Government Announces Interim Fire Safety Funding for Celtic Tiger-Era Apartments

A significant development, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has introduced a new interim fire safety funding scheme for owners of Celtic Tiger-era apartments. The initiative aims to provide immediate assistance to the owners of up to 100,000 affected buildings while a comprehensive State support program is being finalised.

Interim Fire Safety Measures Scheme: Immediate Relief for Apartment Owners

Earlier this year, the minister secured Cabinet approval for a €2.5 billion scheme addressing historic fire safety issues and defects in apartments constructed between 1991 and 2013. However, due to the sheer scale of the issue, a code of practice recommended the implementation of interim measures as a short-term solution.

The Interim Fire Safety Measures Scheme, open for applications now, is administered nationwide by the Housing Agency. Apartment Owner Management Companies (OMCs) can apply through the housing agency’s website. This scheme fully funds interim measures, such as fire alarm upgrades and ensuring safe escape routes, providing an acceptable level of fire safety while awaiting completion of full remedial works.

Comprehensive Remedial Works and Future Legislation

Full remedial works, encompassing necessary fire safety measures, water ingress solutions, and structural repairs, will be funded under a statutory scheme set to be legislated for next year. The Department is actively drafting the necessary legislation.

Minister O’Brien emphasised that the interim measures represent an essential next step in addressing defects, guaranteeing the long-term safety of apartment residents across Ireland. He expressed gratitude to homeowners and their representatives, whose insights played a crucial role in shaping the scheme.

Construction Defects Alliance Applauds Progress

The Construction Defects Alliance hailed the scheme’s opening as a significant step forward in resolving issues affecting Celtic Tiger-era apartments. The scheme prompts Owner Management Companies to commission fire safety risk assessments, paving the way for interim works in developments where assessments have already been conducted.

At the request of the Construction Defects Alliance, the Interim Fire Safety Measures Scheme includes making escape routes safe, ensuring proper lighting, and eliminating obstacles. This ensures the safety of residents in complexes where escape routes may be compromised.

Upon a valid application, the Housing Agency will assign a case number within seven to ten working days. An Applicant Pack will follow, providing detailed information on subsequent stages.

Discover more about the Interim Fire Safety Measures Scheme and complete the Interim Remediation Scheme Application Form thoroughly.

Applications must be comprehensive to be considered, we will be happy to assist you with any queries you may have by contacting us at AOCA.


AOCA Engineering Consultants were appointed as Design Lead and Project Manager on this £9m Fire Safety and Cladding Remediation project in the U.K.

NORTHERN IRELAND remediation specialist, Anamore, has completed a £9m cladding remediation and fire compliance project at the Orchard Plaza apartment complex in Poole, Dorset. The 13-storey apartment building remediation works were carried out in three phases. Externally, this consisted of the removal of non-compliant ACM and HPL panels, along with all combustible elements behind the existing façade. This was all attainable through a complex scaffolding system erected on site, which was wrapped in non-combustible monoflex to help ensure the integrity of the building throughout the duration of the project. Working with the client’s design team lead by AOCA Engineering Consultants, the design and installation of the non-combustible cladding system was finalised. Anamore used A1 rated construction materials and the final design incorporated Vitradual aluminium rainscreen panels and the Vitrafix carrier system by Valcan, weather defence external sheathing board, EPDM, Effisus breather membrane, Rainscreen Duo Slab external wall insulation and the full implementation of Siderise cavity barriers. Fire Compliance Internally, the fire compliance works entailed the refurbishment of all internal fire door sets throughout the apartment complex and replacement of a number of others. The communal areas and apartment lobby areas required full “above ceiling” fire compartmentation works. Due to the makeup of the building having an old structural clay pot system, all penetrations from floor to floor such as SVPs required the install of fire/ smoke resistant seals at each point. All communal hallway ceilings were replaced with a new Kemwell suspended fire rated ceiling system, complete with above ceiling fire barriers in each apartment. The intrusiveness of these works having to be conducted with residents in situ was far from easy, the team said. It took a full team effort with constant tenant liaison ensuring works could be conducted in a prompt manner to best suit all involved with as minimal disruption as possible. James McCallan, Co-Founder & Director of Anamore, said: “We are passionate about finishing work to the highest quality, ensuring that homeowners can return to their properties with the knowledge and peace of mind that their property is safe and compliant to all current regulations. The project took a total of 22 months to complete which was both on time and on budget. We had a brilliant working relationship with the Client’s Design Team Lead by Aidan O’Connell from AOCA Engineering Consultants, this ensured a pro-active and open-minded approach to every element of the works”. “As we enter 2024, we’re projecting a significant increase in remedial works as the requirements on developers through the building safety repairs pledge come into force, and the governments Building Safety Fund being rolled out as part of the Building Safety Programme.”

Unfortunate news for homeowners as the wait prolongs for apartment defects remediation until later in 2024.

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.

The Urgent Need for Modular Housing to address the Crisis in Ireland

Modular Housing

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.

In Conclusion

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.

Celtic Tiger Apartment Defects: Repair Plan Eligibility & Timeline

Celtic Tiger Apartment Defects

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 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.

Embracing a Sustainable Cladding Alternative

sustainable cladding alternatives


As environmental concerns drive a seismic shift toward sustainability in the construction industry, the significance of a sustainable cladding alternative emerges prominently. Choosing the right cladding for building exteriors is pivotal for achieving eco-friendly construction practices. Today, the need for a sustainable cladding alternative goes beyond optional consideration; it is an unequivocal necessity, underpinned by compelling reasons.

At its core, a sustainable cladding alternative functions as a potent tool in the ongoing battle against excessive carbon emissions, habitat degradation, and resource depletion. This progressive alternative not only entails judicious selection of materials and techniques but also a deep-seated commitment to curbing energy consumption and minimising waste generation across a building’s entire lifecycle.

Illustrating this paradigm shift is the innovative use of fireproof fungus as a sustainable cladding alternative. A recent illuminating article by Engineers Ireland sheds light on this forward-thinking approach. Fireproof fungus introduces a naturally occurring and renewable cladding material. This remarkable solution champions not only environmental friendliness but also robust durability and captivating aesthetic appeal. It offers a captivating and pragmatic opportunity to supplant conventional cladding materials, which, all too often, bear unwelcome environmental repercussions.

The merits of embracing such forward-looking alternatives extend far beyond immediate sustainability. They encompass holistic benefits including heightened energy efficiency, improved indoor air quality, and a decreased reliance on non-renewable resources. Moreover, harmonising with evolving regulations and increasingly conscientious consumer preferences amplifies a building’s market value, making the adoption of sustainable cladding an increasingly appealing proposition for stakeholders.

Effectively integrating a sustainable cladding alternative demands a shift in perspective, a commitment to innovation, and a collaborative approach. This responsibility extends beyond architects, designers, and builders to encompass the entire spectrum of industry stakeholders. By steering the course towards conscientious choices rooted in eco-friendly materials and practices, the construction industry can indisputably champion the cause of global sustainability, aligning with worldwide objectives.

In this epoch of heightened environmental awareness, opting for a sustainable cladding alternative is more than a stride forward; it is a pivotal leap towards responsible construction and resolute environmental stewardship. At AOCA Ltd, we carve structures that stand as emblems of mindful construction, we weave a narrative of environmental commitment that resonates for generations to come.

A Breakthrough in Solar Power with Chromium

Solar Power with Chromium

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.

Zero Emission Concrete on the Horizon as Industry Standard

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. […]

Retrofitting Buildings for a Sustainable Future

Retrofitting Buildings for a Sustainable Future

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.

Innovative Approaches:

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.