CIF says standards hamper development

Building federation wants taller apartment blocks and increased density allowed

Dublin City Council should change its

standards on apartments now to kick-start development, industry representatives have said.

Director of the Construction Industry Federation Hubert Fitzpatrick said sale prices of apartments had not recovered to the same extent as houses, and developers could not recover their costs if they had to build to the council's requirements.

“The city council has been too prescriptive and the industry can’t respond unless there is greater flexibility. The council’s standards are in excess of the Department of the Environment standards. More development would be viable in the city if they were brought back in line with national standards.”


Mr Fitzpatrick also wants the council to change its position in relation to the orientation and light regulations.

“The city council’s requirement for 85 per cent dual aspect apartments is very difficult to achieve in a constrained city centre site, similarly not permitting north and east facing apartments is not reasonable in the city centre.”

Mr Fitzpatrick would like to see standards adjusted now instead of waiting for the next development plan to come into force in 2017.

National standards

If the council did revert to the national standards, he would call on the Department of the Environment to allow schemes that already had planning permission but were not yet built to be altered to reflect the change, without developers having to seek new planning permission.

The Society of Chartered Surveyors said the affordability of construction could be addressed through increasing density instead of reducing size. "We are still 45 to 55 per cent off the prices that were achieved when the regulations were brought in," said Michael Cleary, the chairman of the society's planning and development group.

The council’s standards should be kept but there has to be a “trade-off” of allowing density to be increased.

“We need to achieve more out of a site without the diminution of standards, so that might mean building a 10-storey block instead of eight storeys.”

President of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland Robin Mandal said a reduction in size did not have to mean a reduction in quality.

"We would support what the Housing Agency is saying. Size isn't necessarily the most important aspect when it comes to ensuring the quality of apartments."

Creative solutions

The principal problem with the council’s rigid standards was that they limited the ability to achieve creative solutions for particular sites or for the requirements of the occupiers, he said.

“We don’t all want or need an 18sq m bedroom. The fundamental issue is one of flexibility. I don’t support downgrading, and I wouldn’t be a great fan of the bedsit, but properly managed there might be a market for them. There is a place for very small apartments with the proviso that the quality of the build is right.”

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times