Absolutely Prefabulous



A RoanKabin show home at the Modular Homes Display, East Wall Fire station, Dublin

Call for A Revolution in Ireland writes:

As you are aware, we have a housing crisis, caused by FG-Labour. Today they were showing off some “modular home“, basically prefabs [in Dublin yesterday]. These will solve the crisis, or so they tell us. These units cost around €100,000 each.

Well, guess who makes them? Denis O’Brien does. [Among the] companies building them is Roankabin, a division of SiteServ (the company installing water meters)….


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123 thoughts on “Absolutely Prefabulous

    1. Barry

      There points is clear, the news isn’t solely aimed at you, you fruit!
      Your clearly not stuck for accommodation.

    1. classter

      They didn’t but they have done little to resolve it over their last few years of govt.

      Like it or not, there’s an expiry date on ‘FF did it’.

    1. meadowlark

      I thought that too. For the same amount they could begin building real housing for homeless families. Children should be first priority.

    2. Paolo

      I would imagine that the 100,000 (if that price is real) includes some land on which to actually place the prefab.

  1. Steve

    Inside the M50, you’d easily get 1500 a month out of a Pope’s children type. 1200 outside the M50 making sure to keep it above the rent allowance limits – you don’t want any riff raff your portacabins.

    1. DubLoony

      There’s a few cities in Europe who have pioneered this type of housing. We do have a crises and needed to build fast.
      They are suitable for single people who make up half of the homeless population.
      There are various models available, not just the one in the pic.
      Do try to look things up for yourselves and stop we the knee jerk reactions. It’s getting tedious.

      1. Paolo

        You can’t argue with this moron. She wants 3 bed semis built now, for free. Don’t try pointing out the Dutch and German example.

      2. Sylvin

        While they probably are overpriced, nothing at all wrong with the technology. Its been in the residential market a long time now. Heck, all you have to do is watch a few episodes of Grand Designs and you will see it in action from the factory building the parts and the quick assembly onsite.

        Actually….I’d like one myself….thanks. They are bigger than the apartment that was all I could afford myself!!

    2. scottser

      The whole idea of this expo was to explore ways of getting homeless families out of hotels which is expensive and not fit for purpose. I was at this yesterday and i was extremely impressed by some, not all, of what was on show. Some units looked like normal houses on ghe outside and could be finished with slate roofs and clad or render finish. The modular designs mean you could add to the side or on top. There were also well established solutions like Spacebox from the netherlands who supply student accommodations. The aim is to provide short term solutions of a higher quality than what is being provided. The range that i saw was most impressive and out of the half dozen providers id say DCC could easily use 4. Theyre made in ireland to a high spec, higher than most of what you traditionally think of as council housing. It was also telling that pmvt were in our group, and they are looking to tender for modular stock of their own

  2. parky mark

    Dennis O’Brien is a business man. His aim is to make money. What’s not to understand about that.

    As for the units costing €100,000. Did you make that up? The article you link to says €35K.

    1. scottser

      Most of the impressive units were in the 75k range, less than a grand per sq m fully fitted.The materials are guaranteed for 30 years, so a 2 bed unit for a small family pays a rent of 35 bucks per week for 30 years is 55k. Thats a no brainer for a housing provider. Oh anne, roankabin’s unit has the best ber rating, theyve been providing this type of housing in the uk for the past 10 years. Dob may be an arse, but he’s a smart arse.

      1. Anne

        I’m sure they’re very nice on their own Scottser, I just don’t see why houses aren’t being built.

        100k for a temporary solution is way over priced.

  3. Martin

    Prefab units at 100k per unit when not for profit social housing is 155k per unit. Wake up and smell the rat. The reason for prefabs and not real homes is to keep private demand high and the property bubble booming. Cynical neo lib governance.

    1. scottser

      Portakabin came in the cheapest at 40k for an 80 sqm unit. They offer a lease where the others dont. Also, there’s no onsite construction, its delivered ready to move in, whereas the others require a few days installation.

  4. Eoghany

    There were 6 on display today. They cost between 35 and 80k. But with assembly costs and other related costs some will come to 100k. There are actual proper apartments for sale in north county Dublin for less than 100k. Why can’t the council just buy these up and accommodate homeless people, rather than spend the same money on these?

    1. joj

      Council buy up available apartments, give them to homeless (unemployed)for free. This drives up the price of other private apartments people might be saving to buy, from what little savings they have as they are burdened with taxes paying for council houses they don’t get to live in.

      Thats fair

    2. scottser

      Because councils can defer or refuse you an offer of social housing on estate management grounds. The council must provide emergency accommodation under the 1988 housing act. Thats why.

  5. ahjayzis

    The Dinny angle aside, this isn’t ‘basically a prefab’ – it’s a prefabricated modular home. They’re not damp, dank cheap things, they meet building regs and are constructed to high standards. The only real difference between them is they are constructed in a factory environment so in many ways are of higher quality than some bodge-job masonry work where the contractor smuggled half the drylining for another job. If you’ve stayed in a hotel room recently it was most likely built in the same manner – hotel rooms are often ‘basically prefabs’ craned into place.

    I really hope public ignorance doesn’t stand in the way of these coming in, they’re a brilliant answer to an urgent housing need.

    1. Anne

      What public ignorance would that be?

      They’re not just like a building/hotel and you’re looking at all sorts of social problems lumping a load of those together with no amenities.

      1. ahjayzis

        The one I just mentioned – namely (again), conflating modular homes with the kind of bargain-basement rat run school prefabs we’ve all seen.

        The Dublin City Architect was on the Last Word this evening and covered this. You don’t just plop it down like a mobile home, it’s context-specifically designed, like any estate, fits in with planning, foundations are dug, services are run, surrounds are landscaped just like a traditional build – but the big win is that while you’re doing all that groundwork, the house is being built at the same time.

        1. Anne

          Modular homes = trailer parks.

          130k people on waiting lists for houses.. not ‘modular homes’.
          They’re not the answer. 100k is way over priced too. You’d get a modular home from a pikey for a fraction of that price.

          Is this really supposed to be a solution to a long term housing crisis in this country? Modular homes?

          1. ahjayzis

            Right, I get it, you’re just dense as f*ck.

            Carry on.

            Fingers crossed people needing a warm, safe place to live don’t have to rely on the likes of you spouting sh*t you have no idea about as policy.

          2. Anne

            I’m all for people who need a safe warm place to live getting that.
            I don’t think modular homes are the answer.

            Too many vested interests in this country who don’t want to fix the supply issue with housing. ‘Modular homes’ are an insult to people.

            You’re going to create a subclass erecting these.. I don’t care how they’re sold to us – how warm they are and how they’re just like a building. They’re not decent homes for people. Not long term.
            And 100k is too high a price tag for a supposed temporary solution.

          3. ahjayzis

            The DCA made that exact point, they’re for short-term transitionary housing between being homeless and getting housed – McVerry and others were very impressed with them. They’re meant to replace hotel accommodation, so people have their own warm, high-spec, safe ‘homes’ and actual family autonomy around cooking etc. while they wait for actual homes. A bit of dignity. That’s a part of the supply chain that’s missing along with actual permanent housing.

            I mean the alternative is continued mangy hotel use with the inability to cook for your kids, curfews and trying to hide from the paying guests – what’s your better plan?

          4. Anne

            I don’t think shacking people up in these will give them much dignity.
            100k is too much for a temporary solution.

            Build proper homes. How about that for an idea?

          5. scottser

            No, its not supposed to be solution to long term housing provision, its being explored as a way to provide emergency accommodation for families so theyre not stuck in hotels.

          6. Anne

            Emergency accommodation? Haven’t some homeless families been shacked up in hotels for a while now… a few years?

      2. Walter-Ego

        From Richard Boyd Barrett yesterday…..
        “Just heard from our councillors in Dun Laoghaire that apparently the council has been sitting on €10 million , earmarked for housing, but they cannot do anything with it because the minister has to give the say so. Can you believe this? We are in the midst of the worst housing crisis that the country has ever seen and the Minister will not give the green light to spend this money. What is going on? Is every council in the country sitting on this kind of money? I will be taking this up with the Minister when the Dail comes back this week. Everyone should join the Right 2 Housing demo on 22 Sept at 6pm at the Dail – release funds now!”
        Something smells rotten in the state of…….

  6. Anomanomanom

    I’m really starting to think most of the commentators on here are mentally ill. Why do people keep saying we’ve a housing crisis? We don’t. There are plenty of homes on the market to buy. What people mean to say is there is a cheap housing crisis. Then when finally the government attempt to do something people still moaning like fupp. If I was one of the real homeless, not the I want a free house so I’ll pretend homeless, I’d love a prefab

    1. ahjayzis

      In the worst housing crises in the world in history there were homes available to buy. When credit is impossible to get unless you’re tenured up to your eyeballs, when first time buyers suddenly need a 20% deposit and so have to continue to save and, crucially, rent, which gluts up the rental property turnover, which reduces supply, which sends rents skyrocketing beyond a capped rent supplement for the very poor you get homeless people, people above them paying through the absolute nose on rent and people above them unable to find a buyer with the new 20% deposit / bank clearance for a mortgage to buy for their house so they can buy their second. That’s a housing crisis.

      1. Anne

        Agree with all that..
        Just on the first time buyers –

        For first time buyers, banks will be able to lend 90 per cent up to a value of €220,000. Above that the 80 per cent limit will apply.

      2. Anomanomanom

        I got my mortgage in 2008, Aib wanted 17.5% deposit of me because I was only 22 at the time. So I gave 17.5% and that was on €215,000. So I can’t see your point in the first time buyer argument. I also rented at the hight of the boom. When a one bed was ridiculously priced in rent. So iv no sympathy for, and yes there is loafs, the fake homeless. A family living in hotel although not on the street are homeless. Someone on the housing list is not automatically homeless.

        1. Anne

          So you didn’t have any problems coming up with a deposit for a house or paying high rent, so you’ve no sympathy for others who can’t.. is that the gist of it?

          1. Anomanomanom

            I’d loads of bloody problems. I saved like fupp from 18. And borrowed up to my neck. Certain people just want hand outs, these prefabs should only be used for genuine cases. Not someone who’s living in a house but on a housing list.

    1. ahjayzis

      They’re so people don’t have to stay in awful hotels for years on end while they wait for social housing to be built / come available. You’re grand with them just living in the hotel then, yeah?

        1. ahjayzis

          Really? A developer acquired the land, commissioned an estate plan, carried out the entire design stage, sought planning permission, tendered the work, connected services and built the development all in six months?

          1. Frilly Keane

            But there was at least 5 years of rezoning, brown envelopes, planning, objections, revised planning conditions, environmental impact whatnots, drainage, to planning grant of permission , and then more objections with more brown envelope infills ….
            Before your gaff came out of the ground Anne

          2. Anne

            True enough Frilly..

            To take ahjayzis’ point, these modular homes need an estate plan, design, connected services etc also.. so why can’t proper homes be built, when they can be built in 6 months approx?

        1. scottser

          You should at least go and look at one before you star calling them wendy houses. In fact, you’re starting to stigmatise the very people you’re supposed to be advocating for.

  7. Janet, I ate my avatar

    Yeah ! Our very own trailer parks at last. Just what we’ve been missing while chasing the auld American dream.

  8. Frilly Keane

    Tell ya wha

    That Dennis lad knows what he’s at
    Don’t he

    Is there an’ting he hasn’t sewn up for himself
    An’ting left for the rest us

    1. Clampers Outside!

      When you leave the country with a cash windfall of a 1/4 billion for having bribed a politician as proven in the Moriarty Tribunal and don’t have to pay tax on it….. it sets one up.

      I hate that the govt gives him business. He should be black listed for bribing politicians but our govt doesn’t do integrity, just like Denis doesn’t, as was proven in Moriarty. ‘Good name and reputation’? …he doesn’t have one.

      €100K each is way over priced for these

      1. Murtles

        Guarantee ya by the time the policitians and the boyos in the suits and Mercs in the Council have this planned and instigated, the price of each unit will be well over €200k. This is another pot, under the pretence of doing public good, that the fat cats can dip into. Guaranteed someone will be making a brown envelope, nod and a wink, back handed deal on these houses.

        1. Frilly Keane

          I can speak of some authority on this

          And lemme tell ye now
          Any local authority
          Any Voluntary Housing
          Beyond the M50
          That eats up this plan
          Needs to be ransacked by CAB

          1. scottser

            Its a DCC thing frilly. All family homeless placements are allocated through them. 4.5 mill on hotel accommodation from jan to june this year, total to hit 12 by the end of the year. Twould make ye think twice about this solution with them figures.

    1. Anne

      They’re not caravans with no wheels.

      They’re modular homes, that are warm and almost like buildings, but not quite … you can plop them anywhere, rather than build houses… they’re caravans that have been pimped out a bit.

      As people have been homeless, shacked up for years in hotels, something needs to be done soon like.. do your research man for crying out loud.

      1. StiffLittleFingers

        From comments above Anne, you hadn’t a clue what was going on and now your spouting out “do your research man for crying out loud”.
        You dear lady, man, troll or whatever you might be, you are an idiot :)

        Good day and god bless us all.

        I actually think these new style of house is great. If a lad up north builds a house out of shipping containers for himself, why wouldn’t who is homeless or come to that, anyone in general be not proud to live in accommodation as mentioned.

        1. Anne

          From comments above Anne, you hadn’t a clue what was going on and now your spouting out “do your research man for crying out loud”.
          You dear lady, man, troll or whatever you might be, you are an idiot :)

          I had a change of heart about the modular homes… if they’re good enough for the German and Dutch pikeys, they’re good enough for us.

          100k is a steal when you think of it… warm and modular, n all the mod cons like running water and electricity.

    2. Frilly Keane

      They are
      In fact
      Mobile homes

      And there is no way
      Not a chance
      Not in this climate anyway
      You can get 50 years out’ve a ‘van

      1. scottser

        You might well say the same about a timber frame, we’ll see. But at least with these units you dont get cold bridging and cut with mold after 10 years. The units i saw were all guaranteed for 30 years, which is grand too. I lived in holland ghere for a while and the would build housing that ladted 40 years only. Theyd plan to detenant after that time, knock a couple f streets and youd have whole streets, prefabricated and up in 3 months.

        anyway, most of the one off bungalows down the country were the same idea, ordered out of a catalogue but nary a screed of insulation in them. These yolks will be built to decent regs at least.

      2. Frilly Keane

        30 years sounds about right
        But only if they’re well maintained

        The first sign of a leak
        Get it sorted
        The first sign of a soft spot on the floor
        Get it sorted
        And don’t permit any condensation to build up

        And pitch in a very sheltered spot

        Then you’ll get your 30 years

        IMO tho
        DCC will get, 10 to a Max of 15 years out’ve ’em

      1. Clampers Outside!

        That too…. last time I mentioned that, a friend defended them on the grounds of ‘people are angry’… and couldn’t get their head around the fact that no one (not in big or sufficient numbers) will listen to some angry twaddle from someone who peppers their angry statements with falsehoods….. I could hear Concords whooshing all round us as my words came out and the blank expression that followed said it all.

        Very sad.

        1. Neilo

          Welcome to the world of The Perpetually Outraged! where emotions run high but reason runs low. Evolution over revolution will never win admirers but eschews the awkwardness of Five Year Plans/Great Leap Forward/any other random totalitarian atrocities one might care to mention.

  9. Frilly Keane

    BTW lads

    These modular units are already used for social housing remedies throughout the country

    In halting sites

    Leave it with ye

  10. Brian

    A 100 grand seems way over the top for what they are. The fear would be that they would become more long term than short term. There should be a 3 bed room limit put on all and any dwellings No more two bed room. I would like to know if a tender was sent out for the supplying of these units. Along with the quotations submitted. 100 thousand for each one is just not sitting right with me.
    But lets face it for anyone stuck in a hotel room for the past few years wont care how much they cost.

  11. scottser

    if ye all have an issue with the unit cost of 80 to 100k, then fair enough. i firmly believe that the state should set up a number of modular housing factories and be banging this type of housing out for 500 bucks per sq m. create a few thousand proper jobs, guaranteed stable housing stock and THEN ye can start to plan an economy.

    man, if they’d just let me be minister for housing for 6 months, i’d sort this mess out no bother.

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