Are micro-homes a suitable emergency accommodation?
Design process/ BIM Modelling
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It is estimated that around 3.8 million Ukrainian people have been displaced due to war, with 68,000 to 200,000 refugees due to arrive in Ireland in 2022. Can micro-homes be utilised to meet that need?
We are in the midst of an unprecedented housing and homelessness crisis 1. If we do not address the demand for refugee accommodation, the crisis will most likely worsen. Some studies in the U.S. have shown that micro-homes are effective in addressing housing emergencies like homelessness. In some cities, communities have taken it upon themselves to build tiny house villages as a cost-effective and quick way to provide housing for homeless persons and families 2. Can a similar approach be taken to address the need for temporary refugee accommodation in Ireland?
The study focused on the investigation of the current building regulations to determine the legal requirements, relating to the temporary emergency accommodation. The study also included the design of a shared accommodation micro-home units suitable for emergency accommodation applications. These units were then placed on the selected section of the T.U. Dublin Grangegorman site, to determine the efficiency of the newly designed micro-home system.
The results of the study show that the selected site was able to accommodate 329 people at the maximum capacity. If this approach was to be replicated on the same size sites in other colleges in Ireland, we would be able to accommodate approx. 4600 people. This failed to meet the minimum demand of 68000, however this solution is still viable as it will help to somewhat relieve the housing market. The study has also shown that we do not have any building regulations specific to temporary emergency accommodation. It is recommended that regulations are introduced dealing with this subject, as the demand for such housing is growing. These regulations should also have its own form of guidance document, to show how exactly one should comply with the new regulations. The existing restrictions for temporary dwellings to be stationed on site for no more than 28 consecutive days, should also be amended. The amendment should include for temporary emergency accommodation to be stationed for longer, granted that it is designed in line with the new proposed regulation and that it is strictly used for emergency accommodation only.