Concerns that a Grenfell Tower style tragedy could occur in Tipperary, were addressed at this month’s Co. Council meeting.
Cllr Tom Wood requested that “with health and safety a priority, could Management confirm that all apartment blocks and other units of accommodation within this County have Management Companies in place, that all issues relating to safety are up to standard with Safety Certificates issues, and that our Council’s rented accommodation meets the safety standards required”.
The Grenfell fire disaster in London had really brought the issue home, said Cllr Wood. “While Tipperary doesn’t have any high rise buildings, it does have a lot of apartment blocks.” Many of these don’t have “proper development companies” in place, so if a fire breaks out, “what contact do we have?” The obligation is on the people renting their accommodation to be registered with the Board, but there are quite a lot of properties “where this has not happened,” added Cllr Wood.
Cllr Martin Browne had raised this issue at Cashel Tipperary Municipal District. “I’d ask for a review of all cladding so it’s not used,” he said.
Tipperary’s Chief Fire Safety Officer Mr Dave Carroll said they do not have a list of all the apartment buildings. However, a report on all multi-storey apartment blocks is due by July 19, and he will report back with this. A government Department is identifying all management companies and writing to them, advising them of their responsibilities. A ‘high rise’ was defined as over six floors high, whereas a multi-storey could consist of two or more storeys. The report is aimed at identifying risks regarding high rise blocks in Ireland. “We are not going to have a knee jerk reaction,” said Mr Carroll.
Cllr Browne called for that type of cladding to be restricted, regardless of height. “I would be very worried if that type of cladding was used on any building.” “It’s absolutely crazy” that the review only applies to buildings over six floors, he said. “We don’t see any issues regarding residential properties,” responded Mr Carroll.
Management’s response to Cllr Wood stated: “the Multi Unit Developments Act 2011 regulates the ownership and management of the common areas of multi-unit developments and provides for the setting up of owners’ management companies to manage such areas. A multi-unit development is a development in which there are at least 5 residential units and the units share facilities, amenities and services. In practice, the majority of multi-unit developments are apartment blocks. The Act provides that an owners’ management company must be set up, and the common areas of the development transferred to it, before the developer sells any units. Local Authorities do not have any role in regulating this legislation.
“All apartment blocks constructed since June 1992 are required to have a Fire Safety Certificate granted by the Building Control Authority before construction commences.
“The Building Regulations… came into operation on July 1st 2017 and Tipperary Co. Council has amended its inspection form for RAS, HAP, leasing, private rented inspections and mortgage to rent inspections.”