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Pyrite & Ireland

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  • 15-04-2012 4:02pm
    #1
    Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 280 ✭✭


    Pyrite & Ireland.

    The problems associated with Pyrite have been widely reported in news media and if you are purchasing a house built in the last 12 years you would be right to be concerned.
    We survey between 3 & 5 properties across Ireland every week and often get asked by our clients about Pyrite.
    - In the first instance our engineers would look for obvious signs of pyrite related damage such as bulging and cracking in centre of floors, doors sticking, cracking in walls.
    - Secondly are their any reports of pyrite in the estate.

    NOTE: Damage due to swelling pyrite can take some time to manifest itself, on average 8-10 years after the hardcore fill being laid. Sometimes the timing can be significantly reduced, damage appearing after only one year when the pyrite containing hardcore is exposed to wet weather for a prolonged period.

    The specification, SR21, was updated in 2007 for the limiting of pyrite in hardcore fill under ground floor slab. The specification has been referred to in the Building Regulations, reference the 2004 and 2008 reprints of Part C of the Technical Guidance Documents.
    - Therefore if a property was built from this period on wards the builder should have been aware of any possible issues with contaminated hardcore fill.
    - This is however no guarantee that pyrite was not present in the hardcore laid.
    - The builder may be able to produce test certificates for the hardcore that came to site, however again this is no guarantee that substandard material did not make its way into the backfill under the slab.

    - The presence or otherwise of Pyrite in the hardcore can only be confirmed by testing in-situ the hardcore fill under the floor.
    - Testing is the most effective method but still not a guarantee, you can pick a spot/sample at random to test, and find no pyrite. Then test another sample a metre away and find pyrite.
    - Access to the fill is obviously a problem; typically small cores are taken through the floor, preferably in areas that will not affect existing finishes. In the case of damage, costs for any remedial works would be significant. One way to protect yourself against possible future repairs is to check whether your builder is covered by insurance against such structural damage or whether a bond was taken out with a structural guarantee scheme (e.g. Premier Guarantee) in case of structural damage from pyrite.
    - Note that the Homebond scheme does not appear to be willing or able to pay out on claims at present. Also from my dealings with Premier they will move to this stance on 'imminent damage' which is written in the conditions of the policy. There is an argument if you have damage which triggers the policy, however if your in a row of homes and every second one is exhibiting pyrite damage, it is unlikely that you will get cover under these types of policies / bonds.
    Your typical home insurance is unlikely to cover this sort of damage.
    - Testing should be carried out by an independent testing company of your choice ( we carry out the testing & reporting for pyrite ) and ideally paid for by the seller (it is a buyers market!).
    Hope this is helpful,
    M. Fleming :D


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Comments

  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 280 ✭✭engineermike


    Hi,
    Reading another post on pyrite - and the existence or non existence of a database, I think a list of area's and prevalence or likely hood can be published with data from my industry and contributions in a forum such as this.

    Obviously with the nature of Pyrite and when it manifests itself in a structure will not allow for a complete picture - however I believe an outline picture for buyers would be of benefit in the public domain.

    If anyone wants to contribute with confirmed area's or estates - I can begin compiling a data base or map for use in boards, or online.
    Regards,
    Mike F
    :)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭gurramok


    The problem with this is that sellers and people who live in affected estates would not like the bad publicity that goes with the pyrite problem.

    Its a guessing game on which estates are affected, there is limited information available, though I did read from media reports before which counted thousands of properties affected and thats just in Dublin!


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 280 ✭✭engineermike


    gurramok wrote: »
    The problem with this is that sellers and people who live in affected estates would not like the bad publicity that goes with the pyrite problem.

    Its a guessing game on which estates are affected, there is limited information available, though I did read from media reports before which counted thousands of properties affected and thats just in Dublin!

    Hi,
    Yes I agree - however a lot of the information is common knowledge in sections of the public domain - outside the control of residents and owners.

    If individual estates are not named, but a format of North / south / east / west coloration is denoted on a map of a townland - then buyers can at least make an informed decision as to whether pass up a sale or have it correctly survey'd.
    Just this week alone my office has looked at 2 Pyrite renovation works / inspections. - Baldoyle Co.Dublin & Edenderry co. Offaly.
    'Caveat emptor' just doesn't quite cut it for me professionally having seen the carry on that has taken place in Ireland during the last 15 years in construction and property.
    At the very least a map indicating known cases and not naming estates or addresses would benefit potential buyers, leaving suspected cases to one side.
    Mike f:)


  • Registered Users Posts: 333 ✭✭mondymike


    My brother is looking at a property in hansfield clonee atm. Afaik there is an ongoing situation regarding a house in Ongar across the way. A Database would make a massive difference with knowing before you buy or even look.

    Is there an existing Db or is there a way of checking up on ongoing issues?


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 280 ✭✭engineermike


    mondymike wrote: »
    My brother is looking at a property in hansfield clonee atm. Afaik there is an ongoing situation regarding a house in Ongar across the way. A Database would make a massive difference with knowing before you buy or even look.

    Is there an existing Db or is there a way of checking up on ongoing issues?

    Hi - We are in the process of gathering info. from Job's I and my colleagues know about - We will only be shading a map in general area's and not naming particular estates - to ensure no legal reproach is provided against myself or my company. I've also engaged with a number of pyrite repair specialists to gain there data to add to the map.
    At the very lease it will give the cautious buyer some extra info. and they can address this with a proper survey / testing or what is required.

    At the moment its local knowledge and communication between professionals coupled with indications of pyrite heave during survey.
    One of my engineers is based in Clonee b.t.w - so if you need someone with knowledge of the area for a survey, just send me a PM.
    mike F


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  • Registered Users Posts: 159 ✭✭witty username


    Hi - We are in the process of gathering info. from Job's I and my colleagues know about - We will only be shading a map in general area's and not naming particular estates - to ensure no legal reproach is provided against myself or my company. I've also engaged with a number of pyrite repair specialists to gain there data to add to the map.
    At the very lease it will give the cautious buyer some extra info. and they can address this with a proper survey / testing or what is required.

    At the moment its local knowledge and communication between professionals coupled with indications of pyrite heave during survey.
    One of my engineers is based in Clonee b.t.w - so if you need someone with knowledge of the area for a survey, just send me a PM.
    mike F

    Hi Mike, has there been any progress on this since?


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 280 ✭✭engineermike


    HI Witty,
    Just trying to find the time to admin the data we've collected to date. Probably going to work it up over x mas, when i've some down time. The format will be in a blog - with information relating to pyrite & a map indicating known instances.
    The list of places grows every month, at least some problematic estates are getting remidials carried out across the board.
    mike f


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,591 ✭✭✭RATM


    Hows progress going on this map Mike ? Would be an invaluable tool for buyers, as you say caveat emptor doesn't quite cut the mustard in this scenario


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 280 ✭✭engineermike


    RATM wrote: »
    Hows progress going on this map Mike ? Would be an invaluable tool for buyers, as you say caveat emptor doesn't quite cut the mustard in this scenario

    Hi,
    Unfortunately recent successful legal challenges have prevented Pyrite estates being named in the public domain. I was advised to keep our data for survey purposes in our private & confidential reporting to our clients.
    Its fair / but unfair at the same time. Contamination in many cases isn't development wide, so one house can have problems and the next 4 or 5 not have any issues at all.
    Its unfair on potential purchasers, and the information is risk related for all parties involved - buyers, lenders & insurers.
    I've discussed a few ways of 'skinning the cat' with some discussion in the banking & insurance sector to pool information but nothing has been agreed as yet.
    mike f


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,992 ✭✭✭✭gurramok


    Which means buyer beware. Just don't even think of looking to buy properties that were built post 2000 to be majorly safe from buying a pyrite house.

    Buy a house post 2000, your risk of obtaining a pyrite one is alot higher.


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  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 280 ✭✭engineermike


    gurramok wrote: »
    Which means buyer beware. Just don't even think of looking to buy properties that were built post 2000 to be majorly safe from buying a pyrite house.

    Buy a house post 2000, your risk of obtaining a pyrite one is alot higher.

    I'd even extend that period of concern up to 2007 with 2004 - 2007 being in the 'grey area' where knowledge was available in the industry relating to this particular issue.
    However it was still in the construction boom & some horrendously poor decisions on building systems / material / construction methods occurred to enable quick build times before the price of land increased (they thought!) on a developers next project.
    You can just hear them saying " Sure it'll be Grand like" :rolleyes:

    mikef


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,591 ✭✭✭RATM


    Mike would you know a rough % figure of the amount of houses / apartments built from 2000-2010 that have pyrite in them ? Like is it 1% or closer to 10% ? If closer to 10% then anyone buying a unit built during this period would be mad not to consider a structural survey. Even at 5% you're taking a one in 20 risk, people buy lottery scratchcards for far worse odds than that.


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 280 ✭✭engineermike


    Hi ratm,
    Its a difficult thing to gauge but estimates are at 20,000 to 60,000 homes have pyrite contamination. Approx. 650,000 homes built in Ireland during the period 2000 - 2010 (CIF Figures). So your at least 3 - 10 %.
    When you take into account unreported cases that where settled or remedied by the builder directly and kept quite, new extensions built to existing homes I'd say nearer the 10 % figure.
    Due diligence on professional & legal fees when buying is money well spent particularly in light of Homebond / Premier's 'adopted' position on pyrite claims.
    mikef


  • Registered Users Posts: 2 MINIPolka


    Hi Guys I just found your thread. I have made an offer on an apt in Fingal and proceeded to nearly signing all papers. Got a surveyor as was a bit anxious about small cracks in walls. They look like settlement ones. The surveyor advised to observe it towards piryte etc but that doed not confirm anything at all. I have been renting this place from a longer while and love it so don't want to give it up. How much does it cost to dp the sample? My estate is next to an estate that has been affected by piryte but its been built by different construction company. Any advice?


  • Registered Users Posts: 368 ✭✭clunked


    Find out where the infill came from. There were a small number of quarries where pyrite came from. Your solicitor should be able to find that out for you. Realistically most pyrite damage has already manifested itself as pyrite made its cracking appearance (as I know only too well) in 2007. Incidentally best of luck. If it were me, I would avoid buying an apartment unless you would like to buy mine!!!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2 MINIPolka


    Thanks Clunked. It's a good idea. I 'll get into my solicitor to check it out. My brain is fried from trying to get any info at all! People around don't seem to be concerned about piryte and this thing is nearly everywhere! Sorry to hear about your place.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1 sinosaur73


    Mike.
    Can pyrite be determined simply on a visual inspection by a surveyor and would a visual inspection without proof by way of appropriate testing be sufficient to prepare a report making a suggeston of pyrite . I ask as a result of a house sale that fell through on a house in an estate which is 11yrs built and not a single report of any house in the particular estate as having pyrite.
    Would appreciate your feedback thanks


  • Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭RORY O CONNOR


    Tell tale visual signs are:

    External: Cracks at windows, cracks in the plinths at DPC level, sulphates=cloudy white covering on the bricks.

    Internal: Cracked floor tiles, timber flooring distorted, doors sticking, doors catching on the floor when you open the door, cracked ceilings, off level flooring, distorted worktops in the kitchen, cracks on the walls above doorway(diagonal cracking) . All of this manifests on the ground floor. Ignore cracking upstairs.

    The only way to prove you have Pyrite is to have the stone infill below the floor tested for it-this means coring through the floor concrete and taking stone away for chemical and X ray testing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 29 Rainbow bright


    Hi All

    I have just found this thred. I am in the process of buying a property in Maynooth and the day I was due to sign contracts heard of rumours of pyrite in the estate. When I mentioned this to the estate agent and builder they confirmed that there was an issue in 10 properties in the first phase and they fixed the houses and there have been no more issues since. I also contacted the local TD who also confirmed this.

    Of the searching that I have done I am unable to find much information on this estate but have found articles on another estate.

    I would really appreciate anyone in the Maynooth area sharing any information on this.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,027 ✭✭✭Lantus


    I was speaking to a chap a little while back who works in this area. Apparently you can get a 'test' done which involved drilling into your floor and costs €3000 to undertake. If the pyrite is 'active' then work needs to be done and in most cases the house insurance policy is covering this it seems. However, if it is inactive they wont touch it and the cost of the test is yours to absorb.

    In terms of a map it would be a great resource but would effectively destroy the sell ability of every estate it mentioned if that level of detail was included.

    Probably a 'by county' counter would be the most detail that could be provided and any details would need to be carefully restricted and made non accessible even if they are allegedly mentioned on the internet or in the public domain.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭RORY O CONNOR


    If you have not bought the house yet ask your surveyour/engineer is he saw any problems concerning Pyrite. It should be the vendor who pays for the sample testing not the buyer. I have inspected over 150 properties in the last two years that have been affected by Pyrite. The signs are pretty obvious:

    The typical symptoms of Pyrite in the stone infill under a building are typically indicated by some of the following issues: Externally a higher level of structural cracking on walls than would normally be visible and expected in a recently built property are present. Internally typical indicators are uneven flooring, cracks on walls, distorted doorways, cracked floor tiles-especially at doorways, doors that will not open or that catch on the floors when an attempt is made to open them, warped plasterboard walls, ceiling cracks, fireplace heart cracking and fireplaces dislodged from wall .

    Do not buy the property if the above indicators are present. If you really want the house ask for the sample testing to be done. Do not listen to the builder or the agent-they will tell you anything to secure the sale and you will have no comeback.

    I am aware of Pyrite in The Arches, Silken Vale in Maynooth


  • Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭RORY O CONNOR


    As an aside €3000 is too expensive. Two cores with proper test lab analysis is €2200 from IGSL. Some are charging €2200 for only one core.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,686 ✭✭✭jd


    natali1982 wrote: »
    Do you know if there has been any thorough test/survey made? Developements are just beside each other. How come that one is effected and another not?
    Built at different times by different builders/developers. Temple Gardens was built before Temple C, and there is no evidence of pyritic heave.


  • Registered Users Posts: 115 ✭✭natali1982


    jd wrote: »
    Built at different times by different builders/developers. Temple Gardens was built before Temple C, and there is no evidence of pyritic heave.

    Thanks for your response. Do you maybe know when was Temple G build and who was developer?


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,686 ✭✭✭jd




  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭sawdoubters




  • Registered Users Posts: 29 Rainbow bright


    Hi all

    Thank you for your posts. I have pulled out of buying in Maynooth due to the initial pyrite issue in the estate and after our engineer checked the house out there were 2 cracks in the concrete floor slab and a slopping in the floor at the hall door.

    Awful to think builders refuse to let people test these houses but are willing to take hundreds of thousand off people for defective properties. Definitely a case of buyer beware!!!!


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 71 ✭✭caew


    on_my_oe wrote: »
    I have heard that parts of tyrrelstown have pyrite - <snip> Any substance to this?

    I lived in Belgree for 11 years bought in the first phase and sold in july of last year.
    I never saw any evidence of pyrite in my house or heard my neighbours speak of any problems with their houses.
    I don't know how long problems take to show though.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 32,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭The_Conductor


    caew wrote: »
    I don't know how long problems take to show though.

    Typically 8-10 years, unless there is a lot of moisture- in which case it can be as low as a year.

    Now folks- ask about pyrite to your hearts content- but please stop asking about specific estates or making ascertains that you can't back up- this website is one of the most visited in Ireland- and throwaway comments can have far bigger effects than you'd ever imagine.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 270 ✭✭RORY O CONNOR


    There is no hard and fast rule as to when Pyrite will activate. It can take years and it can be very quick.

    I have surveyed many houses with Pyrite in them over the last two years and in some cases adjoining houses which would have been built at the same time were chalk and cheese in terms of damage levels in each one.


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