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Homeowners, engineers and other technical experts are being encouraged to view and comment on a new draft Irish standard covering the assessment of buildings damaged by defective concrete blocks. Up to 5,000 homes are estimated to have been affected by this issue in Mayo and Donegal.

The draft standard, known as I.S. 465, outlines a protocol which will be used to assess and categorise the damage in properties where the concrete blocks are suspected to contain the minerals mica or pyrite. Previously, there was no common way for engineers or homeowners to assess the scale of the damage caused by defective concrete blocks to help decide what, if any, remedial work could be carried out.

The development of the standard protocol by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) was contained in recommendations published by the independent Expert Panel on Concrete Blocks. The public consultation period relating to the I.S. 465 draft standard will run for six weeks, from today until July 18th.

“We’re encouraging engineers, technical experts, homeowners and anyone else affected by this issue to log onto, view the I.S. 465 draft standard through our ‘Your Standards, Your Say’ portal and have their say on what should be contained in this important new standard,” said Geraldine Larkin, NSAI Chief Executive.

“The expert committee will then review each of the comments and decide whether to accept them. That’s why it’s vital that everyone affected by this issue, from homeowners to geologists, have their say. If a comment is not directly related to the standard, we will pass it on to another relevant state agency, if necessary,” said Ms. Larkin.

“Finally, I want to thank each and every member of our concrete blocks consultative committee for their tireless dedication to getting this draft standard to this important stage,” she added.

The Report of the Expert Panel on Concrete Blocks found that while standards existed for both the constituent materials and the manufacture of concrete blocks, significant deviation from those standards led to an excessive amount of deficient minerals, namely Mica and Pyrite, in the aggregate used to manufacture the blocks.

It is understood that most of the affected houses were built between 1999 and 2010.

The draft I.S. 465 standard was developed over a number of months by NSAI’s Concrete Blocks Technical Committee, which is made up of engineers, geologists, academics and other technical experts. NSAI’s consultative process facilitates inputs and co-ordinates the development of the standard.

Members of the public have until July 18th to visit and log onto the ‘Your Standards, Your Say’ portal to submit comments. Please note that this public consultation period has now ended.