Mr Damien English T.D., Minister for Housing and Urban Development, announced that the Pyrite Resolution Board has repaired over a 1,000 homes under the Pyrite Remediation Scheme which is funded by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.
This month, three and a half years after commencing the Pyrite Remediation Scheme in 2014, over 1,000 homes have been have successfully returned to their owners.
“To reach 1,000 properties is a significant milestone for us. We understand that there’s still plenty of work to do but this shows we are delivering for the participants in the scheme. The budgetary provision for 2018 is €30 million to fund the operation of the pyrite remediation scheme in 2018. This allocation will facilitate the remediation of some 430 additional dwellings in 2018 and is a clear signal of the continuing importance attached by Government to addressing the issue of significant pyritic damage in private dwellings.
Ultimately, the Pyrite Resolution Board, together with the Housing Agency, will arrange for all eligible dwellings to be remediated to a high standard and at no additional cost to the affected homeowners. Remediation works will continue to be carried out at the earliest possible opportunity having regard to the existing demands of the scheme and the optimum use of available resources,” said Minister English.
Pyrite (Iron Sulfide FeS2 ) is a naturally occurring mineral comprised of the elements iron and sulfur. In general, pyrite may be described as either being reactive or non-reactive. Reactive pyrite is not usually visible to the naked eye. This is the form that is predominantly responsible for the pyritic heave in Ireland. Pyrite is a fairly ubiquitous mineral and it occurs most commonly in sedimentary rocks. Pyrite itself is not a problem but when it is exposed to moisture and oxygen a series of chemical reactions can occur which can have the effect of prising open cracks and causing further expansion. When this expansion occurs in hardcore that is well compacted (e.g. in a dwelling) it may result in: the cracking of floors, internal partitions and external walls; outward movement of external walls; and/or the heaving of ground floors and bulging of internal partition finishes.
By the end of March this year over 2,000 applications had been received under the pyrite remediation scheme. 1,600 dwellings have been included in the pyrite remediation scheme and the applicants notified accordingly.
The average all in cost of remediation in 2016 was in the region of €70,000 per dwelling. There can be significant variation in costs, with one-off houses generally having larger ground floor areas being the most expensive.
The pyrite remediation scheme has been in operation 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 pyrite remediation scheme is a scheme of “last resort” for affected homeowners who have no other practical option to obtain redress and is limited in its application and scope. The full conditions for eligibility under the scheme are set out in the scheme which is available on the Board’s website.