03 October 2019

Ireland - A New Generation of Taller Buildings

Multinational construction consultancy firm Linesight has launched its latest report entitled ‘Building Taller’ at a roundtable event being held in Dublin today. The report discusses the implications of building and planning a new generation of taller buildings in certain urban locations against a backdrop of growing urban populations, increased traffic congestion and a shortage of development land. 

With Ireland’s national population projected to grow by over one million by 2040, a cited need for over 350,000 extra housing units over the next ten years and rapid growth in our workforce, with over 400,000 jobs created over the last six to seven years, it is abundantly clear that taller buildings are an increasing necessity. Linesight believes, based on its research, that a logical solution for a sustainable future should include taller commercial and residential buildings in appropriate urban locations with good transport links. 

Buildings in Ireland have traditionally been low-rise, with building heights in urban areas generally no more than four to six storys. In more central urban areas of our larger cities, buildings often run between six and eight stories, with limited exceptions above this. Taller buildings in the Irish context are likely to fall into the 15 to 30-story range, which is the range considered in Linesight’s report.  

The fundamentals for commercial success with tall buildings are consistent with those of most developments – maximising area, minimising cost, and completion and delivery in as short a construction programme as possible, whilst enhancing architectural expression. The overall mass and consequent additional cost of the main structural elements rises incrementally as the height increases. For this Building Taller report, Linesight has drawn upon its considerable experience with tall buildings, as well as benchmarking data from a sample of 500,000sq.m. of commercial project experience and 15,000 residential units.  

Although the adjustment towards a taller Ireland has been slow to progress, there has
been a clear move in recent years to shift our planning regulations and future urban development strategies. 2018 published government guidelines “consider the role of building height as part of a broad strategy to increase housing delivery and choice, through more compact and diverse urban form, to assist in counteracting sprawl and promoting enhanced sustainability in meeting strategic development needs”.
 

“Taller buildings will accommodate greater numbers while occupying less, increasingly
expensive development land, and using new and existing transport infrastructure
to reduce commuting and congestion. Ultimately, the move towards compact urban
development is growing worldwide to address population growth and increasing
urbanization,”

said Richard Joyce, Managing Director, Linesight Europe  

“We are confident that building upwards will bring great benefits to our urban hubs. We recognize that there is a balance to be struck between the form, the iconic landmark expectations and requirements by local authorities and planners, and rational design that clients and developers ultimately require to deliver viable and workable schemes.”

concluded Joyce.