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Housing Crisis

The way that apartments are built in Ireland is changing

New guidelines are aimed at tackling the housing crisis and bringing down rents.

NEW GUIDELINES ON design standards for new apartments have been published by the Department of Environment.

These are aimed at enhancing the consistency between local authorities when it comes to planning requirements, affordability of construction and living standards for residents.

While the floor space of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments will remain the same, changes have been made in a number of other areas to facilitate an increase in housing supply.

The minimum size of a one-bedroom apartment will be set at 45 square metres.  The government has claimed this is still bigger than the minimum size in the UK (39 square metres) and only slight smaller than in Germany (48 square metres).

A two-bedroom apartment will be have a minimum size of 73 square metres, which is higher than both the UK and Germany.

These new requirements will supercede other areas of legislation, including development plans, local area plans and strategic development zone planning schemes.

The guidelines, which are an update on previous standards set in 2007, will apply to all housing developments, regardless of whether they are public or private.

So what exactly does this change?

The new guidelines provide instruction on minimum size, numbers of lifts in an apartment building, ceiling heights, and provisions around dual aspect apartments.

One of the bigger changes is that new major developments will now be required to include a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments.

Rules that apartments must have windows facing in two directions will also no longer be as stringent.

Provisions for minimum areas for general storage and utility are also included.

The new guidelines also regulate for refuse storage, communal amenity space, children’s play areas and car parking, among other things.

What have people said about the guidelines?

Speaking about the move, Environment Minister Alan Kelly said:

The reality is that this year in Dublin, we needed 8,000 residential units to be built, but only 2,700 were actually delivered and viability of new construction, especially for apartments, is one factor holding back supply.

He went on to say that the guidelines were not an indicator that there would be a return to “shoe-box living”.

The move has been met with scepticism by the Irish Planning Institute (IPI), which has said that the new guidelines do not take into account local adjustments.

Speaking about the new move, president of IPI Mary Hughes said:

The purpose of a development plan is to react to local circumstance and to tailor housing policies to local needs and demands. [The guidelines] will restrict this approach by imposing a consistent standard across the country irrespective of local need.

The organisation did acknowledge that the move was a reaction to the housing crisis and that the rules gave the sector the ability to respond to this.

Read: Hitler’s 3-mile-long abandoned Nazi resort is being transformed into a luxury getaway

Also: Nama is putting €1.9 billion into building in Dublin’s Docklands

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