An Estonian businessman believes he could help to ease Dublin’s homeless crisis by building attractive and affordable log cabins.
Harry Laanisto, of Coppola Cabins, said the fully functioning cabins could be built in just ten weeks and could cost as little as €30,000.
A €30,000 cabin measures 5×7 metres and includes two bedrooms, a bathroom and living room. A more expensive cabin (€70,000) measures 7x 10 metres and includes three bedrooms, a kitchen, bathroom, living room and dining room.
The cabins come in many sizes with the most expensive costing just €100,000. The price includes the cabin and the electrical wiring but the owner would need to take care of water and furnishing.
That is considerably less than the modular homes that were built towards the end of 2015, in a bid to ease the homeless crisis, for a cost of €243,000 each.
Laanisto told the Irish Independent: “They are easy to maintain as they only need to be stained every five years.”
The cabins are not just used for homes. Since the economy started to pick up, people have been buying them for several different uses.
Laanisto said: “Our smaller cabins are popular for offices, playrooms and home bars. Today I had five couples already looking at the cabins and on Saturdays we have queues.
“This year is slightly better than last year. I’ve noticed cabins sales have picked up.
“[The cabins] are quite popular in Estonia and all over the world including Japan. Our supplier sells to 40 countries. They’re available in cities, the countryside, everywhere. So that was my idea, why not do it here?”
However, Dublin County Council is yet to be fully sold on the idea. They have granted planning permission for the cabins to be built in the countryside but not the city.
Laanisto said: “I don’t understand the planning permission because I think it could quite easily solve the problem of housing because cabins are affordable.
“People want to use these cabins for living but planning permission is the issue. I had a customer who wanted to build one in a caravan park at a lake in Cavan and the county council said that log cabins are not suitable for lakesides. It’s ideal beside lakes.”
While the cabins are made of wood, Laanisto says they are less of a fire hazard than a regular house as the wood is too thick.
He said: “It would last longer if there was a fire than a normal house because of the thickness of the wood.”
A Spokesperson for Dublin City Council said: “The City Council is required to procure the construction of housing units by public open tender. Any such tender process sets out the standard and specification of the units required and other qualification criteria. It is open to companies who can meet the standard, specification and criteria to tender.
Take a video tour of the log cabins.