‘I Have Failed To Get Any Engagement With The Council’


A modular home by Big Red Barn in Co Mayo

I read Kitty Holland’s article regarding the Dublin couple seeking planning permission for a log cabin in a back garden with great interes. It appears I am not the only one having a frustrating time with Dublin City Council’s planning department.

I run a successful company, Big Red Barn, in Co Mayo. We build “temporary permanent structures” and our products can be seen at many national events, including the National Ploughing Championships this autumn, where our Big Red Barns will be used by seven well-known companies, including Lidl, Limousin and JFC.

I have approached Dublin City Council with our own design of a modular home (not a log cabin), made from Scandinavian pressure treated timber, fully insulated, double glazed, safe and secure, all for €34,000 plus VAT, delivered on site, where each one can be erected in three days.

Despite numerous efforts, I have, so far, failed to get any engagement with the council.

Fortuitously we have a far-seeing team in our Mayo Local Enterprise Office who have set up business contacts between Mayo and Rhode Island, a US state that also has a housing crisis.

We began negotiations with the Rhode Island authorities at the start of this year and the first of our Mayo-made modular homes with be built in Rhode Island this September (following a six-week sea voyage). This new contract added ten new badly needed jobs at our Swinford manufacturing plant.

Why, oh why, is a US state, with extremely rigorous building regulations, happy to buy and erect our high-quality Irish-made product to help solve their housing problems while in Ireland our own housing officials refuse to engage with a company that can have highly affordable houses on site and fully built, in weeks? The Minister for Housing might take note and take action.

Donal Byrne,
Chief Executive,
Big Red Barn Company,
Swinford, Co Mayo.

Modular homes and the housing crisis (The Irish Times letters page)

39 thoughts on “‘I Have Failed To Get Any Engagement With The Council’

  1. Pluto

    Because Donal that would be a swift and efficient solution to some aspects of the housing crisis but the government and DCC don’t want it solved because that would mean undermining the landlords and property developers who make millions off the back of HAP, rent extortion and the property market – they do this even whilst knowing that the housing crisis is now starting to affect the economy and is turning outward investment away.

  2. Dr.Fart MD

    County Councils never act positively, all they do is block and prevent things happening.

  3. roscaf

    Has to be a fair tender to allow others to bid for the work also or else others will be out with lawsuits.
    Don’t think there is an efficient way for councils to actually construct new houses with all the red tape, then again the government are quick enough to create SDZ zones for big business

  4. Just Sayin

    Do we really want to build holiday chalets rather than proper homes?

    The US are already familiar with the concept.

    They call them “trailer parks”

    1. Termagant

      Can you live in it?
      Can you build a brick-and-mortar home in the time it takes to erect a log cabin?
      Can you build a brick-and-mortar home on small sites that could accommodate a log cabin?

      What’s the problem?

    2. cupofteaanyone

      It has to be better than living in a hotel or some of the other crying rooms you see on daft. And it costs about the same as 2 years rent in the city.

    3. Anomanomanom

      That’s the irish mentality. I might be wrong but I think that Swedish company tried this during the boom and they couldn’t get permission to build. Of course FF couldn’t have its builder mates being monstrously under cut. Nobody called them modular homes then, they were blocked simply because they allowed working class to afford lovely 3&4 bedrooms.

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Prefabs for the 21st century, you know the kind of places where a lot of children were educated while the new school was built, but failed to open because the parent company shut down.

      1. Col

        Or a place in your parents’ back garden where you intended to live until you got a deposit together but stayed in forever because why would you pay 10 times the price for a smaller, draftier, less convenient house/ apartment.

  5. Spaghetti Hoop

    Public procurement rules.
    That aside, they look very nice out of the box – ideal holiday home. But how do they fare in Irish weather?

  6. shitferbrains

    Public servants are terrified of standardisation. Means less of them required to give the neccessary approvals.

  7. Madness

    “Why, oh why, is a US state, with extremely rigorous building regulations” .
    Is this statement true?
    I thought there was no universal building code in the US and that each State applies it’s own local building regulations. Anyone?

    1. andy

      The fact there isn’t a federal code doesn’t mean each individual’s building codes aren’t stringent.

      However, I’ve found electrical work in the US can often be a bit dodgy. Perhaps that’s due to the lower voltage so they don’t consider it as dangerous.

      1. johnny

        Rhode Island’s housing crisis huh !
        He’s a bit hysterical,he’s promoting modular (holiday) homes, basically double wides or trailers,after an extremely lengthy and no doubt expensive lobbying effort by various Irish sate agencies,P-Town or Providence is buying at 100 grand each a few of them for temporary seasonal workers !
        If his product is half as good as his shrilling he should have no problems.

        Ps-Andy you just cant find good help these days:)

  8. scottser

    i am a huge advocate of this type of housing. when DCC first proposed this solution back in 2014 i attended a showcase by different providers in east wall and was hugely impressed by what could be achieved with a couple of hundred square feet of living space and how quickly solutions could be provided. then the debate shifted to ‘why can’t people have proper brick-built homes instead of wendy-houses’. DCC engaged on a rapid build project in ballymun that was slated, wrongly in my book, as being over-budget mainly due to protests locally resulting in modular housing solutions being put on the long finger.

    as far as i’m concerned, this form of housing is the future. every local authority should have a factory in it’s region banging these out to meet need.

    1. LeopoldGloom

      They were overbudget for all sorts of reasons, and they were dumped in a derelict field, inbetween 2 derelict fields and facing onto a very busy and ill maintained road. The whole process was shoddy.

      1. scottser

        the amount they recorded as over budget wasn’t accurate. the location is earmarked for development under the development plan.
        the basic model of provision is still sound, despite whatever management problems may have occurred. granted these processes can always be improved but the country needs to build and relying on traditional private developers is not the way to go anymore.

  9. sycamoreal

    You should see them now, there full of life and playing children. They are on a bus route near amazing facilities. Finglas Village, Ballymun, Charlestown shopping centre, Ikea, the airport

  10. Brian w

    Someone forced to live in a hotel with their family would not consider this a ‘glorified shed’ or ‘prefab’. Being homeless myself for a while (thankfully managing to sofa-hop for a few months) I would have done anything for a lovely cabin like this.

Comments are closed.