Cost of €250,000 to repair council flats ahead of demolition

Significant and hazardous structural defects discovered in stairs at block in Coolock area

Dublin City Council indicated it would be working to transfer Cromcastle Court tenants to alternative accommodation. Photograph: Google Street View

Dublin City Council indicated it would be working to transfer Cromcastle Court tenants to alternative accommodation. Photograph: Google Street View

 

Structural repairs costing about €250,000 are to go ahead immediately at eight blocks of flats at a Dublin City Council complex, ahead of its demolition.

The council late last month undertook emergency works at one block of flats at Cromcastle Court in Coolock, after residents reported cracks and movement of the communal staircase, which appeared to be coming away from the wall.

Scaffolding was installed across the three floors of 16 flats and security guards contracted to prevent interference with the structural supports and provide assistance to vulnerable residents.

An engineering report commissioned by the council found movement and damage to the stairs and a “large gap” between landings and the stairs, which in their assessment was “not recent” and had been previously painted over.

“Steel reinforcing bars could be seen protruding from the underside of the half landing,” the report found. And it was likely that “excessive corrosion” of steel bars led to their failure “resulting in the stair flight movement”, it also noted.

“The corrosion is possibly linked to the frequent washing down of the stairs with detergents over many years. The joint between the precast flights and the landings were improperly sealed at construction stage or the seal has since failed. This has allowed penetration of water into the joint, resulting in bar corrosion.”

Safety measures

The report recommended the installation of galvanised steel beams on all levels to support the staircase.

This work is due to be completed on the block this week. However, the council has now decided to undertake similar work on the remaining seven blocks in the complex of 128 apartments as a “proactive safety measure”, said senior executive engineer with the council Robert Buckle.

While it was not possible to give a final cost for the work as it was at an early stage “the ball park is a quarter of a million”, said Mr Buckle. This figure may rise depending on structural surveys on the remaining blocks, he added.

However, the council plans to demolish the complex as soon as possible. Earlier this year it announced plans to regenerate more than 100 of its oldest flat complexes, including Cromcastle Court.

The council’s project manager for the complex, Connell McGlynn, said Cromcastle Court had now been “moved to the top of this list” and the council would be working to transfer the tenants to other accommodation.

The demolition of the complex had been expected 12 years ago as part of a wider redevelopment of the area involving the Northside shopping centre, but the plans were dropped when the property crash hit.