Friday 9 December 2016

Longboat Quay residents to stay in homes for Christmas

Andrew Phelan

Published 25/11/2015 | 02:30

Remedial works required: Longboat Quay apartments
Remedial works required: Longboat Quay apartments

Residents of the Longboat Quay apartment complex will not have to move out of their homes before Christmas after a court gave a development company 18 months to carry out major fire safety works.

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The decision effectively defers the threat of evacuation which had been hanging over some 600 residents.

Last night the Longboat Quay management company issued a statement welcoming the decision by Judge Michael Coughlan at Dublin's District Court yesterday, saying it means there is now "no short-term threat of evacuation for owners and residents".

It added: "In the meantime, the owners and residents of Longboat Quay will continue to fight for a satisfactory solution to this distressing situation in which we find ourselves."

The remedial works are estimated to cost €3.88m.

Appealing a fire safety notice served by Dublin Fire Brigade in October, Longboat Quay Management Company yesterday argued in court that the one-month deadline it had been given to start the works was "manifestly unreasonable".

The company said the works would take nine months to complete and it did not yet have the money to carry them out.

Its legal representative said safety improvements had already been carried out which would reduce risks.

Judge Coughlan agreed to the time extension, saying it was a "unique case".

However, he voiced concerns that he was being put in the position of having to deal with the "potential for disaster" in the meantime. He granted an order confirming the fire safety notice but with an extension of time until May 30, 2017 for the completion of the work, which will have to start at some point in 2016.

Dublin City Council's opinion is that the complex "continues to be a potentially dangerous building" until the remedial works are finished, its lawyer said.

Longboat Quay was served with a fire safety notice on October 2 after the buildings were found to have serious deficiencies.

According to the notice, essential remedial works were to have begun by November 1.

Barrister Patrick Leonard SC, for the management company, argued yesterday that this was "manifestly unreasonable" because the works required would cost €3.88m and would take around nine months to complete.

He said there were four items in the fire notice, with three of the items already addressed.

The fourth item was a requirement to carry out "very substantial works".

The management company agreed the works were necessary and wished to carry them out but could not do so without being able to pay for them, Mr Leonard said.

He said Longboat Quay Management Company has brought High Court proceedings against the Dublin Docklands Development Authority and other parties over liability for funding the fire safety works.

Mr Leonard said he expected these proceedings to be heard in the Commercial Court in April or May next year, with a judgment "shortly thereafter".

He said works costing €1m had already been carried out to improve the fire detection and alarm system.

He added that these had significantly improved safety for the residents and commercial units.

A risk improvement survey was undertaken by a risk management consultant to identify short-term measures to reduce risks pending the major works.

These were 90pc complete and would be finished by the end of this week.

The consultant had said there was a now a "greatly reduced" risk in the building, Mr Leonard told the court.

He was hopeful that insurance on the building would be renewed.

Irish Independent

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