Premier Guarantee are currently handling pyrite claims via Outsource Services Group (OSG). Premier Guarantee entered the Irish market in 2002 but are no longer writing new business in the Republic. An Engineers Report is required to fulfil the requirements of their claim procedure. This report must conform to the inspection and categorisation protocols which have been produced by Premier Guarantee’s own engineers. Unfortunately, since 2011, Homebond are no longer accepting any liability for pyrite claims under their own structural warranty scheme.
The Engineers Report is required to demonstrate the degree of damage presenting in the property and the condition of the sub-slab hard core material(s). The body of the Engineers Report should include the following:
In the first instance we would recommend that potential claimants should contact OSG to categorise and register their claim. The following information is then normally required to submit a valid pyrite related claim (this list is for example purposes only and is not to be relied upon):
Once a claim has been processed by OSG they may challenge the Chartered Engineers (Pyrite) report and suggest that Premier Guarantee are not liable under the terms of the Policy. Quite often OSG will ask that a period of monitoring should be undertaken to determine whether there is progression of damage in the Claimants property. At this point it is common for the Claimant to either elect to undertake this monitoring period at further expense, or to challenge OSG’s interpretations using a Solicitor with experience of pyrite matters.
To date we have encountered two different Premier Guarantee Policies however we do not rule out that there may be more variants than this. These policies appear to offer different levels of protection to the Homeowner. With regard to a pyrite claim the cover depends on the definition of ‘Major Damage’ which is either defined as:
POLICY TYPE 1
a) ‘….physical damage to any portion of the Housing Unit…..’ OR b) ‘a condition requiring immediate remedial action to prevent….physical damage to any portion of the Housing Unit…..‘. In either of these two cases ‘caused by a defect in the design, workmanship materials or components of the Structure..’
POLICY TYPE 2
a) ‘Any defect in the design, workmanship, materials or components of the Structure….which causes physical loss, destruction or damage….to a New Housing Unit…’
Policy type 1 appears to offer cover for a defective material without associated physical damage whereas Policy type 2 appears to only offer cover where there is attributable physical damage. It is accepted that a sub-slab aggregate material which is being used to support a slab is a structural component in engineering terms. The nature of the material beneath the slab is of primary importance in determining whether a claim is warranted. Following detailed geological assessment, if this material demonstrates a pyritiferous reaction in more than 10% of a lithological fraction, then this should support a valid claim. We can offer advice accordingly.