A view from Northern Ireland: market insights in the construction space 2024

We foresee a significant increase in litigation in two areas:   

  • property damage resulting from unsafe cladding materials 
  • deterioration of concrete blocks used in properties due to excessive levels of mica. 

In August 2023, the UK government and Homes England introduced the £33m “cladding safety scheme” which expanded the support available to residential buildings above 11m high.   

It is important that the NI Executive now focus on creating NI specific legislation to provide a tailored approach within the region. The Executive will also need to adopt the Building Safety Act 2022 building regulations via an Executive Order. Pending wider financial support and guidance, the obvious route to resolution for affected parties remains litigation.  

The Mica Scandal refers to the use of concrete blocks containing a higher than permitted density of the mineral mica as a building material. The affected blocks are prone to cracking and deterioration. In some cases, homeowners were required to vacate their homes altogether due to the risk of collapse.  

Derry City and Strabane District Council has launched a comprehensive survey to determine the extent of affected buildings. As a result, there has been a call for the NI Executive to establish a redress scheme.  

Absent a grant scheme, affected homeowners’ primary means of redress remains legal action against developers, suppliers and / or manufacturers of contaminated materials (if it can be established that the materials in question contained higher than permitted levels of mica).  

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