For most homeowners the only time you might need to apply for planning permission is when you want to extend. However it is not always necessary. The basic rule is that you can extend your property without planning permission once the extension (or total number of extensions) is less than 40 sq metres. To be exempt the extension must be at the back of the house and must be not less than 2 metres from any party boundary. Attic extensions may be exempt but if you want dormer windows or windows to the front or side of the roof then you must get planning. You can’t build an extension to the side of your house without planning permission but you can convert your garage to living accommodation without planning.
There are so many general rules about planning permission but every extension is different so before you embark on a building job you should consult your local planning office. (Planning permission is applied for and granted through your local authority). If you’re at the wish-list stage of renovating and extending your home, it’s worth looking at the planning permissions sections on the website of your local authority. You’ll be able to see what decisions were made about planning applications in your area and why. For example, in some areas it’s nearly impossible to get planning permission for two storey extension or off-street parking.
You absolutely need planning permission if you are building a house or want to extend or change a Protected Structure.
What to Do
You must give a public notice of your proposals before making an application. This means placing a notice in a locally circulating newspaper (your local authority will have a list) and putting up a site notice. If you are employing an architect, they can look after all stages of the planning application. The application must be received by the local authority (with the relevant fee) within 2 weeks of the notice appearing. The site notice must remain in place for at least 5 weeks from the date of receipt of the planning application. 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. 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 Pleanala.
You apply for planning permission by filling in a planning application form and submitting it together with required documents to your local authority. 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. It is a good idea to talk to the planner in the planning department of your local authority before you make an application. This may save you long delays later on.
In general, you will need to submit the following documents with your application:
- A location map (6 copies).
- Site or layout plan (6 copies).
- Other plans, elevations and sections (6 copies).
- Copies of public notices (newspaper and site).
- A plan showing the position of a site notice or notices.
- Where appropriate, a certificate issued by the planning authority verifying that the development proposed is for no more than 4 houses or for housing development on land of 0.2 hectares or less. If such a certificate has been applied for but not issued, a copy of the application, which itself must meet specific requirements, will suffice.
- The appropriate fee.
Where to apply
To apply for planning permission, contact the Chief Officer of the Planning Department of your local authority. For detailed information about planning legislation click on www.environ.ie