Verde continuing to undertake Block Work Sampling and Reporting under Pyrite /Mica Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme
We have been quite busy the last few months pyrite sampling properties in Co. Mayo, with almost 90 houses cored since mid February.
The pyrite problem was first identified in Ireland in 2007. It can cause cracking or lifting of concrete floors; cracks in internal and external walls (cracks can be present above and below wall openings); bulging of walls; doors not closing (catching in frames and so on); and movement and displacement of cabinetry installations.
About the Scheme
Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien, launched the new Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme for Donegal and Mayo on the 6th August ’20. The scheme assists homeowners whose dwellings are affected by Mica and Pyrite in Counties Donegal, Mayo and Limerick with Sligo looking to be included with over 200 houses affected.
The government provided €20 million for the scheme in 2020, administered by Donegal and Mayo County Councils. Details of the scheme are available on their respective websites. The scheme went live in both local authority areas at the end of June.
The scheme offers five remedial options, and separate grant limits apply to each option ranging from €247,500 for the complete demolition and rebuild of the dwelling, to €49,500 for the demolition and rebuild of the outer leaf of affected walls only. The funding is subject to the option limits or 90% of the eligible works, whichever is the lesser.
As part of the process to secure Government funding under the Scheme, the homeowner must engage a structural engineer who has been approved and is listed for the defective concrete block scheme. In June 2019, Engineers Ireland established a register of competent engineers for homeowners/affected parties’ reference. The register lists Chartered Engineers, who have the necessary direct professional experience, competence and specialist training in accordance with the requirements set out in ‘I.S. 465:2018 – Assessment, testing and categorisation of damaged buildings incorporating concrete blocks containing certain deleterious materials’.
Verde Remediation Services have been engaged by a structural engineering firm Simon Beale & Associates to undertake sampling in Co. Mayo. To date, Verde Remediation Services have completed sampling at 160 properties, including this badly affected house in Co. Mayo featured in the journal.ie.
Verde Remediation Services Block Work Sampling & Testing
The structural engineer first carries out a survey of the property and identifies sample locations for testing. They then engage Verde Remediation Services to undertake:
- block work sampling of the test locations.
- reinstatement of sample locations.
- sending the samples to an approved laboratory for testing.
- producing a report for the structural engineer on receipt of the laboratory results.
This report forms an integral part of the application for funding under the Government scheme.
What is Pyrite / Mica?
Pyrite is a commonly found, naturally occurring mineral that is found in the ground and also known as iron pyrite (FeS2). Pyrite when present in rocks in low levels is generally fine. However, when the levels of pyrite are higher, and with oxygen and moisture present, this can cause the pyrite-contaminated material to swell. When harmful levels of pyrite are found to be present in building material, this can cause building defects.
Some typical examples of what harmful levels of pyrite can do include cracking or lifting of concrete floors; cracks in internal and external walls (cracks can be present above and below wall openings); bulging of walls; doors not closing (catching in frames and so on); and movement and displacement of cabinetry installations.
If you are worried about possible pyrite or mica damage at your property, an Overview of Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme can be viewed here or on the Mayo County Council and Donegal County Council websites.
Pyrite the News