Tuesday 20 March 2018

Mulryan's Ballymore to sue CRH and Roadstone over pyrite houses

Developer's Ballymore claims cement giant subsidiary among those that supplied problem stone, writes Ronald Quinlan
It is understood that 58 residents' homes tested positive for pyrite, with Premier agreeing to cover the cost of remediation (Stock photo)
It is understood that 58 residents' homes tested positive for pyrite, with Premier agreeing to cover the cost of remediation (Stock photo)
Ronald Quinlan

Ronald Quinlan

Developer Sean Mulryan's Ballymore Group is to pursue a High Court action against CRH, its subsidiary Roadstone, and two other concrete suppliers in relation to the alleged supply of pyrite-affected stone to a high-end housing scheme it developed in Portmarnock, Co Dublin.

The case which is listed for hearing on May 30 next centres on a claim by Ballymore that Roadstone and two other companies - Murphy Concrete Manufacturing and William Miley - delivered material responsible for the structural damage known as 'pyritic heave' which it is understood has been detected in over 90 of the 145 houses at the Drumnigh Wood estate.

Developed in three phases between 2002 and 2007, homes at the prestigious scheme extend in some cases to over 5,000sq ft and were sold for sums in excess of €2m.

Problems relating to the existence of pyrite began to surface in 2010.

At that point, it is understood the developer advised all homeowners to get their properties tested, and where necessary to avail of the structural guarantee provided by the Premier Guarantee Scheme (a policy similar to Homebond) they had automatically acquired as part of their home purchase.

It is understood that 58 residents' homes tested positive for pyrite, with Premier agreeing to cover the cost of remediation.

A further 15 houses were tested with no trace of pyrite being detected.

In the case of 35 other properties, the owners enlisted the services of Coleman Legal Partners in an effort to secure compensation for the losses suffered as result of the damage caused by the existence of pyrite.

In 2015, these residents lodged 20 civil actions against Ballymore Properties Ireland in the High Court, holding it responsible for the scandal.

It is understood 38 other homeowners at the Drumnigh Wood development are either satisfied their homes are unaffected by pyrite, or have decided to take no action to investigate its presence or otherwise in their properties.

A spokesman for the Ballymore Group declined to comment on the case now being pursued by three of its subsidiaries (Ballymore Contracting, Ballymore Residential and Crosswind Cottage) against the companies that supplied the stone for Drumnigh Wood.

The Sunday Independent understands however that lawyers for Ballymore will present the High Court with a technical report and documentation which the company believes establishes the source of the pyrite at the centre of the controversy.

The documents are to be given in support of a motion to allow Ballymore's technical experts access to the quarries of Roadstone, Murphy Concrete Manufacturing and William Miley.

It is understood the experts it has engaged wish to conduct an analysis of the stone within the specific areas of the quarries that supplied the material for Drumnigh Wood to establish if pyrite is present there.

A spokesman for Roadstone said: "Roadstone has a long and respected track record in the production and supply of building materials to the highest standard over many decades.

"The company operates robust quality control processes across all of its product lines and is satisfied that it has no liability in respect of the properties alleged to have been affected by pyritic heave in the action being taken by Ballymore."

"Roadstone will vigorously defend its good name and will take all appropriate steps necessary to defend its reputation in these proceedings."

Murphy Concrete Manufacturing managing director, Seamus Murphy declined to comment on the action being taken by Ballymore when contacted by the Sunday Independent.

Efforts to contact a representative from William Miley proved unsuccessful.

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