Dublin City Council to Buy Priory Hall Apartments?

The Priory Hall  apartments are a heap of junk  and those who bought them were sold rubbish.  This is beyond doubt.  The apartments are so dangerous that Dublin’s chief fire officer felt compelled to serve a fire safety notice on the complex, closing it down, despite the fact that it was home to dozens of families.

But let’s be clear about something.  Dublin City Council didn’t make these people homeless.  What made these people homeless was the fact that their homes were dangerous.  Dublin city council didn’t build the apartments, nor did it have any obligation under the law to make sure that the buildings were constructed properly.  That responsibility, under Irish law, rests exclusively with the builder.

That’s how matters stand with regard to the building regulations, but we can take it a step further.  The people who bought these apartments were in the same position as anyone else buying a dwelling.  They had every right to survey the building before making a financial commitment.  They were free to hire surveyors and I imagine some, if not all, of them did so.  If the fire inspectors, after a visual inspection, were able to identify fundamental safety problems, why weren’t the surveyors hired by the purchasers able to spot the same problems?

What did these surveyors say about the Priory Hall complex?  Did any of them say that it was a fire trap, and if not, why not?  What are their contractual obligations to the people who hired them?  And if the purchasers didn’t have the specialised knowledge to assess their homes before buying, why did they not hire an expert to advise them?

I hear that the local authority is now under pressure to buy the apartments from the owners and I have to wonder why.  If it turns out that my house is uninhabitable due to subsidence or dampness, will my local authority buy it from me to save me from the consequences of my failure to check it out properly before buying it?

I suspect not.

So what exactly is the difference between the Priory Hall owners and any other householder who happens to be sold a defective dwelling?


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24 thoughts on “Dublin City Council to Buy Priory Hall Apartments?

  1. I dunno. Tough one.
    I’ve found surveyors don’t spot too much.
    There was a bit of dampness, a lot of dampness actually in the last house I bought. Had a survey done. Wasn’t spotted.
    He did mention lead pipes all right, I’ll give him that much.
    Otherwise he was a useless shagger. I didn’t have any recourse with him. The owners happened to pop by for some mail one time and I asked them about their paint job to cover the mold. Their response? Ask yar expert why don’t ya.

    Anyways, they council would probably have to house them in any event. What are we going to do kick a few hundred people out on the street. It’s been evacuated now right..

    By the way, you as a customer has to pay for your banks surveyor prior to a mortgage being approved.
    Why didn’t the bank’s surveyors determine that the property was not fit for habitation prior to lending out the mortgage?
    Why would anyone pay for a heap of shite to a bank, when they charge you for a surveyor who failed to do their job also.

  2. The bank surveyor’s job is to assess the value of the property. If he fails to spot a defect that renders the property valueless then in my opinion, he is personally responsible and his professional indemnity policy should cover the loss instead of the taxpayer.

  3. Would the bank not be responsible if they hired the surveyor, for their valuation survey? If they advised it was worth it’s value – to the bank.

    If the bank’s surveyor is responsible, who should put in a claim against them?

    Cowboys again building shite.
    I think they should be jailed for this.
    The two didn’t even show up in court.

  4. If the bank paid the assessor, he owes them a duty of care but only in regard to the value of the property. If the purchasers hired him, his duty of care is to them and only so far as his assessment covers the value of the property.

    One way or another, the taxpayer has no obligation to them, much though we might feel sympathy for their situation.

  5. Scanned it briefly to be honest with you.

    Out with it then..

    I see:
    Which developments require a Fire Safety Certificate?
    2. A building containing a flat

  6. Oh right.
    So in effect, the certificate is given based on plans? Not on any inspection on completion.

    That’s a joke.

    But still who’d be responsible I wonder if a fire did break out.

  7. The certificate states that a building, if constructed in accordance with the design submitted, would satisfy the building regulations. That’s fair enough. After that, however, successive Irish governments decided not to provide enough inspectors to make sure the buildings were constructed properly. Instead, they decided to establish a system of self-certification.

    If a fire broke out, nobody would be liable. Fires break out all the time, even in the best-constructed buildings.

    If, on the other hand, a fire spread too quickly, the responsibility would fall on the designer if he failed to specify the building properly, the builder if he failed to construct it properly and the surveyor if he failed to spot a weakness. It might also fall on suppliers of building components if they happened to be inferior in any way.

  8. I’ve been reading about this for awhile now,and all I can say is that Ireland must be about 50 years behind the UK with building regs.Surely if the lender gets a survey done,and lends money on the strength of that survey,then the lender and the person who did the survey are liable. That’s how it works in the real world, or is it different in ireland?

  9. The Bank’s assesor/surveyor/valuation expert will not likely have any liability or duty of care in the manner that you are referring. His expertise lies in valuation and his opinions on quality and safety are largely irrelevant although his concerns are not. His contract and insurance will protect him accordingly. Just like everyone else, he relies on the appropriate consultants to sign off on their areas of expertise.

  10. Both in Britain and in Ireland the financial transaction and the building regulations have nothing to do with each other. One is a civil contract, while the other is a statutory obligation.

  11. Have read 000s surveys and dealt with dozens surveyors (on behalf of lender). Beware the ‘walls of Jericho’ survey – drive past and toot the horn and if it doesnt fall down its ok. Used to receive beautifully presented surveys in nice folders with Polaroid pictures of the outside of the property (from one particular surveyor). Thought he was great until discovered he just employed kid to take polaroids and he never went near the properties. Quick easy money.

  12. If a surveyor failed to detect a fundamental defect, that surveyor has a liability to whoever relied on their professional advice. It seems to me that, instead of DCC bearing the financial burden, it should be carried by these surveyors’ professional liability insurance.

    Is anything wrong with what I just said?

  13. I was under the impression though that the detection of the issues in question required very invasive works on the apartment complex which no surveyour would have been able to reasonably do; also don’t they get clients to sign a waiver these days anyway?

  14. Steve » It took no special investigation to see that a bedroom should not be located off a kitchen. Other problems included walls built in the wrong places and extra dwelling units on the top floor. Besides, what caused the fire people to become suspicious? Should the other professionals not have picked up the same problems?

  15. Fair enough – I was only going by what I heard on the radio when they were interviewing the head of the resident’s organisation – the question was put to him why the buyers didn’t get his all checked out in advance and that was his response. Perhaps he was not correct.
    Who in their right mind would look at a flat with the bedroom attached the kitchen and think “dream home”?

  16. I think the surveyors have some questions to answer, and also the purchasers. Even though I have great sympathy for their plight, it’s not clear to me why these people’s predicament should cost the taxpayer anything, since the State had no hand in creating the problem.

  17. The council did have an independent survey done and where told that it was the worst development ever seen and they were advised to stay clear of them.They ignored that advise and went ahead with the purchase anyway.That report is on record in the council

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