Priory Hall apartments: What went wrong and what can we learn from this?

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itsmandymoo

Guest
coalport

I wonder can anyone help!!!. I live beside a block of appartments that coalport built. They did extensive damage to my house and left me no option other than to get a solicitor. He dragged his heels so much that we were recommended to mover to another solicitor who a couple of months ago told us they could not keep the case going unless we paid up front, which we cant. With all the coalport business up in the air at the moment i thought someone out there might be able to help as to where i turn now. Its been going on 8 years.

Thanks

itsmandymoo
 

onq

Former user
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4,390
A solicitor alone will find it difficult to move forward.
The first thing to do is quantify the substantive issue.

This is likely to be damage or trespass to your building.
This has costed you some sort of financial or personal loss.

The amounts involved may required the case to be taken to the High Court.
If so, you need a team competent experienced building professional to make a case.
As a bare minimum he will need some sort of assessment of damage and cost of repairs.

- An inspecting architect
- An inspecting civil and structural engineer
- An inspecting Quantity Surveyor.

The first two inspect the damage and assess likely causes (any contemporaneous, notes or photographs would be a help any correspondence etc.)
They will then propose remedial action, which may or may not involve liaising with the Building Control officer.

The latter draws up a Cost Estimate for the works based on the assessment and recommended remedial action.

If there is a trespass or boundary dispute you may need the extent of this surveyed by a Chartered Surveyor.
This may result in a financial award as opposed to reinstatement of the boundary.

If there is an implication for services you may need the services of an Mechanical and Electrical Consulting Engineer.

The reason you go for competent and experienced building professionals is that they are able to face off against anyone the other side puts up.
They can only be "trumped" in court by someone more expert than they, and then usually only on a specialist subject.

This would arise in the case of say, deposition of waste and remediation of landfill areas, for example, in which case you get in an opposing specialist.
One specialist that is may be required in apartment cases is a fire safety consultant, perhaps more than and M&E - if this is so, your architect and solicitor can advise.

This does not multiply costs as much as you might think, because each member of the inspection team only does their own specialist niche.

Against this at the moment you have to weigh the fact that Coalport may be a man of straw.
this may be the reason that your current solicitor has requested that you pay costs up front - has he advised you on this?

This may mean you will not recover costs and just reading your post, but the way your solicitors have acted on this cause concern.
The case you may be taking is against your solicitors for not having moved this forward in a competent or timely manner, if that is shown to be the case.


ONQ.

http://www.oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matter at hand.
 

onq

Former user
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4,390
Given the seriousness of the situation facing the Architectural profession and the fact this this is not new ground, I think it is as well that we all face known facts.

This is the Priory Hall Report
http://www.rte.ie/news/av/2011/1018/media-3084774.html

Before Priory Hall there there was Shangan Hall.
The building was commissioned by Dublin City Council.
Shangan Hall Apartments were certified by Anthony Reddy & Associates in 2005.

Prime Time
Presented by Rita O'Reilly
Broadcast on: 22 May 2006

http://www.rte.ie/news/av/2006/0522/primetime.html#page=62

The Section on Shangan Hall starts at timestamp 38:50 - it finshes at 48:28 and I draw your attention to the section commencing at 44:14

This link requires Realplayer
http://europe.real.com/realplayer/

OR

Media Player Classic with the necessary codec.
http://mpc-hc.sourceforge.net/media-player-features.html

Tony Reddy's comment was
"I wasn't personally involved in the design."
Tony Reddy was President of the RIAI in 2005 and is a current fellow of the RIAI.

I have met Tony on several occasions.
He is one of the nicest men you could meet.
His office in Dublin has done some interesting design work.
Yet we see him mired in controversy in the above Prime Time Report.

What message do Shangan Hall and Priory Hall send to the public and the Minister?
Here are Phil Hogan's comments as previously reported
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1021/1224306217140.html
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/1027/1224306562565.html

Here is a view on his comments.
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2011/1025/1224306445826.html

I agree that the current regulatory situation can be improved, but this does not justify the actions of architects who may have issued Opinions at variance with the facts.

The RIAI have to step up to the mark on this one.


For those who may be interested, there is also an ongoing discussion on Mark Stephens Archtiect's Blog about Priory Hall and Architects Certification.

http://markstephensarchitects.com/2011/10/17/misconceptions-regarding-planning-building-regulationscontrol-priory-court/comment-page-1/

I have no relation or professional connection to Mark Stephens other than we may both be Member of the Architectural Association of Ireland, but I'm not certain.


ONQ.

http://oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.
 
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onq

Former user
Messages
4,390
Some images which may be helpful the debate were posted here
from /www.archiseek.com/forum/

These appear to show the bedrooms which were removed by condition





 

onq

Former user
Messages
4,390
Just a note on certification and its implication - where we came from on this.
Back in the 'Nineties when I started certifying and the RIAI new form of words came out I initially resisted the inclusion of Main Contractors and Sub-Contractors certs in my Schedule A appendices on a matter of principle.

I felt it was my job to certify the design was compliant according to visual inspection or limited inspection on site.
It was the contractor and sub-contractors job to certify the built works.

I felt that by including their cert in mine I was taking on responsibility for the built works that simply wasn't justified by the money we were making out of it.
After all, they got the lion's share of the profit for the built work - many, many multiples of our fees - so they should carry the can.

I was of the opinion that two separate booklets of certification should be issued, with the contractors certification being independently verified by Building Control.
Nobody wanted to listen - most Building Control people weren't interested in stepping out of their offices unless it was to go to a career-enhancing seminar or course.

Thus I made the best of it in the following way -

ALL the contractors, sub-contractors and specialist suppliers had to offer their certificates for the built work before I would begin the final inspection.
These certificates would be included in my Schedule A assurances AFTER the design team and/or specialist designers (e.g. Fire Safety Consultants) assurances.
My file was backed up with site minutes, faxes and photographs from the appointed technical person in the office looking after the work PLUS my own site visits.

The "visual inspection system" worked well, used in that way.

However if the implications of the Coalport Saga hold true it has been totally abused in the decade since the end of the 'Nineties. That suggests that in our most productive period of building in Ireland, the most egregious errors may have crept in through lax standards set by architects and no inspections by Building Control Officers.
Yet one local authority where credit is due on Building Standards (whatever about other issues on which I may be at loggerheads with them) is Meath Co Co. John Sweeney is the BCO there and runs a tight and efficient ship, with an amazing 100% inspections achieved in one year (2003)!

http://www.nda.ie/cntmgmtnew.nsf/0/D7B9326DE8BF2CBA802570CF00348A4C/$File/07_part_m.htm

This is how it should be done.

Both examples above show how compliant building standards could be set and achieved using available methods and staffing - no additional laws are needed.
Now let's see if the RIAI and Minister Phil Hogan can come together and agree a way forward and not simply ineffective new legislation and re-wording of Opinions that may not be well thought through.


ONQ

http://oneillquigley.eu

All advice on AAM is remote from the situation and cannot be relied upon as a defence or support - in and of itself - should legal action be taken.
Competent legal and building professionals should be asked to advise in Real Life with rights to inspect and issue reports on the matters at hand.
 
L

Lecorbusier

Guest
Watching the Prime Time program on Priory Hall and reading press articles on this subject, I understand that the main failure from the architect is to have issued his certificate without properly inspecting the development.

It is more likely that the problems related to this development and others have motivated the enactment of S.I. No. 96/2011 - Multi-Unit Developments Act 2011, which now prevents some professionals to certify compliance with their own design or TGD 008 which now prevents them to supervise the design of extensions or refurbishments of school extensions. However, these professionals are not the cause of the problem. The cause is deeply rooted within certificates of compliance drafted and approved by the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and other engineering institutes. These certificates are inadequate to protect consumers.

Considering the Multi-units development Act 2011, which was drafted to help preventing similar debacle in the future; I am wondering how the public is currently protected from a similar problem to happen again. There are now 3 different groups of professionals qualified to issue these certificates: registered architects, registered surveyors and registered engineers. The Act is preventing many professionals such as chartered architectural technologists, fire safety consultants, architectural consultants and others, to issue these certificates. Why? Priory Hall demonstrates that RIAI architects are not up to the task?

In respect of fire safety, the Multi-units development Act 2011 does not represent an additional protection to the public. If Priory Hall had to be built tomorrow, the same scenario could happen again. Let's not forget that the Priory Hall architect is still able to issue similar certificates today.

The actual system of certification is a business that is not designed to serve consumers. The failure of the system is not caused by under-qualified professionals as some institutions want us to believe; it is caused by an absence of professional ethic, by a system that relies on self-certification. If the government does not decide to implement a state certification system similar to the one in place in the United Kingdom, then who shall certify in the future and how? After Priory Hall, it is clear that membership of an institute does not represent sufficient protection to consumers, specially when this institute represents and defends its members instead of protecting the public.

Many self-taught architects have been prevented to continue practising with the Building Control Act 2007. This was obviously a way for the RIAI to cut competition in the name of public safety. The future will show that most defective structures built in Ireland were designed by RIAI architects not by the self-taught who are now prevented to practice as architects. I have inspected apartments in Dublin 18 that the media never talked about. Apartments built during the last decades with major problem of water infiltration. We heard about apartment roofs taken by the wind. Houses in Lucan without proper fire rescue access... And so on...

Beware consumers, the prefix MRIAI does not implicate quality as the institute wants you to believe. Instead of working for public safety, the RIAI is working to restrict the practice of architecture to their own members, working to deprive consumers from being able to choose their architect outside of their institute. Refer to the Architects' Alliance of Ireland (AAoI) for more information.
 
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onq

Former user
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4,390
I agree that neither legislation nor RIAI membership alone cannot guarantee certification with integrity.
It also seems to be the case that the RIAI doesn't appear to censure its members in public for infractions.
Yet the implication that the RIAI or their members are systemically incompetent re certification doesn't hold water.

The RIAI have the largest affiliation of qualified architects in Ireland 2,850 in 2010 and probably less in 2011 - I don't have the figures to hand.
You suggest that self-trained architects are as competent as MRIAI's, but I seem to recall the AAoI spokesperson suggesting their numbers are only around 400?.
Does it not follow that the largest number of architects, who may also attract the larger schemes to their offices, may have a proportionately greater number of building defects to their name?

The existence of one architect who has certified compliance of a building that is defective does not mean that a significant percentage of RIAI members have done likewise.
Also just because an architect has apparently mis-certified one building for one client doesn't mean that he has done so on all his buildings or for all his other clients.


ONQ.
 
L

Lecorbusier

Guest
I am Lecorbusier,

The architect who has set the 5 points of modern architecture.

You may know that one of the points that I theorised is to build on pilotis. My futuristic vision had help me to anticipate climate change and tsunamis. However, corrupted systems in place today have allowed otherwise (refer to recent flooded RIAI design building in Dublin).

I am Lecorbusier, I am an utopist... What I have seen in Irish architecture recently is a disgrace. It is in line with the financial market, an obvious lack of humanism, an institute which has focussed its effort in enlarging its monopoly instead of working for a better architecture, an institute that claims acting for public interests when only working in the interests of its members.

My previous post never stated that RIAI members were all incompetents. Many MRIAI are members of the institute because they do not have the choice to do otherwise. my previous post stated that RIAI members have probably designed more defective buildings than self-taughts architects or technicians.

There are 2 reasons for that. 1) Most RIAI architects are businessmen. Many do not design their building but just put their name on it. 2) Many have stopped keeping up to date with regulations when they became MRIAI, and since they were given the title they never been assessed. 3) Most MRIAI became architects hoping to be rich and famous. They design building for their own glory rather than for public comfort.

Self-taught architects entered the profession as draughtsmen or assistants, they did not aspire to become famous but to make an average earning. Technologists are interested in the design and generally stick to it. They do not aspire to glory when they design but to perfection.

The RIAI wants the public to believe that membership of their institute implicate quality, but the past, the present and the future will prove their lies.

The RIAI is trying to restrict the provision of architectural services to its members. However, many competent practitioners can produce quality services, can survey and certify compliance adequately.

The RIAI is always using the first opportunity to discredit self-taught architects or technicians... Why shouldn't we do the same?

the Multi-units development Act 2011 as part 3 of the Building Control Act 2007 is a disgrace. It is a result of RIAI propaganda to expand its monopoly and to prevent competent professionals from different horizons to compete with RIAI members.

I repeat the RIAI is not working for the consumers it is working to improve the privileges of its members. Priory Hall is a proof and many other development prove that membership of the institute does not guaranty services quality. Every self-taughts aren't David Grant. The question is why have they all been condemned? Should we do the same with MRIAI now that it is proven that some of their members are also making mistakes?
 

onq

Former user
Messages
4,390
I'm not in a position to defend the RIAI or to speak on their behalf "Le Corbusier".
I don't need to claim to be a long-dead Frenchman to lend weight to my comments.

I didn't suggest that your previous post stated that all MRIAI's were incompetents.
I pointed out that you couldn't logically infer this from the facts to hand about Priory Hall.

I also pointed out that you couldn't even for an opinion on the other work done or certified by the same architect.
Stephen Oppermann has been around a long time, yet I'm not aware of a slew of building defects to his name.


ONQ.
 
L

Lecorbusier

Guest
Lecorbusier is not dead... Lecorbusier will still exist when you will be long dead.

I was not referring to Stephen Oppermann's work, but to a long list of RIAI defective design that never made the headlines...

My point is that Priory Hall is not an exception... My problem is that the RIAI discredited all self-taught architects <mod snip> on TV, but of course when one of their members fails to provide adequate services, they cover the mess.

The RIAI spend money to discredit self-taught and technician services. Maybe they should use their money to keep registration fees and exam down... This would be wiser
 
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ajapale

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This thread is being closed for a week or so pending discussion by the moderators and administrators.

aj
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Bronte

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LONGBOAT QUAY - ANOTHER COWBOY BUILDER - BERNARD McNAMARA


In light of the current debacle at Longboat Quay this thread might be of relevance to those who are owners or tenants there. There was a good debate on here and a few other threads about building practices in light of what happened with Priory Hall.

A few newspaper articles:

http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/columnists/michael-clifford/longboat-quay-gremlins-went-to-work-on-apartment-block-357515.html

http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/columnists/michael-clifford/longboat-quay-developer-crawls-back-out-of-his-hole-357288.html?utm_source=link&utm_medium=click&utm_campaign=nextandprev

The confirmation that the 299-unit development on Dublin’s Sir John Rogerson Quay was a fire trap threw McNamara’s activity into a different light. The six-storey blocks were built in an appalling manner in 2006, at the height of the property madness. Corners were cut. Walls were not built with proper fire stops. Vital smoke vents were not installed. There was a total disregard for fire safety in a multi-occupancy building where a fire could have meant multiple fatalities.

http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints/columnists/michael-clifford/longboat-quay-to-say-were-horrified-is-an-understatement-357077.html?utm_source=link&utm_medium=click&utm_campaign=nextandprev

PRIMETIME

There was a broadcast last week on this story. In addition to fire safety issues it was also stated by one resident that he had damp issues from the beginning. These were supposed to be top notch appartments, they certainly cost top dollar with the three beds being sold for 750K.
 
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Bronte

Frequent Poster
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13,241
What is different about this and Priory hall and how might this be of use to the Longboat tenants.

Three things.

1. Nama owns 18 apartments (via the receiver of McNamara)

Right now these are unsaleable, in my opinion, at nearly any price. If the place is fixed they would sell for maybe 300K each. (someone better than me have a value for two bed nice apartments in that area if they were ok) That's nearly five and a half million. Serious bucks. Leverage against Nama, Nama wants them sold, Nama know they can't sell them now, bad publicity to Nama again.

2. DDAA owns the common areas and is liable for 37 apartments via the affordable housing scheme.

I imagine these owners are the ones with practically zero money for repairs. DDAA knows this and if the tenants are pushed too much they might default on their mortgages and then I assume the DDAA would really be the ones to lose out. (anyone know how affordable housing schme works, is the DDAA a co signatory on the mortgage, how is the ownereship worked out)

3. Eviction unlikely. Can you imagine this. The images. Who is going to physically evict them. And the residents saw the hell Priory Hall people had to live through after they left their properties. Personally I'd take my chances in a fire trap building, that I'd been living in for years over putting my family out. And how on earth can some people pay a very large mortgage and pay rent.

- I advise though the installation of multiple smoke alarms and some kind of ladder and expert knowledge of the fire escapes and lots of fire drills. This is less important for those on the ground floor and first floor, and even the second floor isn't so difficult to get out of.

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/council-cannot-rehouse-longboat-quay-residents-says-keegan-1.2380071
 
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A

Asphyxia

Guest
No regulation, and still no regulation, what did we expect. Tom Parlon and the C.F.I. must have serious clout. State building regulation would be self financing after initial set up costs. We always look to other Countries when in comes healthcare, childcare models. There is third party regulation in most Member States in the E.U. why do we not implement one of these models. Fianna Fail shame on you. Fine Gael and Labour shame on you.
 

thedaddyman

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Messages
699
I moved back to Ireland in the early noughties and for a while I used to walk past a small apartment complex in South County Dublin daily. Even to my laymans eyes the quality looked appaling, however, it then got plastered and tarted up and the apartments sold for a small fortune

What have learnt?, it's simple, don't buy any house in an estate or an apartment built in Ireland in the last 15 or 20 years, it's too risky
 

T McGibney

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3,555
What have learnt?, it's simple, don't buy any house in an estate or an apartment built in Ireland in the last 15 or 20 years, it's too risky
I recall a similar caution being expressed in the FT earlier this year in relation to apartments built in London during the past decade.
 
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