Sunday 19 November 2017

Longboat Quay management bring legal action over liability for €3.5m safety works funding

Longboat Quay in Dublin
Longboat Quay in Dublin

Tim Healy

The management company of the Longboat Quay apartments in Dublin has brought a legal action over liability for funding of €3.5m in fire safety works at the complex.

An application by the Longboat Quay Management Company to have the case fast-tracked in the High Court's commercial division was adjourned Friday to facilitate efforts to resolve matters.

More than 600 residents of the 298 apartments at Longboat Quay are affected by fire safety notices which empower Dublin Fire Brigade to evacuate the complex should it consider that necessary.

The complex was developed in 2006 by Gendsong Ltd, a company of developer Bernard McNamara, which later went into receivership.

Among the management company's claims is that the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) was obliged, under a December 2004 agreement, to ensure works at the complex were completed in a manner that left it reasonably fit for immediate occupation. It is alleged the DDDA failed to do that.

It is also alleged both the DDDA and Gendsong are obliged to indemnify the management company for all costs, losses, and claims resulting from defects in the design, construction or certification of the development.  

They are also obliged to indemnify against any losses due to lack of insurance, or under-insurance, of the development, it is claimed.

Fire safety concerns over the apartment complex date back to 2007 when the fire brigade attended at the property and notified one or more residents the fire alarms were not loud enough, the management company claims. 

The company says in court documents it was  told it must fund remedial works at a cost of more than €3.5m but cannot do so.

It says fire safety notices were served on it in October 2015 in relation to the North and South Blocks of the development and fire safety notices were also served on the DDDA and Gendsong.

It is not disputed fire safety works should be carried out as "a matter of urgency".  It is disputed the management company has liability for those works and has appealed the notices served on it.

An application by the company to have its proceedings put into the Commercial Court list was adjourned to November 9 on consent between the sides.

Patrick Leonard SC, for the company, said the adjournment was to allow for further discussions.

The case is against the DDDA; Gendsong Ltd; and two receivers, Declan Taite and Anne O'Dwyer, who were appointed over some assets - 15 apartments - of Gendsong.

The claim against the receivers alleges they are not entitled to sell the 15 apartments arising from the alleged failure of Gendsong to meet its obligations under a lease of 2003.

The management company is seeking various declarations and orders, including reliefs arising from a lease dated 2003 and made between the DDDA, Gendsong and Michael McNamara & Company. 

It is alleged Gendsong has failed to comply with alleged obligations to procure warranties concerning the apartment complex in favour of the management company from the contractor, designers and sub-contractors with design responsibilities.

It is also alleged Gendsong failed to procure the development was carried out and completed in a good and workmanlike manner, particularly in relation to compliance with all reasonable requirements of the fire authority.

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