Longboat Quay Residents face €4 million Fire risk bill
Longboat Quay is a Docklands complex of 298 apartments built by developer Bernard McNamara. Residents were delivered the blow earlier this week that they may need to pay up to €18,000 in order to fix serious fire safety defects including fire stopping material issues in utility services that link apartments and the ‘compartmentalisation’ of common areas to prevent the spread of fire.
Defects came to light last year when a fire engineer working for the receiver of an apartment reported the lack of fire- stopping material to Dublin Fire Brigade. Investigations that followed revealed the full extent of the problems, and while inadequate fire alarms have been upgraded, substantive works ordered by the Fire Brigade have not been carried out.
Bernard McNamara built the complex in 2006 which owners paying between €450,000 and €750,000 for their properties at the height of the economic boom. However his company Gendsong went into receivership. As a result of this the common areas remain with the Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA)which is now the nominal landlord. The authority also has ownership of a small number of apartments in the complex. The DDDA has so far paid €1m to fix the fire alarm system, but further work is required to upgrade fire walls and smoke vents at costs up to €4m mark.
The DDDA has come back to apartment owners saying that the responsibility for the remainder of the required repair works lies at their door as McNamara’s company has gone into receivership.
Owners are now left with a huge dilemma as while they may be able to make some contribution to cover costs, they are ultimately unable to foot the entire bill. As a collective they argue that the authority still has responsibility for all common areas.
The problems for residents of Longboat Quay eerily echoes those of Priory Hall residents.
At the moment however, it does not look as though complete evacuation of the apartment complexes will be needed and residents confirm that they will be allowed to live in their premises while work is ongoing.
Calls have been made in The Dail today for An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to personally intervene in the case, ensuring that Bernard McNamara and all those responsible are held accountable. Bernard McNamara is now understood to be debt free and engaging again in property development in the country (following on from his racking up debts of €2 billion during boom times.