Thursday 19 October 2017

Fears as many as 70pc of apartments built here between 2000 and 2008 are fire deficient

Emergency workers and police inspect inside the remains of Grenfell Tower yesterday Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Emergency workers and police inspect inside the remains of Grenfell Tower yesterday Photo: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Mark Keenan

Mark Keenan

The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland says that even before the Grenfell Tower fire in London, there had been "major concerns" over fire safety in multi-unit dwellings in Ireland, particularly those built between 2000 and 2008.

One fire-proofing expert believes that as much as 70pc of multi-unit dwellings built in that period are deficient, with fire barriers either not properly installed or not installed at all.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy had a "frank discussion" with Dublin's Chief Fire Officer yesterday to discuss fire safety and life safety issues in light of the London tragedy and will meet with other chief fire officers across the country.

Mr Murphy requested that the management board of the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management (NDFEM) convene and assess the readiness of the fire authorities to respond to emergencies. Each local authority has been requested, as a matter of urgency, to review their multi-storey social housing units to ensure all early warning systems are fully functional and in place.

Dublin City Council has confirmed that 11 fire safety notices relating to fire safety deficiencies were served to owners or occupiers of seven premises in the city so far this year.

The Grenfell Tower blaze has claimed 30 lives so far.

The US has banned the external cladding which acted "like a chimney" and accelerated the spread of the fire.

DCC has confirmed it has installed "an external insulation façade system on a small number of properties" but emphasised that the system used was "non-combustible".

It also outlined that it does not build higher than six storeys.

Meanwhile, the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland warned that a similar disaster could happen here in Ireland.

Chartered building surveyor Kevin Hollingsworth has remediated 29 developments throughout the country for fire safety issues over the last four years.

"This is because a significant proportion of the buildings constructed during the Celtic Tiger era may not be in compliance with building regulations in force at the time of construction," director general of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland Áine Myler said.

"Two months ago, the society called on the Government to commission a high-level study into these properties."

According to Ms Myler, a study could identify high risk residential buildings, particularly multi-storey developments which should be considered for inspection.

Irish Independent

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