Planning permission and building a house in Ireland

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By Nicholas Lane / February 13, 2020
Planning permission

The Irish dream isn’t a white picket fence and a Cadillac, it’s most likely a wee family, a decent house and a bit of privacy ‒ you need planning permission before building a family nest, so here’s all you need to know, from the rules to the application process. 

Building a house is a monumental task. Not only is the construction a massive expense of money and time, but it will become your future home. It may be the place where you begin a family, raise children, or spend the rest of your days with a loved one. Whatever your personal situation, building a house is not to be undertaken lightly. Here’s all the information you need on the process of acquiring planning permission for a house in Ireland, from local development plans, to understanding planning permission, to the application system. 

Planning Permission

Development Plans

Before we get into planning permission, a quick note on development plans which are crucial for your application process. These are the the overall planning policies that a local authority predicts to act upon over a period of six years. Simply, these plans designate various areas for residential, industrial, or agricultural use. This is also known as zoning. These plans are also used to set objectives for the development of roads and amenities in these localities.  

If you are planning to build a house, before getting planning permission you must check that your proposal complies with the development plan of that area. For example, you could be hoping to build in an area which has already been allocated for agricultural development. 

If your proposal does not fit the development plan of your local authority, as in the example above, there is a submission period before each new development plan is finalised. A draft plan is publicly displayed for ten weeks, during which time you may offer suggestions, submissions, and observations to be considered in the new plan. This period is announced in local newspapers and radio broadcasts. 

Planning

Planning Permission

In Ireland, it is necessary to obtain planning permission before beginning construction of a house. It is a serious offence to begin building on a site before planning permission is granted, which can carry heavy fines and imprisonment. 

There are three types of planning permission; permission, also known as full permission, outline permission, and permission consequent on outline permission. 

Full Permission is the most common permission granted. Its application requires the precise plans and particulars of the development. Successful application means the applicant is able to commence development. 

Successful application for Outline Permission does not authorise development on the site. However, it is a valuable option to see if the local authority will agree to your build in principal. This proposal only requires information necessary for the planning authority to make a decision, meaning you could save a lot of time and money on detailed development plans. If you are granted outline permission, you will have a three year period in which to apply for Permission Consequent to Outline Permission. 

Permission Consequent to Outline Permission is sought when you have been granted Outline Permission. With this application comprehensive, detailed plans and specifications of the build must be submitted. Upon review and approval, development may begin. 

The local planning authority must make a decision on a planning application within eight weeks. If they request further information from the applicant, they have a further four weeks. During this period anyone can view the application, and upon paying a €20 fee, may write a submission or observation. Ultimately, the decision on your application will be shared with the writer of this comment as well as you. 

After review, your local authority will declare their intention to grant planning permission. If, after four weeks, this decision is not appealed to An Bord Pleanála, you will receive a grant of permission from your local authority. 

Planning Permission

Rules

  • Before making an application you must give public notice of your proposals in two ways. You must publish a notice in a locally circulating newspaper, and you must erect a clearly visible and readable sign on your site. This site notice must remain in place for at least five weeks from the date of the planning application. 
  • Your application must then be lodged with your local authority within two weeks of these notices appearing. 
  • The granting of planning permission can be subject to conditions, which may require changes to your proposal. 
  • You may be required to make financial contributions towards construction of any road, water supply, or sewerage system on the land for which you have permission over the five year period it lasts. 
  • You may not start building before you receive the grant of permission. 
  • Upon refusal of your application you will be provided reasons as to why you have been rejected and you will have a period of four weeks during which you may appeal the decision to An Bord Pleanála. 

Building Plans

Rates

The application fee for house planning permission is €65.

Blueprints

How to apply

To apply for planning permission you must submit an application form with all the necessary documentation. 

Your local authority can provide the relevant application form, information, and checklist of documentation you will need for your application. You can find your authority here.

About the author

Nicholas Lane

Student of English and French. Born in Essex, bred in Donegal, buttered in Dublin. Writer with Babylon Radio and UCD Tribune. Radio presenter with UCD Belfield FM.


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