redress scheme was “nearly there” but had fallen slightly short.

He said rough building quotes for a house were running at €150 per sq ft at present, which is above the highest rate on the mica redress scale.