16.10.2 Residential Quality Standards – Houses

Residential Quality Standards – Houses

In addition to the standards outlined below, proposals for houses shall comply with the requirements of other relevant development standards including the public open space, play space, safety and security, and acoustic privacy standards.

Floor Areas

Houses shall comply with the principles and standards outlined in Section 5.3: ‘Internal Layout and Space provision’ contained in the DEHLG ‘Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities – Best Practice Guidelines for Delivering Homes Sustaining Communities’ (2007).

Aspect, Natural Light and Ventilation

Living rooms and bedrooms shall not be lit solely by roof lights and all habitable rooms must be naturally ventilated and lit. Apart from rooms primarily served by windows in dormer extensions, glazing to all habitable rooms shall not be less than 20% of the floor area of the room. Development shall be guided by the principles of Site Layout Planning for Daylight and Sunlight, A guide to good practice (Building Research Establishment Report, 2011). In general, back-to-back dwellings will not be permitted due to their single aspect and restricted access to private open space.

Private Open Space

Privacy is an important element of residential amenity, and contributes towards the sense of security. Private open space for houses is usually provided by way of private gardens to the rear or side of a house. A minimum standard of 10 sq.m of private open space per bedspace will normally be applied. A single bedroom represents one bedspace and a double bedroom represents two bedspaces. Generally, up to 60-70 sq.m of rear garden area is considered sufficient for houses in the city. In relation to proposals for house(s) within the inner city, a standard of 5 – 8 sq.m of private open space per bedspace will normally be applied.

At the rear of dwellings, there should be adequate separation between opposing first floor windows. Traditionally, a separation of about 22 m was sought between the rear of 2-storey dwellings but this may be relaxed if it can be demonstrated that the development is designed in such a way as to preserve the amenities and privacy of adjacent occupiers. Careful positioning and detailed design of opposing windows can prevent overlooking with shorter backto-back distances and windows serving halls and landings do not require the same degree of privacy as habitable rooms.

Where dwellings have little or no front gardens in urban settings, it is important that ‘defensible space’ is created behind the public footpath, for example, by means of a planting strip, and the design of ground floor windows will need to be carefully considered. Rear gardens and similar private areas should: be screened from public areas, provide safe and secure play areas for children, be overlooked from the window of a living area or kitchen, have robust boundaries, and not back on to roads or public open spaces.