Minister O’Brien launches a call for research in relation to defective concrete blocks and pyritic hardcore
The Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Mr. Darragh O’Brien TD, has today (22nd February 2021) launched an open call for research in relation to legacy issues of defective concrete blocks and pyritic hardcore.
€200,000 will be made available to fund this research, which is aimed at supporting the technical advancement of standards relating to the assessment of dwellings damaged by defective concrete blocks and pyritic hardcore.
Defective housing can have a devastating impact on the lives of homeowners and the issues of pyritic heave and defective concrete blocks have resulted in substantial costs to the taxpayer.
This research will support evidence-based decision making for policy-makers and standardisation bodies. It will lead to a greater understanding of the effects of pyrite and mica in construction products and potentially avoid future adverse effects in buildings.
Minister O’Brien said:
I am delighted to be able to announce this important initiative which will provide an opportunity to harness the expertise of our scientific and academic community as well as the experience of those dealing with dwellings damaged by defective products.
The call for research will be managed by Geological Survey Ireland, a division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications, Mr Koen Verbruggen, Director of Geological Survey Ireland said:
Ensuring sustainable access to high quality raw materials to build our homes, our schools and our hospitals will be vitally important in the delivery of Project Ireland 2040.
Further information on the call for research is available on the website of Geological Survey Ireland (https://www.gsi.ie/en-ie/events-and-news/news/Pages/GSI-Targeted-Project-for-Pyrite-mica.aspx).
Note for Editor
- Budget 2021 provides funding of €40 million to fund the operation of the pyrite remediation scheme and the defective concrete blocks grant scheme. This will bring to approximately €160 million the total funding provided under these schemes since 2014.
- The Pyrite Resolution Act 2013 provides the statutory framework for the establishment of the Pyrite Resolution Board and for the making of a pyrite remediation scheme to be implemented by the Board with support from the Housing Agency. The provisions of the Act apply to dwellings affected by significant damage attributable to pyritic heave consequent on the presence of reactive pyrite in the subfloor hardcore material.
- The Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme is a grant scheme of financial assistance to support affected homeowners to carry out the necessary remediation works to dwellings that have been damaged due to defective concrete blocks.
- The Report of the Expert Panel on Concrete Blocks recommends due to legacy failures involving construction products, in spite of the current knowledge, further research should be undertaken to gain a greater understanding of the effects of pyrite and excessive amounts of muscovite mica in concrete blocks in order to avoid future adverse effects in buildings.
- Geological Survey Ireland is a division of the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications.
- €200,000 will be made available to fund this research, Up to four separate projects may be funded up to a maximum of €50,000 each. The projects may be up to a maximum duration of 18 months.