Dublin Local Authorities Open Modular Housing Demonstration Project In Dublin 3

To examine the viability of modular housing as a temporary form of accommodation for families, who are experiencing homelessness and who are accommodated in commercial hotels.


The four Dublin local authorities, together with participating modular housing providers have today, Tuesday September 15th 2015, opened a Modular Housing Demonstration Project on East Wall Road, Dublin 3. Minister Alan Kelly visited the Modular Housing Demonstration Site on Monday morning, September 14th 2015. The participating modular housing providers include: Skyclad; Modular Homes Ireland; Spacebox; Roankabin; Portakabin and MOM Services Limited. The six modular units on site, all of which are two bedroom units, contain kitchen / living room space, storage facilities and bathrooms. All of the units are designed to accommodate family living.

Cathal Morgan, Director of Dublin Region Homeless Executive, speaking on behalf of the four local authorities commented, "We feel that modular housing is capable of responding to the housing needs of homeless households who are currently accommodated in commercial hotels throughout the Dublin Region. If the proposed use of modular homes is agreed and supported, the Dublin local authorities will engage with all relevant stakeholders and with Central Government to consider procurement and provision at a scale required to effectively address family homelessness in Dublin."

In August 2015 (week of 24th to 30th) there were 607 families in all forms of emergency accommodation (including 1,275 child dependents). Of these 607 families, 203 families (425 child dependents) were in emergency homeless accommodation and 404 families (850 child dependents) in commercial hotels.
According to Ali Grehan, City Architect, Dublin City Council, "the local authorities do not propose that modular housing replaces traditional forms of housing, rather that it would work in tandem with the local authority delivery of social housing options, as housing supply becomes available (in line with the Social Housing Strategy 2020).There is a considerable track record across Europe and the States of system built housing delivering well designed homes affordably, quickly and suitable for different contexts.”   
Tom Teatum, London-based Architect on Dublin’s Modular Housing Demonstration Project commented, "I’m delighted to be here in Dublin today to help get the big conversation going on modular housing solutions for families who are homeless. I work in architecture, design and development in London where we face similar challenges with delivering affordable, quality housing".

"Part of the response to the demand for affordable housing in London is being led by collaborations such as the one between Lewisham Borough Council and internationally-renowned architecture practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, who are also responsible for an innovative housing scheme for the YMCA in response to the needs of homeless persons", Mr. Teatum continued. "Dublin is going a step further it seems to me. This joined-up effort by local authorities to identify a housing solution that meets the needs of homeless families is the first I am aware of. Dublin’s focus on modular housing designs that bring quality and reliability and that can be speedily developed shows great leadership in response to its homeless crisis. It is an example to be followed in London and elsewhere”, he concluded.

The proposed delivery of modular housing would work together with the continued intensification of local authority efforts including;

  • Continued strengthening of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) pilot accommodation sourcing team
  • Implementation programme from recent leasing campaign seeking to attract landlords/ property owners into the various social housing leasing arrangements
  • Continued prevention of families accessing homeless services through the successful work of the Tenancy Protection Service, provided by Threshold on behalf of the four Dublin local authorities. A total of 898 tenancies were prevented from becoming homelessness in the first year of operation (June 15th 2014 to June 16th
  • Continued expansion of self- contained supported temporary accommodation for families experiencing homelessness, in order to divert away from the use of commercial hotels.  A substantial number of these units are already operational in the South Dublin County Council area
  • The Dublin local authorities continue to implement the ministerial directive which requires that 50% of allocations are utilised for homeless households and other vulnerable groups
  • Continued programme of returning void properties back into use across the four Dublin local authorities.

To view short film on the Modular Housing Demonstration Project from construction to completion, please log onto www.homelessdublin.ie or the following link

For further information or to pre-arrange visit to the Modular Housing Demonstration Site on Tuesday September 15th from 11.30am to 7pm please contact:
Lisa Kelleher, Dublin Region Homeless Executive on 087 6154673 or Dublin City Council Media Relations Office T: 01 2222170
@HomelessDublin     HomelessDublin    #modhomesdublin

The Dublin Region Homeless Executive is a shared service that works across the four Dublin local authorities to respond to homelessness in the Dublin region, with Dublin City Council as the lead.

Advantages of housing production based on modular construction methods

The advantages of modular constructions methods when compared to more traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ construction methods include:

  • Factory-assembled components allow for greater accuracy, quality assurance and consistency.
  • The construction process is speeded up with first-fix elements completed in the factory.
  • Generally, site works are minimised to just simple foundation systems and the provision of access roads, services and landscaping
  • Concentration of various trades to the factory build can minimise disputes and coordination errors which can otherwise occur on-site
  • Generally, cost-efficiencies are achieved with repetitive mass produced elements, predictable timelines and reduction in waste of materials.
  • The reduced amount of site time allows for a safer working environment.

Information Specific to the Modular Housing Units on Demonstration Site
All of the units can be easily modified if required to say one bedroom accommodation or increased in size if necessary to say a three bedroom unit. The internal footprints of the display units on site range in size from 46m2 to 81m2.

BER Rating
The units are designed to bear in mind comfortable living conditions with BER energy ratings ranging from D2 – B1. Changing from a dry heating system like storage heating to a wet system i.e. a standard central heating system and increasing insulation could also assist in increasing the BER rating from say D2 to B2.

Off-site Production
Some of the units can be 90% complete before arriving to site thus reducing the installation time spent on site, reducing potential construction waste and also increasing quality levels for each unit.

Lead -in Times for Delivery to Site and Installation On-site
The lead in time varies with the amount of units required. However for say a 20 unit development a lead in time of 3-5 weeks would be envisaged from receipt of formal order.
With 90% of the works done offsite and with the keen installation time’s one could envisage that a 20 unit development could be completed in 6 to 8 weeks from receipt of formal order, depending on the type of unit selected and providing that all necessary groundwork’s and site preparation works are completed before the units arrive onsite.
The typical completion time for one unit on site is between 1 to 3 days, with one provider advising of an installation time of 8 units per day on site.

The lifespan of the units varies from 20 – 30 years for most of the units with some providers advising of a 60 year lifespan in line with that of a standard build. Guarantees are generally provided with the units with some providers advising of a 30 year structural guarantee.

Typically, units can range in price per unit and are based on an economy of scale model to include:

  • Specification Design
  • Size
  • Quality of fixtures and fittings
  • Fit – out requirements
  • Stacking requirements, i.e. one storey, two story etc
  • If a complete turnkey unit is required

Site works and site development costs can add cost per unit depending on:

  • Site conditions
  • Nature of site
  • Proximity to utilities and services
  • Access requirements, external walkways, gantries, lifts etc
  • Landscaping and outdoor living spaces
  • Existing site boundaries