Over-reaching building rules developed by council planners are holding back desperately needed housing construction in Dublin, one of the country's biggest developers has warned.
The rules governing apartment building have "reached Mercedes level", said Hines Ireland CEO Brian Moran, "when most people can only afford a Fiat".
Hines is the US real estate giant which last November paid €280m for a 400-acre plot in Cherrywood, at the base of the Dublin mountains. The company wants to develop 3,000 homes at the site.
But his company is pushing hard for Dublin's councils to relax strict standards for apartments before it starts building, standards that Moran says will push the price of housing out of reach.
The rules, which set limits on minimum space and other building consideration, are "arguably the highest in Europe", he told the Sunday Independent, making it "too expensive" to build affordable apartments.
"These codes need careful adjustment to avoid mistakes of the past and to ensure a good standard for all accommodation... but not exclusively a Mercedes standard," he said.
Rules on Irish stairwells mean they cost €25,000 more to build here than in the most US and mainland Europe, he claimed.
"Significant escalation in rents, housing units or land is not set by developers but is 100pc a function of restraints on development."
Dublin's four councils are all understood to be reviewing the rules, which run for six-year periods.
Sunday Indo Business