John Martin - Irish Government

Space in the 21st century home:
Apartment standards in Ireland
John Martin
Principal Planning Adviser
Dept. of the Environment, Heritage and Local
Government, Dublin
Outline of presentation
Summary of 2007 planning guidelines
Rationale for new apartment standards
How were the standards derived?
Consumer attitudes in Ireland
Likely impact on the housing market
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
“Design standards for new
apartments” (Sept. 2007)
Issued by Minister to planning
authorities / Appeals Board
Part of a suite of policy documents
Guidelines only apply to apartments
Combination of minimum floor areas +
target averages
Limitation on numbers of 1-bed units
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Main standards
Apartment type
Overall floor
Min. aggregate
Kitchen area
Min. bedroom
One bedroom
45 sq m
23 sq m
11.4 sq m
Two bedroom
73 sq m
30 sq m
24.4 sq m
Three bedroom
90 sq m
34 sq m
31.5 sq m
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Other recommendations
Floor / storage data to be included in
planning applications
Min. living and bedroom widths
Min. storage areas (3 – 9 sq m) in
addition to kitchen / bedroom storage
Min. balcony sizes (5 – 9 sq m)
Min. 2.7 m floor to ceiling heights
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Designing for children
All apartments with 2 or more bedrooms should be
designed with the needs of children in mind
Play needs should be catered for in terms of private,
communal and public open space
Other guidelines specify provision for child care
facilities (approx. 20 spaces per 75 dwellings)
2nd bedroom should be of sufficient size and shape to
be used for study
Noise transmission between apartments is a major
issue for apartment dwellers
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Rationale for new guidelines
Population growth + smaller household sizes will
continue to drive demand for housing
Planning policies promote more compact cities and
towns and higher densities – need to provide design
guidance to planning authorities
Housing policies promote sustainable communities –
widespread perception that apartments are not
Despite trend towards larger apartment sizes, units
are still much smaller than houses
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Basis for new standards
DEHLG commissioned study by Toal O Muiré,
past President of the RIAI and designer of
recent apartment schemes
Desk study of relevant Irish and UK standards
Consultation with wide range of stakeholders
in the public and private sectors, including
the professional bodies
Site visits to recently completed
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Consumer attitudes
Significant public concern about 1st generation of
urban renewal apartment schemes (1986-1995),
particularly regarding no. of small one-bedroom
2006 survey of apartment dwellers by Dublin City
Council showed continuing high levels of
dissatisfaction with smaller units and lack of
adequate storage space
Majority of respondents indicated intention to
move to a house within next 5 years
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Changes in apartment sizes
in Dublin
Apartment size
Less than 60 m2
60 – 80 m2
80 – 90 m2
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Likely impact on the housing
market in Ireland
Demographic factors will drive housing demand
Apartment share of output likely to increase
Housing output has slowed in past year, mainly due
to higher ECB interest rates, and price of new
housing has fallen after 15 years of prices rising
higher than inflation rates
DEHLG would have concern about impact on
affordability, but considers that guidelines provide
mechanism for flexible response to market needs
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Impact on market (2)
Some agents argue that main source of demand for apartments
is from 1st time buyers, but other developers acknowledge that
demand from families will increase, especially in suburban areas
served by good public transport
Demand-supply relationship is complex; increasing the quality of
new apartments is likely to stimulate consumer demand
From a public policy viewpoint, there are costs associated with
not increasing quality standards, especially if demand for lower
density housing results in continuing urban sprawl around
Dublin and other major cities and towns
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007
Copies of apartment guidelines
Can be downloaded from DEHLG website (Planning and development /
Or request PDF copy by email to
[email protected]
A PDF copy of the research report by Toal O Muiré is
also available
RIBA seminar 23 Nov. 2007

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