As part of our ongoing investigations into the state of the Housing Executive, we decided to look at the state of the housing stock itself, which was, for the most part, built between the 1960’s and 1970’s throughout the region.
We asked the Housing Executive to outline how many properties have been identified as having rising damp, asbestos and structural problems. All of which would surely cause great concern to residents.
A total of 786 properties have had a rising damp problem addressed, which has so far cost £371,342.98. The highest number of these properties is unsurprisingly in West Belfast, at 110, with the East Belfast District Office area next with 69 properties suffering from damp which has been treated. These have an accumulated cost of £68,381.49 and £31,309.93 to address.
The Belfast Region far outstrips any other for the number of properties suffering with rising damp and the cost to address it. A total of 507 properties have been identified with the problem, and the cost to repair these is £291,140.44.
The Northern Region has had 113 properties identified and the cost to repair these stands at £22,602.20, whilst the Southern Region has 166 properties with rising damp, and a repair cost so far of £57,600.34
Whilst these figures may seem low in light of the age of some properties, we can reveal a more shocking statistic. BtP can now tell you that almost 70,000 of the 98,000 Housing Executive properties show some form of asbestos.
69,747 properties across the region have been identified by the Housing Executive as having some form of deadly asbestos in them.
70,000 out of 98,000 properties have been identified as having asbestos, that’s
of all NIHE properties
1,397 properties have been treated since 2011 at a cost of £297,863.21. The highest number of properties where asbestos has been treated is Coleraine, with 198 properties treated at a cost of £33,224, followed by South Belfast with 175 properties treated at a cost of £33,420.73
Again the wider Belfast Region tops the poll in terms of properties treated, with 622 at a cost of £149,642.82, followed by the Southern Region with 393 properties treated at a cost of £77,657.24 and the Northern Region with 382 properties at a cost of £70,563.15.
The fibres of asbestos have caused thousands of deaths either from lung cancer, Mesothelioma or asbestosis.
In terms of structural problems in the form of subsidence, roof problems and problems with non-standard housing such as aluminium bungalows, these are strangely confined to the wider Belfast area.
Avonmore Park in Lisburn had 13 properties with twisted roofs, fixed in June 2011 at a cost of £47k.
3 houses in Rathglynn, Antrim face possible demolition due to structural problems, and 1 property in Fairview, Newtownabbey, Ardcarn Drive in Belfast, Garnerville Road in Belfast and Vernon Street in Belfast also have structural problems mainly with subsidence.
A number of properties in the Lurgantarry Estate suffer from ‘Concrete Cancer’ that has yet to be addressed, and 291 properties in Ballysillan have damp issues with work underway at a cost of £290,453.58.
If put in the context of the current reform of the Executive, one must think what kind of Housing Association or private enterprise would take on Housing Executive stock – 70,000 of which have asbestos in them?