Harmonisation of standards needed nationally
Tuesday 28th July 2015 The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland has welcomed new proposals from Dublin City Council which would permit the construction of smaller apartments.
The SCSI said that increased flexibility around the standards would improve viability and help alleviate the shortage of housing and rented accommodation in the city.
According to the draft proposals DCC is proposing to introduce a new studio size classification of 45 sq metres, which is 20% smaller than the existing minimum size.
The SCSI said this type of accommodation is urgently required in the city given that existing minimum accommodation standards prohibit bedsit type accommodation. This has led to a situation whereby people were forced out of smaller units and many have ended up on social housing and emergency accommodation lists.
The SCSI also said that the proposed reduction in dual aspect requirements from 85% to 50% was another positive step that would reduce construction costs and improve viability and ultimately supply.
Andrew Nugent, President of the SCSI said there is a significant difference between the Dublin City Council apartment design standards which require additional features that increase costs above those required under national standards.
“This makes many schemes in Dublin City unviable although this is where the shortage of accommodation is most acute. What we are calling for is a harmonisation of the standards so that there is a single standard across the country” Nugent said.
The SCSI pointed to a viability analysis that it commissioned of a proposed apartment scheme under Dublin City standards and one constructed under national standards. The study showed that the costs of the Dublin scheme were 25% higher while the available density on the scheme was 20% less.
“If we had harmonisation of standards nationally it would mean that the costs of constructing an apartment development in the Dublin City Council area would reduce to the national standard and the viability and affordability of schemes would improve significantly. This would ensure more apartment complexes are built, alleviate the shortage of supply and support a more sustainable property and private rented market” Nugent said.
“While improving standards and the quality of apartments is important, it is also important to stress that it is apartment design rules we are discussing here and this does not impact building control regulations which have been vastly improved in recent years” Nugent concluded.
The SCSI also said that the number of lifts per floor should be reduced, that there should be flexibility on car parking space requirements and that the minimum size for a one bed apartment should be reduced from 55 sq m to the national standard of 45 sqm. The Society said there was a shortage of one beds in the city and there was no reason why the national standard should not be applied in Dublin.