THE long-awaited report from the Pyrite Panel which was published last week has been welcomed by at least one Northside couple.
Sandra and Peter Lewis, who were forced out of their €295,000 apartment in Santry due to pyrite, described the report as hugely positive.
It’s a major turning point for thousands of homeowners who have until now been “pushed from pillar to post” in their efforts to secure remediation for the structural defects to their homes.
The nightmare for the Lewis family began in 2005 when they discovered pyrite in their home about one year after they moved into their property.
Significant defects in their property and concerns for their health and safety forced the couple to rent a home in Kildare from where they commute to Dublin for work.
The couple, who continue to pay a hefty mortgage for their apartment in Santry, say they can now see some light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s been an excruciating wait for this report but we’re delighted that it’s now been made public,” Sandra Lewis, a founding member of the Pyrite Action Group, told Northside People.
“We were pushed from pillar to post over the years in our efforts to get any remediation for our situation.
“This is the first clear and positive step forward where it’s been made public just who should be made accountable for the damage caused to our properties.
“The findings of the report have given us focus and it’s there in black and white for all to see.”
Pyrite, a naturally occurring mineral, was included in hard-core used in the foundations of more than 10,000 homes across the country.
When exposed to air or water, it can expand causing upward heave in the floor slab. This can lead to cracking of walls and other structural problems.
The report found that up to 12,000 homes in 74 unnamed estates could potentially be contaminated with the material from five quarries.
Of the 12,000 homes identified, 1,100 are in the process of having or have had remedial work carried out.
A further 850 have made a claim to home guarantee providers so it’s thought that, at worst, 10,300 remaining homes could have the pyrite present.
The report recommended that the 850 homes identified as having significant damage should have repair works carried out as soon as possible.
This would involve the removal and replacement of the hard-core at an average cost of €45,000 per home.
Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan set up the Pyrite Panel last August to examine the extent of the problem.
Following the report’s publication, he said he would give stakeholders, including the Construction Industry Federation, the Irish Concrete Federation and home guarantee provider HomeBond until the end of September to come up with their proposals “for resolving this problem”.
“I am hopeful that the outcome of these discussions will provide solutions for homeowners,” said Minister Hogan.
Ms Lewis and all the other affected householders hope that the Minister’s intervention will accelerate the process of remediation.
“Until now we have been chasing our tails not knowing where to turn to get some accountability and recourse,” she added.
“I understand that the stakeholders are due to meet to discuss the matter this week.”