Wednesday 24 January 2018

Biggest private landlord slams fire safety of Celtic Tiger apartments

David Ehrlich, chief executive of IRES Reit
David Ehrlich, chief executive of IRES Reit
Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

The biggest private landlord in the country has had to retrofit many of its apartments to deal with fire safety and other issues since it bought them.

IRES Reit chief executive David Ehrlich said his company has had to do "a lot" of improvements after buying some of its apartments, and was critical of the build quality of the apartments overall.

"The interiors and hallways and so forth are outstanding, but some of the buildings are not as good as they could have been," he said.

"There are other building techniques that could have been employed that would have taken some time, but could have been better.

"For example, some of the buildings we bought don't have membranes under parking garage slabs to prevent water from coming up through the floor.

"In one of our properties, [the developer] put in very large glass panes in areas where you would not have noticed a break.

"So now if there is one little crack you have to replace the whole panel so it's created a maintenance issue.

"So clearly they were not looking at the long term and the buyers did not have the capability to understand that, so there was no push for quality. The push was to finish buildings," he said.

In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Ehrlich said there needed to be a full review of the planning process in order to alleviate the housing crisis.

"We need to look at everything from the ground up.

"Whether it is the planning process, building regulations, the cost of building and other issues," he claimed.

The planning process in Ireland is not particularly long - about the same as Toronto or New York, he claimed, but "Toronto and New York don't have a housing crisis".

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