• 01 Jun 2023

RIAI / AOTI Position Paper - Changing the Mindset from ‘Granny Flat’ to Flexible Home Adaptations

This Position Paper is a result of collaboration between the RIAI, Universal Design Task Force Liaison Group and the Association of Occupational Therapists of Ireland (AOTI), Enabling Environments Advisory Group (formally the Housing Advisory Group). A Liaison Group was established to share knowledge; to improve understanding of occupational therapists role and role of architect; to respect the different and unique skills of each professional group and to work on specific projects to inform guidance in relation to the built environment. The Position Paper was informed by a Work Group review of Local Authority Development Plans which uncovered a a wide range of disparities and inconsistencies and different planning criteria for ‘granny flats’ or family flats, which are not reflective of current Housing Agency Policy or the demographic needs of the Irish population.


RIAI and AOTI support the provision of accommodation, that reflects the identified demographic and support needs of the population of Ireland and acknowledges the right of people to choose to remain in place. 

This Joint Position Paper proposes a set of Planning Guidelines for Flexible Home Adaptations that are consistent with current published government policy to enable older people or those in need of appropriate support to live independently in their own homes and communities and set out how Local Authorities can adopt broader criteria for flexible home adaptations. The provision of multi-generational or multi-occupancy accommodation would help ‘densify’ suburbs and well as helping to combat loneliness. 

The Position Paper includes four case study projects that illustrate a multigenerational home, independent living unit, a family home with an autistic boy and a house adaptation.

The RIAI/AOTI working group consulted with Age Friendly Technical Advisers in Local Authorities nationwide and have incorporated their feedback into this position paper.