Schemes for houses affected by pyrite or mica
What are mica and pyrite?
Mica and pyrite are minerals found in the ground and in rocks that are excavated from quarries and used in building blocks. These minerals cause defects in building blocks, which lead to cracks and other problems in buildings and homes constructed with the defective blocks.
Mica was mainly found in quarries in the North West of Ireland and some properties in this area are affected by it. Pyrite caused similar problems in buildings in the East of Ireland.
There are schemes in place to repair or rebuild homes that have been affected by mica and pyrite.
What is the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme?
The Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme provides financial support to people so they can fix properties that have been damaged by the use of defective concrete blocks. Defective concrete blocks are blocks that have excessive amounts of mica or pyrite. The enhanced scheme is available in Clare, Donegal, Limerick and Mayo. It commenced on 22 June 2023 replacing the original scheme.
The original scheme provided a grant for 90% of the work up to a maximum of €247,500, if you had to completely re-build your home and was only available in Donegal and Mayo.
The Remediation of Dwellings Damaged by the Use of Defective Concrete Blocks Act 2022 and the related regulations provide the legislative basis for the new enhanced scheme.
How much will I get?
The Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme covers 100% of remediation work up to a maximum of €420,000.
The grant has 5 remediation options. The options range from a full demolition and rebuild of the property, to a demolition and rebuild of the outer leafs of the affected walls in the property.
The option you qualify for depends on the level of damage to your property. The Housing Agency will assess and test your property to see which option is most suitable for your property.
The regulations include how the grant amounts are calculated for each remediation option. Some of these calculations are based on the size of your home. So, the grant you get will depend on the damage to your home and its size.
What is covered by the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme?
The Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme covers:
- Professional fees
- A building condition assessment report
- Approved remediation works
- Alternative accommodation costs
- Removal and storage costs
- Essential immediate repair work
- The cost of disconnecting and reconnecting services and utilities
- Value Added Tax (VAT)
The enhanced scheme also has:
- A guarantee that you can get another grant, if you don’t have a full rebuild and then need a full rebuild in the next 40 years
- A different way of calculating the grant options
- A revised application process, which means there is no financial barrier to accessing the scheme
- An independent appeals process
Do I qualify for the scheme?
To qualify for the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme your property must:
- Be damaged because defective concrete blocks were used to build it. Defective concrete blocks are blocks with excessive amounts of mica or pyrite in them.
- Be located in Clare, Donegal, Limerick or Mayo
- Be your main residence, or a rented property that was registered with the Residential Tenancies Board before 2 November 2021
- Have been constructed before 31 January 2020
- Not be an unauthorised structure
The scheme may be extended to other counties in the future.
You can only get the grant for one rental property.
How do I apply for the enhanced scheme?
- Get a report confirming the damage
If you think your property has been damaged because defective concrete blocks were used to build it, you should get a competent building professional to assess the damage.
A competent building professional is a building surveyor, engineer or architect who is listed on the statutory register for their professional body and has done any required training.
They will assess your property and complete a building condition assessment report. A template of the building condition assessment report is available in Schedule 1 of the regulations.
The report will recommend that you apply to your local authority for the scheme if the damage to your property:
- Is consistent with damage caused by defective concrete blocks
- Meets the damage threshold for the scheme. The damage threshold is set out in the regulations.
A building condition assessment report costs approximately €500 to €750. You pay for the report. But, if your application is successful, the grant will cover this cost.
2. Apply to your local authority
If your building professional recommends it, you should apply to the local authority for the scheme. You will need to send your building condition assessment report to your local authority when you apply. Your local authority will have information about how to apply on their website. They may use an application form or an online portal.
How are applications decided?
The local authority will send your application and report to the Housing Agency. The Housing Agency will review the documents and check that your property meets the damage threshold for the scheme. If your property meets the damage threshold, the Housing Agency will tell your local authority and they will inform you.
Then, the Housing Agency will get a competent engineer to assess and test your property. The Housing Agency will use this information to decide what remediation option applies to your property and the grant amount you will get. The local authority will contact you to give you this information.
What if I applied for the original scheme?
If you applied under the original scheme, your application will transfer to the new scheme. You will benefit from the increased grant amounts available under the new scheme. You may have to provide additional information to the local authority. The FAQ on the new scheme has a section on transitional arrangements that describes fully how this works.
Where can I get more information about the scheme?
The local authorities administering the scheme will also have information on their websites about how the enhanced scheme works and can advise you about the process.
What is the Defective Concrete Products Levy?
The Defective Concrete Products Levy is a 5% levy on concrete blocks, pouring concrete and other concrete products. It was introduced to help pay for the Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme.
The levy applies from 1 September 2023. It is paid by the person or company who first supplies or sells the concrete product. The levy does not apply if the concrete product is sold on again. If you are liable for the levy, you must:
- Register with Revenue as a chargeable person
- Keep records of all first supplies of concrete products
- Submit a return and pay any levy for each accounting period
It was announced in Budget 2024 that from 1 January 2024 the levy will not apply to the pouring concrete used to make precast concrete products. A refund scheme will be introduced for people who paid the levy for such concrete between 1 September 2023 and 31 December 2023.
What is the Pyrite Remediation Scheme?
The Pyrite Remediation Scheme remediates properties significantly damaged by pyrite. The Scheme is managed by the Pyrite Resolution Board who manage the application and appeals process.
If your home has been affected by pyrite, this scheme will cover 100% of the costs involved in repairing your property.