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06/06/2024 - Enhanced Defective Concrete Blocks Grant Scheme - Updates on Processing of Interim Remediation Stage Payments and Reimbursement of Engineers Report Fees / Initial Costs / Ancillary Grants

 

Donegal County Council fully recognises the timely processing of valid Payment Claims is a key element of the Defective Concrete Blocks Enhanced Grant Scheme, to ensure cash flow for all parties involved. In May 2024, homeowners received payments under the Enhanced Grant Scheme to the value of almost €5.2m.

 

To date, Donegal County Council has processed valid Payment Claims and issued payments to applicant homeowners to the value €31m (€30,792,594). 

 

This figure includes the refund of Competent Building Professionals (CBP)/Engineers Report Fees to 1,176 no. homeowners to the value of €6.1m, where a Remediation Option Grant amount approved has been issued.  Where homeowners have been refunded at 90% of their outlay on CBP/Engineers Report Fees under the provisions of the Original /Previous Scheme, the Council’s DCB Grant office are processing the remaining 10% Engineers Fees balance, on receipt of a subsequent Payment Claim submitted by the homeowner.

 

Following submission of a Payment Claim to the Council’s DCB Grant Office via the Online Portal, it undergoes validation and assessment against the requirements of the Enhanced Grant Scheme.  Donegal County Council’s DCB Grant Office aims to process validated and certified Payment Claims within a 2-3 week timeframe from date of submission to Donegal County Council. The Electronic Bank Transfer Payment files for approved claims are processed on a weekly basis by Donegal County Council.

 

Reimbursement of Initial Costs to Homeowners

 

The Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage has provided further guidance to the designated Local Authorities, in recognition that grant approved homeowners may require a grant payment at an earlier stage in the Remediation Works process and who may not yet have engaged a Building Contractor.

 

For example, the Department recognises that a homeowner may require a grant payment to cover costs associated with the Competent Building Professional, for the preparation/completion of the Remedial Works Plan, management of the Contractor Procurement for commencement of remediation works and/or inspection of the qualifying works to the relevant dwelling.   In this situation, the homeowner may submit a Payment Claim to Donegal County Council, together with the Interim Valuation Certificate duly completed by the Competent Building Professional and the homeowner.

 

Another example where a grant payment may be required is where the homeowner has completed minor Remediation Works in advance of the appointment of the Building Contractor.  This could be the strip out of the dwelling contents or the removal of fixtures and fittings within the relevant dwelling.  The Department recognises there may be other types of work eligible for earlier payment, where such reasonable works have been certified by the Competent Building Professional.

 

In summary, all Remediation Payment Claims submitted by the homeowner must be signed off by their Competent Building Professional, certifying the value of works completed and the value of the Claim being sought.

 

The Department has reaffirmed the process where a homeowner intends to Self-Build for the entire duration of the remediation project. In this case the homeowner effectively steps into the shoes of the Contractor and assumes all Contractor responsibilities for the execution and supervision of the works.  In this case, the Self-Build Homeowner will be required to jointly sign off on all Interim Valuation Certificates for Payment Claims with the Competent Building Professional. Upon subsequent completion of the works, the Self-Build Homeowner and the Competent Building Professional will be required to jointly sign off on the Certificate of Remediation.

 

Ancillary Grant Claims for Alternative Accommodation & Storage

 

Where approved homeowners / applicants are not in a financial position to discharge payments to the supplier / landlord and then await reimbursement from Donegal County Council under the Ancillary Grant, further consideration has also been given.

 

In this regard, the Department of Housing, Local Government & Heritage have given their approval under the terms of the Enhanced Grant Scheme, to a more flexible approach to financially assist homeowners who have entered into a commitment with a supplier and/or landlord for ancillary costs. Payment Claims submitted must be sufficiently evidenced by supporting documents and in compliance with the grant conditions. 

 

The grant approved applicant is required to furnish the verification/ supporting documents as specified within a three month timeframe, In the event that the applicant does not subsequently submit the verification / supporting documentation to the DCB Grant Office within the three timeframe, then an amount equal to the Ancillary Grant paid will be deducted from the applicants next Interim Payment Claim or Final Payment Claim. Full details can be found on our website at www.donegalcoco.ie

 

Dedicated staff are available to assist homeowners through the Payment Claim Process and can be contacted either through the weekly Telephone Clinics on 074 9153900 or through the Council’s Customer Contact Centre on 074 9153900 or by sending an email to [email protected] and a member of staff will contact the homeowner directly within the hours of 9.00am to 4.30pm.