The mica redress scheme is to be increased to a 100% grant, an increase from 90%, according to Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien.

The minister has announced certain improvements for the mica redress scheme, more formally known as the ‘Defective Concrete Block Scheme’.

He said that the core issues raised in relation to the current scheme – homeowner concerns relating to cost recovery and assurances regarding the remediated homes – would be addressed through “immediate action”; while administrative, technical and scientific issues would be addressed through legislative changes and longer-term research.

Key changes to the scheme include:

  • The current 90% max grant will be increased to 100% grant for all remediation options one to five;
  • The max grant for option one (demolish and rebuild) will be increased to €420,000 from €247,500;
  • The grant calculation method will be based on the cost per square foot of rebuilding the existing home, with costings to be set by Minister O’Brien’s department in consultation with the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI). The indicative rate will be €145 per square foot for the first 1,000ft2 based on SCSI methodology with a sliding scale thereafter;
  • The application process will be revised which will require the homeowner to submit an initial ‘Building Condition Assessment’ at a cost recoupable on entry to the scheme;
  • Alternative accommodation and storage costs to be included, subject to a maximum €20,000;

In relation to remediation options two to five, a second grant option will be available for such a home in the future if mica blockwork which was not removed as part of the initial remediation work subsequently proves to be defective in accordance with the relevant standard.

The five remediation options under the scheme are:

  • Option one – demolish entire dwelling to foundation level and rebuild;
  • Option two – demolish and rebuild external walls (both outer and inner leafs) down to foundation on a phased basis and re-render;
  • Option three – demolish and rebuild external walls (both outer and inner leaf) down to top of rising wall on a phased basis and re-render;
  • Option four – demolish and rebuild external walls (outer leaf only) down to top of rising wall on a phased basis and re-render;
  • Option five – demolish and rebuild outer leaf of affected walls only and re-render.

A new independent appeals process is set to be introduced, and the scheme will be extended beyond the current scope of principle private residence only, to also cover rental properties registered with the Residential Tenancies Board (RTB), subject to the introduction of a clawback mechanism on resale.

Minister O’Brien said that, to prevent this issue arising again, a new buildings standards regulator and a building industry register will be established.

“Let me by very clear in saying that this government will also explore all options in pursuing potentially liable wrongdoers and I will continue to work with the Attorney General in this regard,” Minister O’ Brien commented.