‘Modular’ houses may be built for homeless families

Homes can be assembled in days on vacant sites to provide temporary housing

A modular house under assembly for demonstration at East Wall Road, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

A modular house under assembly for demonstration at East Wall Road, Dublin. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


Up to 250 “modular” houses could be built on 20 vacant sites in Dublin city and county to accommodate homeless families currently living in hotels.

The houses can be assembled on-site in a matter of days and could be available to families within the next three to six months. More than 550 families are living in emergency accommodation in Dublin, of whom about 360 are living in commercial hotels.

Examples of the houses are being installed at a test site on East Wall Road behind North Strand fire station and will be shown to city and county councillors in two weeks’ time.

Six housing types, most of which are two-bedroom homes, will be available to view. Some are similar to a traditional bungalow, others are more modern, with floor-to-ceiling glass walls. Unlike traditionally built homes, the modular houses are factory-made in sections which are then assembled on site, but some may be constructed in their entirety off-site and then taken to their location on flat-bed trucks.

Each fully-equipped unit will be used only on a temporary basis, and will eventually be dismantled. The cost of the units has been estimated at €100,000-€150,000 each, but the final cost will depend on the models chosen.


Modular housing could offer a solution “to advance the temporary accommodation options for households, as opposed to the current use of commercial hotels as emergency accommodation,” she said.

Up to 20 sites across the four local areas are currently being assessed for their suitability for use for the temporary housing. Chairman of Dublin City Council’s housing committee Daithí Doolan said only sites that offered good facilities for families would be considered.


“We will not be allowing a situation where, even on a temporary basis, 10 houses are just dumped in the middle of a field.”

While the units can be erected within days, it is likely to take several months before they are ready to use as it is likely each site selected will have to be subject to the local authority’s internal planning process. This process involves a six-week public consultation period before a report on the schemes is presented to councillors, who decide whether it will proceed.