Wednesday 28 March 2007

New housing design guidelines

The new guidelines - Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities are a comprehensive revision of the 1999 Social Housing Design Guidelines and have been produced following a consultation process with all stakeholders active in this area. The purpose of the Guidelines is to assist in achieving the objectives contained in the Government's recent housing policy statement – Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities.

Speaking at the opening of the National Housing Conference 07 in Dublin the Minister said he was "particularly pleased that the new guidance entitled Quality Housing for Sustainable Communities incorporating the most recent thinking on housing provision and regeneration will be launched at this conference."

The new Guidelines focus on the process surrounding the delivery of quality housing for sustainable communities and improved settlement patterns and "place-making" in the context of promoting quality neighbourhoods. New aspects of the Guidelines deal with:

- urban design,
- increased space standards, and
- energy efficiency.

A key aim of the Guidelines is to ensure that all new housing schemes are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable by providing a high quality environment that meets the needs and, as far as possible, the preferences of the residents, and fosters the development of sustainable communities.

The Guidelines contain a new section dealing with site selection and also with urban design objectives in the provision of housing which sets out to promote quality in design both from the macro urban design level to the micro issues involved in better "place-making". Also included in the Guidelines is an increase in spatial standards and energy efficiency. It is paramount that designing for sustainability achieves energy efficiency at construction stage and during the lifetime of the scheme.

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