A Game Of Inches



Part of the new planning guidelines on design standards for apartments

Get real.

Your cat swinging days are over.

“In the past under Fianna Fáil a studio apartment measured 38 square metres. We have increased this to 40 square metres. But it’s not a fair comparison to make as we have made several other changes and the ‘shoebox living’ of the past will not return.

If you look at the 2007 guidelines which took in a lot of research, they seem very favourable when compared to standards in other European cities.

By conducting research and analysis we believe that these apartments are adequate and affordable which is the real issue. There’s no point having standards in place if nobody is going to build, we need to get real here.

The new guidelines create one standard across the country and overrides all local authority rules…We need to do everything to ensure that vacant sites are developed.”

Minister for the environment Alan Kelly on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland earlier

New apartment guidelines not a lowering of standards – Kelly (irish Times)

Full guidelines here


59 thoughts on “A Game Of Inches

  1. diddy

    A bedroom where you can get out of BOTH sides of your double bed AND a living room that is not a long rectangle buy square would be enough to appease me.

  2. donal

    Alan Kelly “we need to do everything to ensure that vacant sites are developed”
    Except the one thing that would work very quickly, a site value tax, because our buddies who own these sites don’t want to have to develop them at our pace but at their own, and who are we to dictate to them what they can and cannot do with their land, I mena we are only the government, they are our rich buddies and we couldn’t be upsetting them like

      1. Happy Molloy

        Didn’t realise it was from 2019, was so far away? Assuming it’s to give developers/land owners time to develop or sell, I still think they could bring it in a year

      2. olllie

        He said he’d do it from 2019, but you know he won’t.
        FG are only concerned with the protection of the wealthy.

      1. DubLoony

        Chunk of Dublin 8 as well.
        There are sites that have been derelict for over 35 years.
        If owners can’t be located, surely the site could revert to the city or something?

        1. scottser

          local authorities are allowed to claw back 25% of rates on vacant sites since the 2014 local govt reform act was passed in 2014. prior to this, vacant sites were exempt from rates, so there’s a mechanism there to encourage development. only problem is, the same site owners and developers sit on SPCs and are represented at local level. you need to make sure your voice is heard too.

        2. Justin

          I’ve been following a few around Dublin 7, and the owner of the sites is definitely known to DCC. He shows up every 3 months to paint the front doors so they superficially look intact (despite being effectively derelict shells). As to why he hasn’t sold them — that I don’t know.

    1. smoothlikemurphys

      Or maybe he’s well aware of that?

      I’ve no doubt the wish for people to ‘get real’ resonates with a portion of the electorate.

  3. nellyb

    I assume people will have to live in the decor of drying laundry hanged everywhere, including tables and apartment doors.

    1. Medium Sized C

      Either that or build laundries in the buildings.
      Or maybe have laundry businesses.

      Two things that work in large cities that probably won’t happen in Dublin.

      1. Anomanomanom

        Could not agree more. The complex i live in has an “office” for the grounds keeper that just has his desk and computer in it, the office is about twice the size of my apartment, tiles on all the floors and walls, it’s like they planned to use it for some sort of common room and then just gave up the idea. When asked about it I got the typical response “but your management fees would rise”.

  4. Anne

    And the race to the bottom continues.

    Why is it that everything they say, they mean the opposite?
    “shoebox living’ of the past will not return…
    In the past under Fianna Fáil a studio apartment measured 38 square metres. We have increased this to 40 square metres.”

    So it was shoebox living in the past… but not any more as it’s been increased by a whole 2 square metres.

      1. smoothlikemurphys

        or it could be the difference between having the bed against the wall, and being able to get out both sides…

        1. Doobs

          Giving a maximum of 2″ at the foot of the bed to walk past, you would be left with about 2.5″ at the side. I personally would not feel comfortable getting out of bed with the wall just over 2″ away.

          I’m also assuming your bed is no longer than 6″.

  5. Kolmo

    The state exists to reign-in the vagaries of anti-social unregulated lecherous profiteering in the interest of the citizen and society at large, this provides for societal stability and dignity – this is the opposite. We’ll be like Brazil in no time.

      1. Anomanomanom

        Only two weeks ago i was in what I’d call “bedroom living”. It was a room with a double bed pushed against the wall and about 3 feet of space to the “kitchen” press that had a sink, microwave and electric hob on it. And what i thought was a wardrobe, it was literally a wardrobe with some crap dry wall built over it, was where the toilet was and a crappy little shower. Oh by the way this was dublin 6 not some out house in the middle of nowhere.

  6. ivan

    I was at a conference recently and Ronan Lyons from TCD presented a few figures. According to his stats, (and it’s a few weeks ago, but i’m pretty sure of the general gist) the cost per meter squared here to build (as apartments go) is something like €1900. In Belfast it’s around €1150. If I remember correctly, he also stated that the actual cost of the ground *isn’t* included in those figures.

    Things like lifts cost money. I’m nearly sure he said that for every 2 apartments on a given floor, you need a lift. Now I’m not sure can that be right – certainly that’d almost make sense for a high rise development but we dont’ really go for that here….

    anyway – tl;dr version – costs a hape of money to build here – rather than take measures to bring down the costs, we’re making it legal to build smaller

      1. All the good ones fly south for winter

        At this point I think it is fair to say that Dav is a wordpress plug-in.

  7. Junkface

    Total Disgrace! This is another Government run/Builder friends scam. Shoebox apartments will not be cheaper, as Irish people are incapable of holding back panic buying and speculation.

    Also suicide rates will be a nice big healthy number after a year or two in these inhumane kennels

    1. smoothlikemurphys

      “This is another Government run/Builder friends scam. Shoebox apartments will not be cheaper, as Irish people are incapable of holding back panic buying and speculation.”

      Lousy government failing to protect us from ourselves. You’d almost think we were capable of making up our own minds…

  8. fits

    I lived in a 45 sq metre flat for a year in a high rise in a different country. It was lovely. Really nicely laid out. Bedroom wasnt large but again loadsa storage. Bathroom/wetroom was quite big and had the washing machine and sauna in it.
    There was a gym, bike storage and general storage lockup on the ground floor/basement

    IF done right, 45 sq m should be grand for a single person.

      1. fits

        That is self defeating. Ireland is a great country in many ways and we can do things well if we put our mind to it.

        1. Anomanomanom

          We don’t do things well. Housing, Transport and Health three really big things a city needs and we are useless at all of them.

        2. Junkface

          Irish people in general can do things very well, we’ve proven that all over the world.

          Irish Building in conjunction with useless, corrupt politicians and a short sighted as usual Government will drag this country back into the sh1t. Modern living in Dublin is unsustainable! Also Ireland has to borrow money just to function, we have no mass energy sources of our own, we import most of our fossil fuels, when are we going to improvise and innovate for the future?

  9. Jake38

    We specialize in this country in ploppily built accommodation. Shoebox apartments and hideous 3 room semiDs laid out in a row so ugly it removes your will to live. (I won’t even mention the horrific bungalow bliss yellow faux doric column mess you see outside the M50), This is because the most expensive part of the building is the artificially inflated price of the land, resulting in the building of the cheapest possible piece of tack on it to make it economically viable. Solution 1) vacant lot tax 2) Build up, densely. 3) relax planning laws (a joke anyway) and , 4) public transport like they have in a real city (i.e one with a real mayor, not a pretend Shinner one). That’s it.

    1. Anomanomanom

      Agree apart from the build up part. Who wants to live in a city that’s bo different from any other city. Dublin might have loads LOADS wrong with it. But look up and not seeing monstrous high rises is a good thing not one of the wrong things.

    2. Toni The Exotic Dancer

      “We need to do everything to ensure that vacant sites are developed.”

      Well do it then! And stop talking about it.
      A “Use it or Lose It” Site Tax.
      Lower development levies.
      Lower cost of Credit to Developers to reduce costs.
      The only positive is the Central Bank Mortgage guidelines are now beginning to work. Finally prices are dropping for buyer,s as they are being restricted to smaller loan amounts.

    3. Anne


      Your average reasonably priced suburban American home, detached and with a nice little garden is only for the super wealthy here.

      The majority of our neighbourhoods here look like post communist blocks, with shared housing – Semi Ds, grey and bland and miserable, with no privacy.. and that’s the nice neighborhoods I’m referring to.

  10. Reppy

    The only people to benefit from this will be developers. Smaller apartments will not equal smaller rents, should have cut development levies or VAT as an incentive. The cost per m2 will increase slightly but more units will be available to rent / sell

  11. Andy

    Boo, terrible ideas from the minister. Lots of alternative, well costed ideas on show here.

    The existing standards are brilliant. Blocks of apartments shooting up everywhere.

    …………meanwhile back in the real world……….

  12. tomkildare

    a question for some people!! if a site cost is €50K and build cost including taxes is 230K for a 2 bed apartment in west dublin out side the M50 that is 80sq mts. What should the developer charge purchasers? just interested in the answers

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