The construction market in Iceland has reached its straining limits, or even surpassed them, and cases of defect buildings have doubled in recent years, according to Sigurdur Helgi Gudjónsson, a representative of the Homeowners’ Association.
“During weather conditions like these [heavy rain], leaks are reported to us and during the last few years they are mostly related to recently constructed buildings,” Gudjónsson told Morgunbladid.
“The more they build the more defects are revealed. The speed is so excessive that people are starting to build new houses before finishing the ones they were working on,” Gudjónsson said, “so something is bound to give.”
Gylfi Gíslason, managing director of constructor company JÁ verk ehf., agrees that the speed of construction has become unrealistic due to pressure from buyers. “It increases the danger of defects. […] People are pushing the limits further and further, like on whether the concrete has become hard enough.”
Gudjónsson said many defects don’t become evident until after many years. “The speed causes builders to not be thorough enough. […] We will have to pay for that for decades to come.”
A lack of skilled workers adds to the problem, Gudjónsson said. “A well-known builder came to me and said, ‘How can I build houses when I have 20 people working for me who are all kids and foreigners who don’t understand anything?’”