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Friday 9 December 2016

Only 9pc of new houses are being checked in parts of Dublin - report

Priory Hall apartments. Photo: Fergal Phillips
Priory Hall apartments. Photo: Fergal Phillips

Three of the country's biggest local authorities - including two in the capital - are failing to meet official targets to inspect a set number of homes to help prevent shoddy building work.

The performance indicators in local authorities report said that an average of 21.81pc of all new buildings are inspected across the country, but that Fingal, South Dublin and Tipperary county councils are failing to meet even the minimum threshold of 12-15pc as set by the Department of the Environment.

Fingal County Council, in north Dublin, has some of the highest rates of house completions across the country, with a total of 809 homes delivered last year. However, the inspection rate suggests that just 90 were examined, which works out at approximately just 9pc.

It also said the number of homes inspected nationwide fell for the third year in a row, with 22.6pc inspected in 2012, falling to 22.52pc in 2013, followed by a further drop in 2014.

Last year, just over 11,000 homes were completed. The figures suggest that around 2,400 were inspected.

The low rate of inspections in some councils comes despite the department directing in February 2014 that between 12pc and 15pc of all new builds must be examined to ensure that they are defect-free.

The direction followed the Priory Hall fiasco in Donaghmede, when hundreds of residents were evacuated from their homes due to fire-safety issues.

"It is disappointing to note that the buildings inspected as a percentage of new buildings ... was a reduction on the percentage inspected in 2013 in the case of the majority of authorities," the report says.

Exceptions were: Mayo, Kerry, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Monaghan, Carlow, Longford, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo and Waterford, where rates increased.

Jailed

The low rate of inspections in some councils means that properties may be sold without basic checks being carried out. Developers of shoddy buildings face being jailed for two years under new regulations.

These are aimed at avoiding the mistakes of the housing boom, when poorly-constructed homes left thousands of homeowners out of pocket and at risk of death or serious injury.

Meanwhile, it is taking more than a year to for some local authorities to re-let vacant council housing.

The performance indicators in local authorities report found that Cork City Council takes up to 82 weeks to bring a property back into use, and that it takes an average of six months for local authorities to complete repairs and bring units up to standard to house people on social-housing waiting lists.

Average waiting time in the capital is 24.48 weeks in Fingal, 23.35 weeks in Dublin City, 13.36 weeks in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Co Council's area and 11.1 weeks in South Dublin.

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