Building permission

If you wish to build a house in Ireland, you must obtain planning or building permission from your local authority before you start construction. In Ireland, the law requires that you need planning permission for virtually every significant development. It’s important to be aware from the start therefore, that if you fail to obtain planning permission where it is required, you may run the risk of penalties which can carry very heavy fines and even imprisonment. You don’t have to consult the planning authority before applying for planning permission, but it is usually very helpful to discuss anything you are unsure about. The overall plan for the area where you wish to build your home is called the development plan.

This plan is drawn up by your local authority and sets out your local authority’s objectives for the use of particular areas where you live (i.e., residential areas, industrial areas, agricultural areas, etc.). You should look at the development plan before you make an application for planning permission.

If you need to clear a site first, you will need planning permission. If you are proposing to:

  • Make or widen an access onto a public road, or
  • Demolish a structure that was last used as a residence, or
  • Demolish a building in a terrace, or a building that is attached to another building in separate ownership.

There are a number of different types of planning permission so for an explanation of each type, you are advised to read about Planning Permission.


You must give a public notice of your proposals before making an application for planning permission. This must be done by placing a notice in a locally circulating newspaper (your local authority will have a list) and putting up a site notice which can be clearly read. You will find details of information that must be contained in the notices and the prescribed format of the notice in the planning application form.

You must get the application to the local authority within 2 weeks of the notice appearing in the local newspaper.

The site notice must be put up on or before the day you make the application and stay there for at least 5 weeks afterwards.

(Please note, nine days over Christmas, from 24 December to 1 January, are not taken into account when calculating the 5 week period).

You must not start building before you receive the grant of permission. Sometimes planning permission is subject to conditions, which may require changes to your proposals. Planning permission normally lasts for five years.If the local authority refuses your application, they will give you the reasons for this, and you then in turn, have one month to appeal this decision to An Bord Pleanála. (An Bord Pleanála are the national Planning Appeal Board).


You have to pay a fee to your local authority with your planning application. The current fee for an application to build a house is 65 euro. You may also be required to make a contribution to the construction of any road, water supply or sewerage works, which may be necessary.

How to apply

If you have any questions regarding planning issues or concerning your application for planning permission, contact the Chief Officer of the Planning Department of your local authority.

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