Crumbling blocks could be causing damage to homes

Crumbling blocks could be causing damage to homes
Defective blocks used in the construction industry may be causing damage to hundreds of homes in Donegal, according to an engineer.

Defective blocks used in the construction industry may be causing damage to hundreds of homes in Donegal, according to an engineer.

Chartered engineer, Damien McKay, who specialises in litigation, building defects and insurance claims, says the repairs will cost homeowners thousands. He will be calling on the Government to set up a redress scheme for Donegal homeowners, similar to the Pyrite scheme in Leinster. He’s also holding an information evening at 7:30pm on Thursday, November 14 in The Mount Errigal Hotel, Letterkenny to discuss the issue.

The leading engineer said that he was aware of the problem, but didn’t realise the large numbers affected until he appeared on two radio shows.

He said the majority of cases relate to cracks to family homes. Mr. McKay said the symptoms include webbed or mapped liked cracking to the external walls.

“These cracks may look like settlement but get worse over time. In most cases the cracks start to appear around five years or more after construction. Upon further investigation it becomes apparent the actual concrete blocks beneath the plaster can be easily broken and in some occasions with as little effort as rubbing with your fingers,” he said.

The issue is very similar to the Pyrite problem identified in the Leinster Region. It was initially thought this problem was confined to a small area in Donega, but Damien has learned the problem is widespread throughout the county.

The issue of pyrite first came to the fore in 2007 when ground floors began to crack in homes in some Counties of Leinster. The problem the Government set up a redress scheme and recently announced €10m funding. According to Mr. McKay the redress scheme only applies to Pyrite in a specific region and doesn’t extend to the rest of the country.

Given the extent of the problem we need a similar redress scheme in Donegal. Damien says he’s happy to talk to homeowners about their concerns at the information evening. You can also contact him at 0818 543 543 or 074-9129243 or email damien@consultingengineers.ie.

Damien is a Chartered Engineer from HD McKay Consulting Engineers specialising in Litigation Engineering on Building Defects and Property Insurance Claims.