Anger at costs for modular housing

by Alen McMahon

THE cost of the 22 modular houses that are currently undergoing construction in Ballymun has come under fire this week as it was revealed that each unit is costing on average of €191,000 to build.
Dublin City Council announced this week that it has entered into a contract with Western Building Systems from Co Tyrone to build 22 units on a site in Poppintree, Ballymun.
The 22 units will be completed by December 21 and they will cost an estimated €4.2m to build.
Since the cost of the two-storey, three-bedroom modular homes was revealed this week, local councillors and TDs have reacted with shock and indignation.
The Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) called the Government’s modular housing plans a “shambles” after the cost of the units emerged.
Cllr Michael O’Brien (AAA) said: “The modular homes plan shows the absolute lack of thought which the Government has put into this plan. It will cost €191,000 to build each modular house.
“The Minister thinks that the costs are worth it because of the time saved on construction and that hopefully people will be accommodated in them for Christmas.
“However, if the Minister had some foresight on this, the council could have used this €4.2m in funding to begin to purchase houses in the area, and this could have been done by now.”
Cllr Noeleen Reilly (SF) said: “The cost of the units is much greater than I had anticipated or was lead to believe by Dublin City Council.
“We were told that the units would cost in and around €100,000, so this is almost double that and needs an explanation from Dublin City Council.
“I would like to see a house-building programme. We need to also build affordable units for people to buy and all of this needs support and Government commitment.”
Cllr Reilly said that modular units are a short-term solution to help move people out of hotels and B&B-style accommodation, but that they are not necessarily always the best option.
She said: “They can go up very quickly, which contributes to the high cost. Speed versus cost is what we are looking at here. Only an adequate building programme will address the housing crisis.”
Dublin City Council had not responded to a request for comment by the time of going to print.

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