Unfortunate news for homeowners as legislative hurdles prolong the wait for apartment defects remediation until later in 2024. Deputy Duncan Smith recently sought clarification from the Minister for Housing, Local Government, and Heritage regarding the anticipated timeline for the draft legislation supporting the remediation of defects in apartments and duplexes constructed between 1991 and 2013.
In February 2021, responding to the pressing issue of defects in housing, the Minister for Housing, Local Government, and Heritage established a Working Group. A critical aspect of this initiative involves the formulation of a Code of Practice, aligning with the Fire Services Acts, which was officially introduced in July 2022.
The Code of Practice for the Remediation of Fire Safety Defects stands as a cornerstone, promoting a reasonable and practical approach to addressing fire safety concerns. Its primary objective is to establish a uniform nationwide strategy for remediation, offering guidance to Owners’ Management Companies (OMCs) and the broader industry. Moving forward, this Code of Practice will play a pivotal role in supporting the implement of the remediation scheme, subject to periodic reviews.
Notably, the Code provides crucial guidance to OMCs, building professionals, and local authority building control/fire services. It encompasses interim safety measures within the framework of the Fire Services Acts of 1981 & 2003. Collaborative efforts with the local authority sector, particularly Fire Services, are ongoing to establish processes and structures aligned with the Code of Practice.
The anticipated timeline for the draft legislation, initially expected in the first half of 2024, now suggests a delay. This legislative framework is crucial as it sets the stage for the implementation of the statutory scheme, now projected for later in the same year.
For the latest and most comprehensive updates on the progress of the remediation scheme and other related developments, stay connected with the AOCA website. Alternatively, feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to assist you with any queries you may have.
Addressing the Housing Crisis with Modular Housing
In the midst of Ireland’s ongoing housing crisis, there is a pressing need for innovative solutions that can swiftly tackle the growing problem. The Engineers Ireland Conference highlights an approach gaining momentum – modular housing.
The Efficiency of Modular Housing
The shortage of affordable housing has reached a critical point, impacting families and individuals across the country. To combat this, modular housing offers an efficient and sustainable way to provide shelter to those in need.
The Advantages of Modular Housing
Modular housing, also known as prefabricated housing, involves constructing units off-site and assembling them at the desired location. This approach boasts several key advantages that position it as an ideal solution for the current housing crisis:
1. Speed: Modular housing can be built significantly faster than traditional construction methods, allowing for a swift response to the increasing demand for homes.
2. Cost-Effectiveness: Standardised designs and efficient assembly processes often make modular housing more cost-effective than traditional construction, facilitating affordable housing options.
3. Quality Assurance: The controlled factory environment ensures high-quality construction and compliance with safety standards.
4. Sustainability: Modular housing can incorporate environmentally friendly features, reducing its ecological footprint.
The Role of Modular Housing in Crisis Mitigation
The adoption of modular housing could play a vital role in addressing the housing crisis, offering safe and comfortable homes to those in need.
Collaborative Efforts for Implementation
It is essential that the government and relevant stakeholders collaborate to promote the development of modular housing and facilitate its widespread implementation.
The urgency of the housing crisis in Ireland cannot be understated. Modular housing emerges as a practical, cost-effective, and sustainable solution to address this crisis. The Engineers Ireland Conference has shed light on the potential of this approach, and it’s time to prioritise its implementation for the benefit of those seeking a place to call home.
At AOCA, we specialise in comprehensive project management solutions, and we’re well-equipped to assist in the seamless installation of modular housing. Our experienced team will handle every aspect of your project, from planning and coordination to procurement and quality control. We ensure that the installation process is efficient, cost-effective, and adheres to the highest industry standards. With our expertise, you can rest assured that your modular housing project will be executed smoothly, meeting deadlines and exceeding expectations. Your vision for affordable and sustainable housing is our priority, and we’re here to make it a reality.
The Prevalence of Apartment and Duplex Issues (1991-2013)
Between 1991 and 2013, 50% to 80% of apartments and duplexes were built with significant problems, such as those pertaining to fire safety, structural defects, and water ingress.
Government Action to Address the Problems
The Minister for Housing and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, has received government approval to create a new law to help fix these issues in apartments and duplexes built during this time. This law will establish a formal plan to address these problems and ensure the safety and well-being of people living in these properties.
Eligibility Criteria for the Repair Plan
Who is eligible for this plan? Apartments and duplexes built between 1991 and 2013 qualify for this assistance. The plan will cover the cost of repairing:
- Fire safety issues.
- Structural safety issues.
- Water ingress defects.
Conditions for Plan Coverage
However, the plan only applies if these problems happened because of faulty design, poor workmanship, or materials that did not meet the requirements of the Building Regulations in place when the properties were constructed.
Commencement Date and Approval Process
If you commenced addressing fire safety issues to your apartment or duplex after January 18, 2023, you can be part of this plan. It is expected to be in operation by 2024, pending the approval process. Certain conditions must be met, including approval from local fire authorities before starting the work. This is to make sure that fire safety improvements are not delayed while waiting for the plan to begin. More details about this process are currently being worked out, and additional information will be available soon.
Responsibility of Owners’ Management Companies
Owners’ Management Companies are responsible for arranging repairs in the shared areas of apartments and duplexes. Regardless of the plan, the responsibility for fire safety remains with those who control the property, as outlined in the Fire Services Acts.
Reporting and Assistance
If you suspect or discover fire safety, structural, or water ingress issues in your apartment or duplex, homeowners should initially contact their Owners’ Management Companies (OMCs). The OMC should then employ an Engineer to inspect the building.
Get in Touch for Assistance
If you believe your property has a defect, please reach out to us at aoca.ie or call our Dublin Office on 01 4243035 or Portlaoise Office on 057 8663244 for assistance. We have extensive experience addressing such issues across Ireland and the UK.
Harnessing Solar Power with Chromium
In the dynamic realm of sustainable energy, here at AOCA we are always on the lookout for game-changing innovations that continue to shape our trajectory towards a greener future. A breakthrough discovery in solar panel technology, centered around the utilisation of chromium, a commonplace metal, has the potential to revolutionise solar energy’s efficiency and accessibility. This transformative advancement comes as a significant leap toward achieving global sustainability goals.
The Potential Power of Chromium
Recent research, as reported by The Independent and Engineers Ireland, has unveiled a groundbreaking development in solar panel technology. Scientists and Engineers have unlocked a pioneering method to generate solar power using chromium, a widely abundant metal. This breakthrough offers a promising alternative to conventional solar panels, often reliant on rarer and costlier materials.
The Independent’s article, titled “Solar Panel Breakthrough: New Metal Discovered to Generate Electricity from Sunlight,” provides a deep dive into the research that led to this pivotal finding. The research taps into a unique characteristic of chromium, enabling more efficient sunlight capture and conversion into usable electricity. This innovation holds the potential to democratise solar energy accessibility and affordability, catalysing its integration across various sectors.
An Engineering Marvel
In the Engineers Journal article titled “Researchers Come Up with Way to Create Solar Power from Common Chromium,” the engineering principles underpinning this breakthrough take center stage. The research dissects how chromium’s inherent properties can be harnessed to create a new generation of solar panels that are not only economically viable but also ecologically sustainable. By reducing reliance on scarce materials and instead leveraging abundant chromium, the pathway toward scalable solar energy adoption becomes clearer. The implications of this discovery are far-reaching. The shift toward a readily available and sustainable material like chromium has the potential to transform solar energy from a niche solution to a mainstream one. This innovation aligns seamlessly with global initiatives to mitigate climate change and transition to renewable energy sources. With every new stride in the renewable energy sector, we inch closer to a planet powered by sustainable practices.
Innovation is the linchpin of progress, and the solar energy domain is emblematic of this truth. The pioneering revelation of harnessing solar power from commonplace chromium exemplifies humanity’s resourcefulness in pursuit of sustainable energy solutions. As we navigate a future with evolving energy needs, collaborative efforts among researchers, Engineers, and visionaries will illuminate a path toward a cleaner, brighter, and more sustainable world.
In the ever-evolving landscape of Construction and Engineering, sustainability has become an imperative driving force. Amidst this dynamic shift, a groundbreaking innovation known as zero emission concrete is emerging, poised to redefine the industry’s environmental footprint. This revolutionary advancement holds the potential to not only reduce emissions but also reshape the construction world’s entire foundation. […]
In the face of escalating urbanisation and climate change, reducing urban carbon emissions has emerged as a pressing imperative. An effective strategy in this endeavour is retrofitting buildings for a sustainable future, a process that optimises existing structures to be more energy-efficient and environmentally responsible.
Why Retrofitting Matters:
Retrofitting buildings involves enhancing insulation, upgrading heating and cooling systems, replacing outdated lighting, and implementing smart technologies. These measures collectively reduce energy consumption, which in turn slashes carbon emissions. By targeting older structures, cities can substantially curtail their carbon footprint, leading to cleaner air, reduced energy bills, and enhanced quality of life for residents.
Engineers Ireland sheds light on innovative retrofitting approaches that are transforming urban landscapes. From incorporating renewable energy sources to employing advanced materials, these strategies ensure long-term sustainability. Moreover, retrofitted buildings often become showcases for eco-friendly practices, inspiring further sustainable initiatives.
Benefits Beyond Carbon Reduction:
While carbon reduction is a central goal, retrofitting also offers secondary advantages. Job creation within the construction and green technology sectors stimulates economic growth. Additionally, upgraded buildings provide healthier indoor environments, positively impacting occupants’ well-being and productivity.
Challenges and Collaborations:
Retrofitting comes with challenges, including initial costs and coordination efforts. However, Engineers Ireland emphasizes collaborative partnerships between stakeholders, including governments, industries, and communities. By pooling resources, expertise, and incentives, cities can overcome hurdles and achieve significant carbon reduction targets.
A Shared Responsibility:
Reducing urban carbon emissions through retrofitting is a collective responsibility. Municipalities, building owners, professionals, and the public must unite in pursuit of greener urban spaces. We at AOCA believe that Engineers, Architects, and policymakers play pivotal roles in driving forward sustainable retrofitting agendas that yield long-lasting positive impacts.
In conclusion, retrofitting buildings to reduce urban carbon emissions is a proactive stride towards a sustainable and resilient urban future. By implementing innovative solutions and fostering collaboration, cities can mitigate their environmental impact while enhancing the quality of life for their inhabitants. This transformational approach holds the potential to pave the way for cleaner, greener, and more vibrant urban spaces.
At AOCA, we are delighted to announce that two of our valued team members, Aidan O’Connell and Colin Scott, are on the committee overseeing the implementation of the defective block works scheme. Their participation speaks volumes about their dedication to the highest engineering standards, crucial in managing the defective concrete block crisis in Ireland.
The Defective Block Works Scheme has been put in place to tackle the significant issue of structural damage to properties in Ireland, primarily caused by the use of defective concrete blocks containing pyrite and mica. This problem has had widespread impacts, particularly in certain counties, causing substantial stress and financial hardship for homeowners. The Scheme fully covers the counties of Donegal and Mayo, with certain electoral areas in the counties of Clare, Limerick, and Sligo also being eligible for support. This Scheme aims to provide financial assistance to affected homeowners, covering 100% of eligible remediation costs, which includes the complete removal and replacement of impacted walls in the property.
If you are affected, we strongly advise getting your property professionally assessed by an engineer registered in IS 465. Such an engineer will supervise testing and provide guidance on suitable remedial works. The resulting engineering report is a vital part of the grant application, determining the required level of intervention. At AOCA, we are well-versed in the requirements of the IS 465 standard and are equipped to assist homeowners throughout the testing, remediation, and grant application process. We aim to transform this difficult situation into a positive outcome, helping homeowners ensure their properties are safe and structurally sound.
Our involvement in the committee and our capacity to provide practical, professional support to those affected reflects our unwavering commitment to enhancing the safety and quality of Ireland’s built environment. We are here to offer clear, concise advice and top-notch engineering expertise to homeowners navigating this complex issue.
The recent amendments to the Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme mark a significant development for homeowners grappling with the aftermath of pyrite and mica infestations. This government initiative, now known as the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme, provides crucial financial support to affected homeowners, allowing them to repair or rebuild their homes.
The key aspects of the scheme, as outlined on the government’s official website, cover the majority of repair costs. Homeowners can now avail of 100% funding for replacement or repair of affected homes, up to a maximum of €420,000. This is a substantial increase from the previous limit of 90% funding, offering a lifeline to those burdened with significant repair costs.
Under the scheme, homeowners can apply for grants to cover the cost of carrying out necessary works, including temporary accommodation costs while work is being undertaken. However, it’s important to note that the scheme does not cover the cost of improving the property beyond its original condition.
The Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme is a critical step towards offering substantial relief to homeowners affected by mica and pyrite. At AOCA Engineering Consultants, we believe it’s crucial to be aware of these developments and the support available. We provide certified building condition assessments, a required step in availing of the grant, and are here to guide homeowners through this process.
If you or anyone you know has been affected by defective concrete blocks and require assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us at AOCA Engineering Consultants. We’re committed to helping homeowners navigate this challenging situation and ensure they take full advantage of the aid available to them.
In every home, it’s normal to see minor cracks appear over time, especially in older buildings. But when should these cracks start raising alarm bells? Let’s delve into the subject to help you distinguish between normal house settling and more serious structural issues.
Not All Cracks are Created Equal
Minor cracks, especially those that are less than 5mm wide, are usually nothing to worry about. They commonly appear due to slight house settlement or changes in humidity and temperature. However, if you notice larger cracks, recurrent cracks, or cracks accompanied by other warning signs like doors that won’t close properly, it’s time to take them more seriously.
The Shape and Direction of Cracks
Straight and vertical cracks often result from house settlement and might not necessarily signal a major problem. Conversely, horizontal or diagonal cracks could indicate serious structural issues. Also, keep an eye out for stepped cracks in your brickwork, as these can be a red flag for subsidence.
When to Call in the Professionals
Any crack larger than 5mm in width, appearing suddenly, widening over time, or accompanied by other warning signs, warrants professional attention. Here’s where the expertise of a structural engineer becomes essential. At AOCA Engineering Consultants, we specialise in assessing and addressing structural issues in homes, including serious cracks. A structural condition survey conducted by our experienced team can help diagnose the problem accurately and guide you on the necessary remedial actions.
Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re ever in doubt about the cracks in your home, it’s worth getting a professional opinion.
To book a structural condition survey or for any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us. The team at AOCA Engineering Consultants is always ready to provide comprehensive assessments and advice. We offer professional, reliable guidance, to help you make an informed decision about the best course of action. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us for any concerns related to structural cracks.