Donegal County Council has issued an update on the administration of the Defective Concrete Block Grant Scheme, particularly in relation to stage 1 applications.
The processing of such applications was put on hold in December 2021, pending receipt of Departmental advice and guidance on a range of technical matters.
Such matters included the fact that additional deleterious materials (other than mica and pyrite) were arising within test results that had been submitted to the Council as part of the application process.
In addition, a national review is underway on the IS465 standard, upon which the current scheme is based. Given the uncertainty, it has not been possible to make decisions on stage 1 applications without the additional advice and guidance which is consistent with I.S:465 +A1: 2020.
Following ongoing engagement with the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the updated guidance and parameters to be applied by the Council when considering the stage 1 applications, have now been clarified.
In this regard, the following next steps are now being put in place:
• The Council will invite the Engineer’s Ireland panel of chartered engineers involved with applications to a meeting in order to provide details of the updated parameters and clarifications.
• The Council will commence a review of all the Stage 1 applications which have been on hold, based on date order when latest information was received.
• The Council will issue a communication to each relevant applicant in relation to likely timeframes, and potential outcomes. This will happen within the next two weeks.
The following outcomes are expected to arise from the review of applications:
• Some applications will be approved and confirmation of eligibility will be issued to the applicant.
• Where applications cannot be approved, a final request for further information will issue to the applicant. This will afford the applicant’s chartered engineer an opportunity to provide the necessary evidence to substantiate the recommended minimum feasible remedial option submitted.
In cases where a final opportunity to submit further information is sought, and received, the response will be considered, and decisions made as follows:
• Where the required evidence is considered to have been provided by the chartered engineer, the application will be approved, and confirmation of eligibility will be issued to the applicant.
• Where the required evidence is still not considered to have been provided, the engineers report will be deemed to be incomplete, the application will be put on hold, and will be assigned to the Housing Agency for determination when the new Enhanced Scheme commences.
The Council said it appreciates homeowners continued patience as they review the affected stage 1 applications.