Publication of new standards from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) to deal with ground heave caused by pyritic backfill material on residential properties in Ireland has been welcomed by homeowners and remediation specialists.
The new publications aim to standardise the testing and categorisation of affected properties, as well as the methodology for remediation, and were written in response to a government-commissioned report on the issue published last summer.
The pyritic heave problem is known to have affected newer properties in County Dublin, Kildare, Offaly and Meath and was first identified as being caused by the presence of reactive pyrite in quarry waste used as hardcore to backfill under the floors of houses in 2007. Ireland’s new house warranty provider Home Bond first saw the effects of the problem in 2005 and initially repaired affected properties. But in August last year Home Bond withdrew cover for homeowners, which led to the launch of the government report into the problem.
“The development of these two standards represents another important step in the advancement and implementation of solutions for homeowners who have been waiting a long time for a resolution to the pyrite problem,” said minister for environment, community and local government Phil Hogan.
The government report estimates that over 12,000 properties are at risk of pyritic heave and only 1,100 have been remediated.
In addition to the new standards, the government has also announced that it will establish a Pyrite Resolution Board to operate a remediation scheme that will be operated through a special purpose vehicle, funded initially by an upfront loan of €50M from six banks andmortgage providers. The loan will be repaid from a mandatory levy that will be imposed on the quarrying and insurance sectors