During the Celtic Tiger many top housing developments were constructed in minimal time – which resulted in potentially disastrous shortcuts. Dublin Fire Brigade issued a fire safety notice last month for Longboat Quay, a block of 299 apartments in the Docklands, which may force the building to be evacuated.
Despite this, both the architect, Eugene Van Jaarsveld and property developer, Bernard McNamara, insist the building was constructed according to regulations. Yet, Dublin Fire Brigade consider the building to be “a potentially dangerous building” as a result of an inadequate smoke ventilation system in the common areas, stairwells and lobbies. Plus, upgrades to the fire separation between apartments are required and fire stopping materials need to be installed.
The residences of Longboat Quay, represented by the Longboat Quay Management Company, have already attempted to repair some of the defects in an effort to avoid the evacuation of the complex. Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) have spent approximately €1.25 million on fire alarms and contracting fire wardens for the complex. The most recent offer by NAMA and the DDDA of €1.75 million was rejected by the Management Company this week as the total expected cost of the repairs are approximately €3.88million.
This week meetings between the DDDA and the Management Company concluded without any resolution. The Management are to ask the Commercial court on Monday to hear the case which was adjourned a week ago to encourage efforts to resolve the matter. This will be the second case as a Circuit Court challenge to the fire safety notice is already underway.
This scandal highlights the shortcuts made by some of the construction industry during the boom time. It also indicates the importance of having a property thoroughly checked by an architect and surveyor before agreeing to purchase.