Chapelizod modular ‘rapid build’ homes completed after six years

Springvale apartment complex cost €26 million and was beset by delays

Modular “rapid build” apartments in Chapelizod, Dublin, planned in 2017 as a fast-track response to the housing crisis, will be ready for tenants in the new year, Dublin City Council has said.

Springvale is a complex of 71 new social homes beside the Phoenix Park in Chapelizod village. The development, costing more than €26 million, was supposed to be delivered under special emergency planning powers introduced by the Government to deal with the housing and homelessness crises.

Under these provisions the council did not have to go through the normal planning system for local authority developments, known as the “Part 8″ process, if the council chief executive determined there was a need to deal urgently with “an emergency situation calling for immediate action”.

Modular housing estates, originally for homeless families, were built in Ballymun, Finglas, Drimnagh and Darndale, using this emergency provision.


In August 2017 the council announced plans for modular “volumetric” apartments that would be built using the same process, with the hope that using emergency powers along with prefabricated building methods would allow the apartment blocks to be completed within months.

However, in early 2019 residents in Chapelizod objected to the use of this power for a site at Springvale opposite the 19th century Church of the Nativity, as it offered no opportunity to lodge objections to the development. Chapelizod residents’ groups had threatened to seek an injunction if the council started construction without submitting a planning application.

Councillors in October 2019 voted to go ahead with the Springvale development using instead the normal Part 8 planning process.

However, a group of Chapelizod residents in December 2019 took legal action against the council seeking to have the councillors’ decision quashed.

Chapelizod Community for Democracy and Sustainability (CCDS) had said the council had a conflict of interest in that it applied to itself for approval and essentially gave itself planning permission. In February 2022 the High Court struck out the challenge with the consent of CCDS. At this point the apartment blocks were almost completed.

Several completion dates were since set for Springvale, which will have six apartment blocks ranging from three to five storeys and a community building/scout hall. The council has confirmed they will be “ready for occupation in the early new year”.

There were a number of factors that resulted in the delay in completing Springvale, including moratoriums on construction during the Covid-19 pandemic, the council said.

“Delays in delivering the new housing can be attributed to the impact of Covid on the site which caused forced site closures, changes to working methods and delays in supply chains. Latterly, some delays in utility connections set the completion date back, but this is now rectified and snagging of all homes is now being completed.”

In recent weeks tenants have been chosen for the 21 one-bedroom, 30 two-bedroom and 20 three-bedroom apartments.

“While the construction of the housing scheme has faced challenges while on-site, the new homes will provide a new start for many people,” the council said.

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Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times