An order of nuns claims that the convent where 14 of its sisters live needs to be knocked down and rebuilt at a cost of €8m due to defective building work.
The Dominican Order is suing builders, architects and engineers after cracks appeared in the walls of the convent at Taylor's Hill, Galway.
The High Court was told yesterday that there were nine nuns aged over 80 living at the convent, which was completed in August 2000.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly heard claims that cracks had appeared in the building soon after it was finished and that work had been carried out to repair the defects.
In 2005, structural problems were identified in the building and more work was done to repair the cracking. However, the problem recurred.
In their action, the sisters say the design of the lower roof in the new building was defective, with rafters so over-stressed that they have caused damage to the walls of the west block.
The four defendants agreed to carry out remedial work, but this turned out to be inadequate to resolve the defects.
It is claimed there was significant contravention of the building regulations -- in particular, fire safety requirements, but also disability access.
The nature, extent and seriousness of the defects are such that the convent cannot be economically repaired and now needs to be demolished and rebuilt, the nuns claim. The estimated cost is around €8.4m.
The Congregation of Dominican Sisters, through their nominee, Elizabeth Healy, is suing architects O'Connor, Keogh, Mulcaire Ltd, of Woodquay, Galway; and engineers HGL O'Connor and Co Ltd, Citypoint, Prospect Hill, Galway.
They are also suing TBD Building Contractors Ltd and TBD Group Holdings Ltd, Merchant Road, Galway.
The architects were emplo-yed to prepare drawings and supervise work while the engineers were to advise on structural and engineering issues.
The case will be heard in the Commercial Court.