RESIDENTS in a Ferrybank estate face disruption as steps are taken to carry out remedial work on their defective properties.
Properties at The Crescent were built by a local developer 10 years ago for Waterford City & Council on Kilkenny County Council land.
The development of 42 houses had been built to roof height when the company went into liquidation. Subsequently, the properties were taken in charge by Waterford City & County Council and later offered to Focus Ireland to be completed and for use as social housing. However, significant defects associated with the initial build have emerged which will have to be rectified – generating huge concern amongst residents of The Crescent. Focus Ireland says it only became aware of the problems after the houses had been tenanted.
“Our first and immediate concern was for the residents and any safety issues that might arise,” a spokesperson told The Munster Express.
“We have engaged a number of experts to look at the buildings, and while the issues are serious and must be rectified, we are fully assured that they present no risk to the tenants of the homes.”The spokesperson added: “We are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and liaising with residents to keep them informed and discuss any issues or concerns that may arise.”Focus Ireland confirmed that the remedial work will involve disruption to tenants.
“We will work with residents to confirm a date that causes least disruption and allows time to plan. At present, we believe that residents will be required to move out to alternative accommodation for up to five days to allow the remedial work to proceed,” the spokesperson explained.
“Focus Ireland will, in co-operation with Kilkenny County Council, be providing accommodation within the estate to reduce disruption to families. We are awaiting the insurance company response so the work can be scheduled.”The defect in question relates to the floor joists on the first floor of the properties which were laid incorrectly at the time of initial build, according to Focus Ireland.
Currently the only immediate matter affecting residents is around plumbing and leaks arising from the defect. There is no visual damage in ceilings or flooring.
The estate was unfinished when the houses were transferred to Focus Ireland, however the agency says the defects were not visible and all the necessary building standard certification was in place from architects, etc. They say the scale of the challenges has been greater than originally anticipated.
“We recognised that taking over the completion of an estate which has been abandoned by the developer would raise a number of serious challenges for us,” the spokesperson said. “However, given the deepening housing crisis we felt obligated to bring these three-quarters completed buildings into use.” Focus Ireland informed residents of the defects last year. One resident who spoke to The Munster Express, but did not wish to be named, said she fears her home is at risk of “subsiding”.
“We’ll get up some morning and our upstairs will be downstairs,” she claimed. “The houses could collapse around us. Everyone on the estate is terrified.”
In November, residents became worried when the developer who built their houses sought planning permission to build more houses on an adjacent piece of land.
Kilkenny County Council has since granted planning permission for development at this site which will consist of the construction of 12 two storey, two bedroom semi-detached dwellings. The concerned resident says this development can’t be allowed to proceed as the proposed houses are too near existing properties.