Dublin City Council have and continue to receive substantial queries from the media in relation to the delivery of Rapid Build Housing units and would like to provide the following detail for information and clarification purposes:

Core objective of Rapid Build Housing

Context and chronology of the decision process to provide Rapid Build Housing

Budget for Baile na Laochra, Poppintree, Ballymun, Dublin 11

Length of time of delivery of Baile na Laochra

Consultation with local communities

Managing the support for families in Rapid Build Housing

Specification of units

Long-term use




The core objective of the Rapid Build Housing Programme is to respond urgently and efficiently to the need for suitable and high quality accommodation for families who are currently living in commercial hotels across the Dublin region.


The 22 Rapid Build Housing Units in Baile na Laochra, Poppintree, Ballymun, Dublin 11 are three bed houses, timber framed, triple glazed, A rated & energy efficient, constructed to the highest standards with building control regulations and have a 60 year lifespan.


This intervention offers a viable alternative to the unsustainable use of commercial hotels as an emergency response to homelessness.


There are a growing number of households with dependent children accommodated in emergency accommodation. In February 2016 (week of 22nd – 28th) there were 790 families in all forms of emergency accommodation (including 1,616 child dependents). Of these 790 families, 209 (415 child dependents) were in emergency homeless accommodation and 581 families (1,201 child dependents) in commercial hotels. For monthly presentation of families to homeless services please log onto http://www.homelessdublin.ie/homeless-families


In January 2016, 125 new families presented to homeless services in the Dublin region, whilst 39 families departed from services during the same period.


An analysis of the data relating to the 125 newly presenting families confirmed that 83% identified one of the following three reasons as a cause of homelessness:


  1. Notice to quit  private rented accommodation

  2. Relationship breakdown (often following a move back in with family after leaving private rented accommodation)

  3. Overcrowding






  1. Demonstration Project


The four Dublin Local Authorities arranged a Modular Housing Demonstration at East Wall, which remained in place for three weeks.  The demonstration consisted of six different types of modular units. The objective of the demonstration was to facilitate a debate on the viability and functionality of modular housing as a measure to house homeless families, while the main house building programme was advanced. Over 700 people visited the site from a variety of sector’s, including City and County Councillors, Members of Dáil Eireann, NGO homeless service organisations and indeed some homeless families. In addition, over 50,000 people have viewed the short video prepared to facilitate those unable to attend the demonstration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6mwFZ1c5Nmk



  1. Consideration and Decisions of Dublin City Council.


Dublin City Council Housing & Residential Services Strategic Policy Committee meeting of 28th September 2015 debated a report on the Modular Housing Demonstration and agreed the following Motions.


Motion (a).  “That Dublin City Council supports the use of factory built housing as a temporary measure to providing good quality and secure living facilities for homeless families and including young children currently in commercial accommodation in Dublin, and that Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) on Housing calls on the Government to provide adequate housing for said families with specified guidelines”


Motion (b).        “This Committee supports the Ministers Modular Housing Plan within the context of a viable plan from the Minister of The Environment that will address and include measures to prevent evictions in the private sector and the immediate building of permanent public housing that will meet the needs of individuals and families on the housing list and homeless services.”


Dublin City Council at its monthly meeting held on 5th October 2015 approved a number of emergency motions regarding Modular Housing as follows:


Motion (a).  “ That the City Council calls on the Chief Executive to declare the provision of 150 units of modular Housing by Dublin City Council in its functional area an Emergency measure to alleviate the current homeless crisis in the City so that it comes within the ambit of Section 179 (6)(b) of the Planning and Development Act, 2000 as amended.”


Motion (b). “That Dublin City Council supports the use of factory built housing as a temporary measure to providing good quality and secure living facilities for homeless families and including young children currently in commercial accommodation in Dublin, and that the Housing SPC on the Government to provide adequate housing for said families with specified guidelines



Motion (c).  “That this Council supports the use of modular housing as a temporary provision for the alleviation of the current requirement of emergency accommodation for homeless families. This will take immediate steps including:


  1. The exercising of its powers under Section 179(6)(b) of the Planning and Development Act, 2000(Non requirement for full planning procedures by a local authority whereby a situation arises that “is necessary for dealing urgently with any situation which the manager considers an emergency situation calling for immediate action”) and


  1. Expediting the public procurement process where legitimately possible and/or requesting emergency legislation of the Minister of the Environment in order to do so to build high quality, fully serviced, accessible (i.e. non –isolated and within reach of existing communities) modular housing within existing communities.


  1. Consideration and Decision of Government.


The Government at its meeting held on 29th September 2015 noted the latest in homeless data trends.  It approved the immediate initiation of a programme for early delivery of 500 units of modular housing on sites in each of the four Dublin Local Authority areas.   The units are to be delivered in two tranches of 150 and 350.


The first 150 units are to be delivered at the earliest possible time in the Dublin City Council area utilising the most expeditious procurement and planning provisions.


A parallel process to develop a National Framework will be overseen by the office for Government Procurement and this Framework will be used to deliver the tranche of 350 units.


The Framework will also be available to any local authority to procure further modular housing on sites selected by them for pressing accommodation needs, including for homeless families or for meeting additional demands arising from current or future refugee programme commitments.


The Minister for Environment Community and Local Government undertook to revert to government on 20 October 2015 with the outcome of the site selection process and with a detailed approach to procurement and planning.


The costs of the units will be met from the Departments Housing Capital Funding under the Social Housing Strategy.


  1. Tender Process  for Baile Na Laochra, Poppintree, Ballymun, Dublin 11

An accelerated procurement process was put to public procurement on Tuesday 21st Oct 2015 to achieve the procurement, fabrication, erection and occupation of units on or before the second week of December 2015. 


It should be noted that an EU procurement directive prohibited Dublin City Council in naming a product in the tender process (i.e. modular housing) in relation to the type of housing  and was advised to issue tender for Rapid Build Housing.


Rapid Build Housing can include for example; a) Modular, b) Timber frame c) Timber box d) Steel frame e) Flat pack.


Dublin City Council subsequently received a valid tender for the provision of Rapid Build Housing in Baile na Laochra.


These units are timber frame and the below link provides a visual overview of construction phase to almost completion.


Whilst the units in Baile na Laochra are timber frame, it may be the case that the successful tenderer for the four other sites in the Dublin City Council administrative area are modular, steel frame etc




If  a project/tender/ procurement/contract is currently in process with the local authority, Dublin City Council is therefore precluded from discussing any financial detail until post contract, as the specifics in terms of spend are commercially sensitive.


The timber frame units will cost significantly less to deliver and complete onsite than traditional forms of housing.


For the costs of similar traditional forms of housing (three bedroom semi - detached home) please refer to the Surveyors Journal | Volume 5| Winter 2015/2015 (page 13), which outlines the costs of building a traditional home including site development, basic construction, external works, indirect costs etc https://www.scsi.ie/documents/get_lob?id=746&field=file


Dublin City Council understands that this is currently being reviewed by the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland.




Dublin City Council has worked to ensure the expedience of delivery of these 22 units as per the tender requirements, but unfortunately did experience some onsite delays. The units have been delivered within a 16 week timeframe, with families ready to move in this month, directly from commercial hotels (April 2016).


It would normally take 18-36 months to construct 22 traditional build houses from planning and procurement through to final completion.




Dublin City Council has met and is in the process of meeting with community representatives that live in the vicinity of  Baile na Laochra and in the neighbouring areas of the other four sites in  Drimnagh, Ballyfermot, Finglas and in  Belcamp (on the Malahide Road).


These meetings will take place in advance of the preparatory works (site servicing works) to prepare for further Rapid Build Housing schemes in April ( 3 sites) and July (1 site).


Community representatives from the next four sites have and continue to visit Baile na Laochra to view the units that are in place so that they can visualise the units, understand the specification of same  of and also have the opportunity to ask any questions in relation to provision of the units to families who are currently experiencing homelessness.





All families placed into Rapid Build Housing units will be assigned a professional wrap around support service via the local authority and state- funded Homeless Action Teams. This involves having in place a tailor made support package for children and their legal guardians to address any concerns raised.  


The ultimate objective of the work of these teams is to assist families in finding long-term tenancies once available and in the quickest possible timeframe and working in tandem with the delivery of housing through the Social Housing Strategy 2020 and the delivery of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) pilot for homeless households.


All placements of families into units will be made on the basis of the below criteria:


  1. Time on the housing list with Homeless Priority

  2. Selected areas of choice on the housing list

  3. Household size matching the property size

The families will be placed into these units until such a time until a suitable offer of housing is met.


Households placed in this type of emergency accommodation will be on a licence as opposed to a tenancy arrangement and will pay an accommodation charge to Dublin City Council. 




Whilst the units in Baile na Laochra are three bedroom units, the specification for the other sites includes a mix of two and three bedroom units.




The Rapid Build Housing units are capable of long-term use, it is intended that emergency placements of families will occur until such time housing supply is such that these temporary emergency measures are no longer necessary and units can be put to other uses, including standard social housing and or other innovative uses such as public housing or sale.




For further information contact:

 https://twitter.com/DubCityCouncil       www.facebook.com/DublinCityCouncil