No excessive MICA in homes reported in Derry & Strabane - Council

Derry & Strabane Council and the Department of Communities (DfC) have confirmed they have not received any reports of excessive mica in homes across the city and district.

By Brendan McDaid
Tuesday, 1st June 2021, 8:04 am

The Journal had submitted queries after it emerged thousands of homes in neighbouring Donegal have been affected by defective building blocks.

A Derry & Strabane Council spokesperson said that at the request of Councillors sitting on the Environment & Regeneration Committee back in 2017, its officers carried out a “desk top investigation” into the possible risk of mica contaminated concrete blocks imported from Donegal.

“Members were informed that as part of this investigation, Council officers engaged with a wide range of relevant organisations operating in the local construction industry including a number of consulting structural engineers, the National House Building Council (NHBC) who oversee the warranty or insurance of new homes, locally based private housing developers and colleagues in Donegal County Council in relation to the issue.

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Iconic Free Derry Corner has been given a special make-over in solidarity with the families affected by MICA defective blocks across the border in neighbouring Donegal.

“None of these organisations reported evidence, or knowledge of excessive mica contaminated concrete blocks having been incorporated into the construction of any properties located in this council area.

“Members of that committee were informed that Council officers did establish that there was one construction site within the Council area to which concrete blocks were supplied by one of the known manufacturers of defective blocks.

“Council received assurance from the developer’s structural engineer that a sample of concrete blocks was taken from this site which were tested in a laboratory and the blocks were found to contain an acceptable level of mica.

“Council made a commitment that its Building Control and Environmental Health teams would continue to remain vigilant in respect of his matter and the matter of compliance of building products with the relevant regulations.”

The spokesperson for Derry & Strabane Council added: “Council has not received reports of any specific properties adversely affected by excessive mica contaminated concrete blocks in this Council area since the above paper was presented to members in 2018.”

A Department for Communities spokesperson meanwhile said: “The Department has not been notified of any social homes affected.”