Quality Management in Privately Financed Housing Construction

Approaches to effective governance tools in Vienna

A lack of regulatory and management instruments in the field of privately financed housing often leads to significant quality deficits with negative effects on quality of life, urban design and sustainability. Urban Innovation Vienna addresses the question of how quality management can be implemented in the field of privately financed housing.


Privately financed housing construction in Vienna has gained substantially in importance in recent years; its share in new construction has already reached 60-70% on average over the past few years. Low interest rates, available capital and a lack of investment alternatives are likely to increase investment pressure and create interest in the acquisition and construction of residential property in the near future. The City of Vienna has strong and well-established quality management mechanisms for subsidised housing: Projects are assessed according to economic, architectural and ecological criteria, and in terms of their social sustainability. The situation is different in the privately financed sector: Here, quality assurance lies with the respective developer, and the city's influence is often limited. In practice, this leads to inconsistent results with widely varying quality levels.


Through interviews with Vienna-based experts, Urban Innovation Vienna identified existing quality deficits in privately financed housing and analysed to what extent the criteria grid of the social housing sector and the practice of quality-oriented processes can also provide indications for quality management measures in privately financed housing. A screening of the legal framework relevant for Vienna yielded information on existing binding rules for privately financed housing as well as on regulatory deficits.


In an international comparative study, Urban Innovation Vienna analysed which quality management instruments other cities are using to ensure high-quality housing projects. Among other things, the study examined legal requirements with regard to flat sizes, housing typologies or the design of ground-floor zones (e.g. in New York and Copenhagen); comprehensive guideline processes defining desired housing qualities (e.g. in Frankfurt); or competitions and awards aiming to showcase successful projects and thus set new benchmarks (e.g. the Bavarian prize “Quality in Housing Construction”).


Based on these analyses of both the local situation and international good practice, Urban Innovation Vienna outlined elements of comprehensive, effective and feasible quality management for privately financed housing construction in Vienna. The individual elements are part of a “toolbox" that can develop its full effect specifically in the interaction of the individual instruments proposed.


MA 50 – Housing Promotion, Housing Research Unit