Building a Social Housing
Development, where to start?

When building a social Housing development there are an abundance of procedures, processes and approval regulations in place to ensure matters of public certainty, accurate costing, public procurement, transparency and value for money. These rules and regulations are formed by various government departments which are:

  • Department of Finance.
  • Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
  • Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government.

To ensure these standards are met consistently there is a 4-stage approval process which each social housing development must pass before it is granted planning permission. The 4 stages are listed below:

Stage 1

Capital Appraisal – is a high-level project appraisal, the business case for the project is examined prior to approval in principle of funding.

Stage 2

Pre-Planning – a pre-planning check on procurement, the consistency of the design with design guidelines, cost and value for money is carried out.

Stage 3

Pre-Tender Design

Stage 4

Tender Report – two final assessments on cost pre-tender and on cost and procurement prior to award of tender.

In terms of approved housing associations, they must be approved to receive public funds and developments must be supported by the relevant Local Authority.

The awarding of any contract to construct a social housing development is dependent on the developer meeting the EU Council Directive 2004/18/EC and the European Communities (Award of Public Authorities Contracts) Regulations 2006 (SI 329 of 2006). No contract can be awarded without the regulations being met.

All costs associated with the preparation and submission of the development proposals, including the engagement of design consultants, securing planning permission etc. are to be considered as work at risk and will be the sole responsibility of the applicant regardless of the outcome of the process, including the abandonment of the process by the Approved Housing Association.

Social housing developments should consist of a mix between 2 bed, 3 bed and 4 bed houses and be in an area of high housing demand. Approved Housing bodies will usually give preference to projects with planning permission approved but if a site does not have planning and you are looking to develop it, we here at SOCIAL HOUSING CO. can help with this.

It is vital that any development which involves an Approved Housing Association meets the following criteria or payments for the development may not be issued:

  1. the conditions of the Planning Permission relating thereto;
  2. the Local Authority Development Plan;
  3. Design Brief
  4. all Housing Guidelines issued by the Government Department