An outline of aim and objectives.
A review of the research undertaken by others.
An outline of what will be discussed throughout the thesis.
1.1 Thesis Structure
This section introduces the thesis topic, outlines aims and objectives and briefly explains the current housing situation in Dublin.
The chapter provides the background of shipping containers and review of development examples made of shipping containers around the world.
This section demonstrates the research strategy that have been used by the author to obtain relevant information and how these findings will be used to
Also research limitations are mentioned in this section.
Presentation of research findings
This chapter presents data received from available sources.
Analysis of research findings
This section focus on analysis and comparison of data received.
Conclusions and Recommendations
This chapter will conclude the study by summarising all findings and data which allow the author to draw conclusions and make recommendations based on findings readdressing them to the aim and objectives.
This section consists of an account of published articles and papers. Available literature is related to shipping containers and current housing situation in Dublin.
The chapter provides the background of shipping containers, which may be a possible solution for emergency accommodation in Dublin.
Literature review starts with the history of shipping containers. Then it overviews the different uses of shipping containers, strength and weaknesses, their availability, as well as a review of development examples made of shipping containers around the world.
This chapter explains the research design and methodology undertaken for this study. To create a structured and well-ordered thesis an author created the research diagram which demonstrate the whole process of research and where it could lead. Empty bubbles show the possibilities that may occur during the further data collection and research. The original image is included in the Appendix section.
The research area, an author is focusing, has not been researched previously, in terms of an Irish perspective. Therefore finding data for the thesis will have to be interpreted through investigation of existing data, and based on the examples from other countries.
3.1 Research question
The study aims to answer whether shipping containers are suitable for emergency accommodation as an alternative to other types of housing solutions.
3.2 Research process
To achieve the aim of that study, following areas have to be investigated:
The background of shipping containers.
Segregate two concepts: home and emergency accommodation
Determine the meaning of temporary accommodation. Determine the meaning of home.
Investigate of current housing situation in Dublin in terms of the housing supply, demand and rental prices.
To determine emergency housing providers in Dublin
Compare the building cost of providing traditional housing vs. shipping container housing.
Investigate social acceptance of shipping container houses.
In order to achieve the objectives of this study the necessary methods of research were identified. Author chooses to use primary (e-survey, case study) and secondary methods or research.
3.3 Primary research
There are many types of primary research which consists of surveys, interviews, observations, analysis, etc. during which data is collected from the real world.
For this thesis author chooses, e-survey questionnaire and case study analysis.
3.3.1 Survey questionnaire
The one of the primary research method is survey questionnaire when information is collected from the individuals through their responses to the questions designed in relation to study’s research.
Fink (2003) believes that questionnaire surveys would be one of the best methods in collecting data on the observations, attitudes, feelings, experiences or opinions.
Questionnaire surveys may not be feasible and reliable, however, it was decided to use this method to investigate social acceptance of shipping container houses. The target audience have not been chosen as author expected to receive unbiased opinion from a variety of respondents. E-survey questionnaire included ten questions. They were drafted and posted online. Fifty responses have been received so far. Also the same questions have been sent by email to selected professionals who are working in the areas such as housing, social housing, planning and development, urban economy, charity housing organizations and are directly related to the thesis topic.
3.3.2 Case study
Case study method is comprehensive as it can use many approaches for data collection.
A case-study approach has been chosen to investigate and overview an existing development projects around the world.A ………………
3.4 Secondary research
The secondary research consists of data and information collected from existing sources, such as journals, text books, websites, company and government reports and publications (Creswell, 2007). Hence, sources mentioned above were used to gather available information which was directly related to the thesis topic. For this study author uses available literature review and online sources.
3.4.1 Literature review
To obtain the information for this study relevant literature relating to containers’ background and existing developments around the world were reviewed. An extensive search for literature was undertaken of previous thesis and dissertations, journals, reports and related websites. The sources of literature are evident in the references.
The literature review was a method of learning such as author examined the literature which has been wrote and analysed by others (professionals, scholars, experts). Secondary research was essential in completing the literature review chapter as it was guidance towards further information sources to complete this study. This led in to investigation of further topics such as determination the meaning of home and emergency accommodation; investigation of the current housing supply, demand and rental prices in Dublin; determination of emergency housing providers in Dublin.
3.4.2 Online sources
The most information required was freely available from the websites. However, ‘the internet is vast but extremely disorganized source of information. To use it effectively, we must be able to formulate a search strategy using appropriate keywords’ (How at al., 2005).
Keywords used for the research were: emergency accommodation, shipping container houses, shipping container prices, shipping container house manufacturers, construction costs, Irish housing market, supply, demand, accommodation for rent/for sale, meaning of home, homelessness, etc.
Shipping container suppliers and shipping container house manufacturers were contacted by email in relation to shipping containers cost and construction costs of shipping containers’ houses.
3.5 Expected Outcomes
Through the research author expects to rationalise why shipping container houses are not used in Irish construction industry while they are widely used in other countries; highlight advantages and disadvantages of shipping container houses; to find an answer if demand of emergency accommodation meets supply; in other words if there is a shortage of that type of emergency accommodation in Dublin. It is also important to get to know the social acceptance of shipping container houses (positive or negative).
The main objective of this study is to compare of traditional house building cost against shipping container house building cost. However, those two units cannot be compared directly as it is usually done in a property market valuation, when properties with similar parameters (size, location, condition, etc.) are compared to calculate its market value, rental value, capital value and etc.
The layout of units is seen as limitation in terms of comparison as well. Such as units are so unlike that there is no basis for comparison. Therefore author decided to concentrate on the shipping container house which is close by size to minimum requirements allowed in Ireland and compare it with traditional house multiplying the same size (considering that shipping container is in a same size as traditional house unit) per price per sq metre.
Such as there are only two shipping container houses in Ireland, thus large data set analysis is not currently possible because costs are not disclosed. Analysis must be limited and rely on projects from around the world that are available for review. Therefore, methodology of research primarily relies upon literature review, questionnaire survey, case studies and financial analysis of available construction data.
For this reason, author decided rely on shipping container housing prices in UK. Costs in pounds will be converted to Euros in accordance with the relevant exchange rate.
Another difficulty is to obtain the most up to dated statistical data that relates to the current housing market such as supply and demand. In this case, for example, some papers are issued once a year, so the information is old enough. However, data obtained is going to be used with assumptions that population growth would be faster than delivery of required accommodation. Thus, demand for housing will continue to increase and consequently demand for emergency housing will stay high.
4.1 Current housing situation in Dublin in terms of the housing supply, demand and rental prices.
Dublin’s housing stock has 535,000 properties. 3,619 properties were listed for sale last year in Dublin which is 7.7% less than previous year, according to MyHome (2016).
SCSI (2017) believes that activity levels were decreased due to Central Bank mortgage lending restrictions which are not conductive to the first-time buyers and also UK’s decision to leave the EU.
However, demand for housing will remain high due to changed household structures and increased demand for single person households (RIAI, 2016).
Dublin experiences insufficient supply to meet growing demand which is caused by rapid population growth and fast decline of unemployment (CIF, 2016; Duffy at al, 2016).
As a result lack of supply supported the rise in house prices, therefore more people who wish to buy a home, but cannot afford it are forced to continue to rent (My Home, 2017).
Moreover this may intensify pressure on social housing increasing the social housing waiting list, put upward pressure on rents and force some people into homelessness (CIF, 2016; Duffy at al, 2016).
Residential property values in the Dublin Region increased by 64.7% since 2013 and is forecasted to grow further by 6.6% in 2017. Key factors that play role for positive growth were the shortage in new house builds, ‘increased employment rates; an improvement in mortgage lending and finance availability; improved consumer confidence and economic stability’ (SCSI, 2017). p18
‘Research shows that average couple-nurse, Garda, teacher or civil servants with 5 years’ experience-are unable to secure a mortgage for average priced house in housing market’ (CIF, 2016; Duffy at al, 2016).
The same factors mentioned before play role for Private Rented Sector (PRS) which according to (McCartney, 2017) is growing.
Since Q1 2011 the number of people in PRS- Private Rented Sector increased by 107,500 in Dublin (McCartney, 2017).
The total number of tenancies registered with RTB in Q4 2016 stands at 325,375 and represents 705,465 occupants (RTB, 2017)
Between September and December of previous year 2016 rents rose by an average of 13.5% and now are 14% higher than in the 2008. An average rental prices in Dublin are demonstrated in the table and chart below:
a‚¬A A A A A A A A A A A 1,529
a‚¬A A A A A A A A A A A 1,655
a‚¬A A A A A A A A A A A 1,763
a‚¬A A A A A A A A A A A 1,375
a‚¬A A A A A A A A A A A 1,855
a‚¬A A A A A A A A A A A 1,446
Availability of properties increased by 200 in Dublin and almost 1,600 properties were available to rent on the 1st February 2017 (Lyons, 2016)
Nearly 20,000 households were qualified for social housing support in 2016 (Housing Agency, 2016). However, the current stock of social housing is insufficient to satisfied social housing need (ICSH, 2016). To all the factors influence housing market in Dublin mentioned above, there is also the number of vacant dwellings which represents an inefficient use of valuable resources and makes negative impact on local areas and communities. Census 2016 records 35,000 vacant dwellings in Dublin (Housing Agency, 2017).
To satisfied social housing need in July of 2016 Government launched an ambitious plan to provide housing nationally. During six years 47,000 new social houses and 25,000 new units (yearly) have to be built (SCSI, 2017).
During 2015 there were only 12,600 new houses built instead of 21,000 (ICI, 2016).
Currently, Dublin city region experiences shortfall of 35,242 homes (Housing Agency, 2017).
But despite of that development activity is growing every year as demonstrated in Table below
Planning Permissions in Dublin region
Some of 12,388 housing units were granted with planning permission in the 2016 (CIS, 2016)
According to Housing Agency, (2017a) Dublin City Region will require 33,109 new homes during 2016-2020. Their analysis shows that annual average of required houses is 6,600 per annum over the period to 2020.
4.2 Segregation of two concepts: home and emergency accommodation
Very often people do not fully understand the meaning of home and meaning of emergency accommodation. They are confused of those two concepts. Therefore author thinks that those two concepts have to be clearly explained to the reader.
4.2.1 The meaning of home
‘All of us – even the truly homeless – live somewhere and each therefore stands in some relation to land as owner-occupier, tenant, licensee or squatter’ (Gray, and Symes, 1983).
There is no a straight or single answer what does home means. The answer is very complex and multidimensional. First of all home is physical structure which provides privacy, comfort, safety, continuity and permanence. Home also represents the success, family wealth so it can be considered as a financial investment which can be accumulated and then passed on to future generations as inheritance. But again, home is not only financial asset. It could be seen as identity and self-identity which relates to the deep emotional meaning and particularly memories tided to the places where we live. And it can be a place for self-expression (Gray, and Symes, 1983; Stern, 2009; Fox, 2013).
‘”Home” means different things to different people. Furthermore, the meanings that home represents to an occupier may change over their life course’ (Fox, 2006).
4.2.2 The meaning of emergency accommodation
The role of emergency accommodation is to provide short-term accommodation for people who are homeless or those who are in crisis. In other words, it could help people who are sleeping on the street; those who are in danger of being hurt in their own homes (experiencing domestic violence), or those who are evicted from home and have no place where to stay until new permanent place to live will be found.
Emergency Accommodation includes apartments, private houses and B&B’s, hostels and hotels.
Emergency housing provides only basic necessities, such as a place to sleep, shower, do laundry, get clothing, and eat or get money for food.
4.3 Reasons for Becoming Homeless
There is no single reason why people become homeless. There are many causes which can be determined such as: structural causes, when people are at risk of becoming homeless due to financial crisis that causes poverty, unemployment, and lack of good quality, affordable housing; Institutional Causes, touches those people who leaving prison or mental health institutions and nowhere to go to on their release/discharge; Relationship Causes; Personal Causes, when person is addictive to the alcohol or/and drug use, mental illness, learning difficulties. People with combination of these factors are the most vulnerable part of society and in most cases become homeless.
4.4 An overview of the current situation in Dublin in terms of emergency accommodation
1007 families with 2026 dependents were registered as homeless in the first month of 2017in Dublin region. 764 families with 1551 dependents were accommodated in hotels and 243 families with 495 dependents in homeless accommodation (DRHE, 2017). Table below shows the number of individuals in Emergency Accommodation.
Adults (no dependents)
Number of dependents
There are approximately 3000 beds available in emergency accommodation in Dublin region. The chart below demonstrates the number of empty beds in emergency accommodation during Christmas and the New Year period. There are few reasons in relation to increased vacancy. One of the reasons is the provision of significant number of additional new beds; another reason is that some people do not use any other form of shelter they only accept to sleep rough; some of them combine rough sleeping with access to emergency accommodation (DRHE, 2016).
Despite of that, in winter 2016 there were discovered 142 persons sleeping rough which represents an increase of 51 persons in comparison with winter 2015
The majority of sleeping rough are those of aged between 31and 40 which accounts for 38%, 27% were aged 18- 30 and another 27% aged 41-50, aged 51 years and over represent remaining 8%. Chart below demonstrates the number of adults discovered sleeping rough on the night of the rough sleeping count which took place on the night of 22nd November 2016 (DRHE, 2016).
4.5 Minimum floor areas and standards for the accommodation of single person
Every type of building and its surroundings must provide safety and welfare for people. Therefore all developments should be built in accordance with the prescribed National Guidelines. The minimum requirements are set out in 12 parts which are classified as Parts A to M (DHPCLG, 2017).
Table below is created to demonstrate minimum size requirements for one bedroom apartment and studio flat (ESLG, 2015).
Minimum overall apartment floor areas
40 sq m
45 sq m
Table Source: http://www.housing.gov.ie/sites/default/files/publications/files/apartment_guidelines_21122015.pdf
4.6 Building costs of shipping container house
Container homes are built out of new purpose built and highly secure steel units and include living spaces, bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms. For an additional 30-40% cost container houses can be built to meet UK building control regulations.
Example of container home sizes and prices provided by manufacturer
Size in feet’s
Size in Sq m
20? x 8?
single unit container home
24? x 10?
double unit container homes
30? x 10?
single unit container home
40 x 10?
double bedroom container home
40? x 12?
double bedroom container home
4.7 Building costs of traditional house
Author uses house building costs produced by the Quantity Surveying Professional Group of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI).A The Society of Chartered Surveyors analysed a number of live house building projects in the Greater Dublin Area. Extensive and detailed study has been done on the 30 units that were under construction in late 2015 and early 2016. Chartered Quantity Surveyors analysed all cost inputs.
For the comparison purposes only hard costs were taken into consideration for this study, where the figures assume structure (traditional strip foundation on good bearing soil); superstructure (timber or block work frame, render finish, tiled roof, insulated to 2011 Part L); completion (double glazed windows; paint grade softwood doors, skirting & window boards internally); finishes (paint finished walls, tiling to bath and shower rooms); fittings (Fitted kitchen c/w Formica w/t; wardrobe to main all bedrooms (no appliances)); Services (including Sanitary ware, rainwater, solar panel, heat recovery, condensing boiler and radiator, plastic fittings and pendants throughout for electricity, wired for alarm).
Any other costs such as site preparation, VAT, professional fees, land acquisition and development costs, finance costs were excluded.
Hard costs according to SCSI research is a‚¬1084 per square metre.Author excluded from comparison smaler size units and took into account only units that are close to building requirements. As was mentioned in section 4.4 minimum overall floor areas are for studio flat 40 sq m and one bedroom apartment 45 sq m.
Size in Sq m
double bedroom traditional home
double bedroom traditional home
4.8 Survey questionnaire
4.9 Case studies
In this chapter I am going to analyse all of the data found through my research. And I would try to establish the link between literature and data collected.
First, it focused exclusively on single person accommodation.
5.1 Shipping container house versus traditiona