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30 Jul

Benchmark Property Welcomes Dublin City Council Proposals on Apartment Standards

As with all markets the Dublin rental market is not homogenous. The rental accommodation requirements for a family with three children differ greatly from those for a single person. The explosion of Social Media/IT type companies locating in Dublin and the so called “Google Docks” phenomenon has resulted in a rapid increase in demand for accommodation from a young, dynamic and mobile workforce, many of whom are foreign nationals on short to medium fixed term contracts. They want to live close to their place of work and the social life of the city centre, within walking distance so that they have no requirement for car or public transport usage. Since 2013, our experience is that the majority of interest in good quality rental accommodation around the South Docks, Grafton Street area and closer parts of Dublin 4 is from renters in the above category. 

We therefore welcome Dublin City Councils recent proposals to relax its minimum apartment standards for size, dual aspect and car space requirements.   

The main proposals are;

  • Creation of a new “studio apartment” category with minimum floor area of 45 sq.m. to be allowed in private rental schemes (therefore not for sale as owner occupier units) and converted upper floors of existing city centre buildings.
  • In return, developers to provide additional communal facilities such as gyms and laundry rooms
  • Reduction in the number of “dual aspect” apartments (those with windows on two different walls from 85% of units in any scheme to 50%.
  • Ban on North facing units to be lifted as long as the unit overlooks a body of water or a designated green space
  • Removal of the requirement for car spaces to be provided for all units
  • Increase in the maximum number of floors in most standard residential schemes from 7 to8 to being them into line with commercial developments

It is estimated that the dual aspect requirement adds €20,000 to the construction cost of an apartment. The reduction in the number of dual aspect apartments required should lead to lower overall developments costs which could lead to lower sales prices or developer provision of higher quality finishes and additional communal facilities. It should also have a positive impact on service charges as the numbers of lifts and separate building cores & stairwells would decrease.  

Concerns expressed from some quarters about a return to “shoe box” size apartments most often associated with late 90’s era apartments should not be dismissed, but innovative design and quality built product and finishes can result in the provision of high standard accommodation for a particular and growing segment of the rental market. There will be an onus on developers and building professionals to prove that good design can overcome the issues of the past that led to onerous provisions in the first place.  

All successful cities need a vibrant apartment accommodation sector. As the apartment market in Dublin matures and lessons are learned from the mistakes of the property boom, all proposals to diversify the range of accommodation available are to be welcomed.