If you are going to build a house extension or make other changes to your house in Ireland, you may need planning permission.
Generally minor changes such as those listed below do not need planning permission but you should always make absolutely certain that you don't need planning permission before you start building.
Your local authority will be able to advise you about this and tell you whether your proposals are likely to comply with the development plan for your area. Below is a summary of information you can obtain from the Citizen Information Board.
Generally, you will not need planning permission for:
- Building an extension to the rear of the house which does not increase the original floor area of the house by more than 40 square metres and is not higher than the house. The extension should not reduce the open space at the back of the house to less than 25 square metres which must be reserved exclusively for the use of the occupants of your house.
- Converting a garage attached to the rear or side of the house to domestic use so long as it has a floor area of less than 40 square metres. Building a garage at the back or side of a house so long as it does not extend out in front of the building line of the house and does not exceed four metres in height (if it has a tiled/slated pitched roof) or three metres (if it has any other roof type). This building will be exempt from planning permission once the floor area is limited to 25 square metres. Garages or sheds to the side of the house must match the finish of the house and may not be lived in, used for commercial purposes or for keeping pigs, poultry, pigeons, ponies or horses.
- Building a front porch so long as it does not exceed two square metres in area and is more than two metres from a public road or footpath. If the porch has a tiled or slated pitched roof, it must not exceed four metres in height or three metres for any other type of roof.
- Capped walls made of brick, stone or block, wooden fences but not security fences can be erected as long as they do not exceed 1.2 metres in height or two metres at the side or rear. Gates may be build provided they do not exceed 2 metres in height. Permission is always required to if you wish to widen or create new access to the public road.
- A central heating system chimney, boiler house or oil storage tank (up to 3,500 litres capacity).
- Car parking spaces, garden paths etc
- A TV aerial on the roof so long as it is less than 6 metres higher than the roof
- A satellite dish (up to 1 metre in diameter, and no higher than the top of the roof) at the back or side of the house (a dish on the front needs planning permission). Only one dish may be erected on a house.
We cannot answer specific questions on whether or not your proposed development will require permission. It is most important to check with your local authority before starting to make any changes. S.I 600 of 2001 has more information about developments that are exempt from planning permission.
Failure to obtain planning permission before altering the house
Failure to obtain planning permission where it is required can result in penalties (i.e., significant fines or even imprisonment). However, if a genuine mistake has been made, it is possible to apply for planning permission to retain an unauthorised development.
This permission may be refused, in which case, the unauthorised development will have to be demolished.
Planning permission for 'material change of use'
If you want to make a material (i.e. substantial) change to the use of land or buildings which will have an actual or potential impact on neighbours or the local community, then you will need planning permission.
For example you will need planning permission if you propose to:
- Convert your garage into a workshop for business use
- Establish a crèche
- Open a bed and breakfast with more than 4 guest bedrooms
For more information on applying for planning permission and the different types of planning permission, see Planning Permission pages on Citizen Information Board.
How to apply for Planning Permission
Your application for planning permission for alterations to a house should be made to the Planning Department of your local authority. Queries in connection with alterations should be addressed to the Chief Officer of that Planning Department.
You may also be interested in reading the the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government 's useful leaflets on planning (these are pdf files which you can also download and print):
Thess leaflets examines some common housing alterations and the associated planning issues. (For example, house extensions, change of use, etc.). Further information is available from your local authority.
Planning Permission Rules
You must give a public notice of your proposals before making an application. 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 that can be clearly read. You will find details of information that must be contained in the notices in the planning application form.
The application must be received by the local authority within 2 weeks of the notice appearing in the local newspaper and the erection of the site notice. The site notice must remain in place for at least 5 weeks from the date of receipt of the planning application. (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.
Normally, planning permission is subject to conditions, some of which may require changes to your proposals.
Planning permission normally lasts for five years. You may be required to make a financial contribution towards the construction of any road, water supply or sewerage that may be necessary.
If the local authority refuses your application, it will give you the reasons for this. You have 4 weeks from the date of this decision to appeal to An Bord Pleanála.
Planning Permission Rates
You have to pay a fee with your application. Different fees apply to different types of development. The current fee for an application to build a house is 65 euro. The fee for a house extension or the conversion of a garage, etc., for use as part of a house is 34 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 for Planning Permission
You apply for planning permission by filling in a planning application form and submitting it together with required documents to your local authority. If you are employing an architect, he/she will normally make the application on your behalf.
Your local authority will be able to give you advice about how to apply, whether your proposals are likely to comply with the development plan, what other documents you will need, what the fee will be and any other requirements.
How long does it take to get a Full Planning Permission?
In considering planning applications, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government of must follow certain procedures such as advertising, neighbour notification and consultation with statutory bodies and the local Council. The Department should determine your application within eight weeks. Large or complex applications, or applications where additional information is required may take much longer.
You can find more on how to apply for Planning Permission on the Citizen Information Board or you can download one of the handy guides compiled by the Local Government- Development and Housing Dept.
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