The revised apartment minimum sizes which were hurriedly introduced last December have now hit a roadblock. One could say there is an elephant in the room and that elephant is that the minimum size of the rooms which were not reduced in line with the overall floor area of the apartments.
The intent behind the revised standards was a well meaning and much needed reduction in the overall build cost of apartments and other revisions such as removal of the dual aspect requirement in certain circumstances and an increase in the number of units per core is to be welcomed. Legally speaking the revised minimum standards came into immediate effect last December. Solutions such as decreasing corridors to fit the larger rooms are not a viable option as corridor widths are governed by fire safety regulations. For now, developers are advised to adhere to the old minimum design standards as far as floor space is concerned until the matter is clarified by the Department of Environment.
New minimum apartment sizes introduced by Minister for Environment Alan Kelly last month cannot actually be built, according to the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI). RIAI vice-president and housing spokesman John O’Mahony said it was “not possible” to design an apartment within the new minimum sizes because the smallest permissible rooms would not fit inside. The anomaly has arisen because, when Mr Kelly issued the Planning Guidelines on Design Standards for New Apartments last December, he only reduced the overall size of one, two and three bedroom apartments, but did not cut the minimum size of bedrooms and living rooms/kitchens.