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The no clue guide to planning permission in Ireland

Self builds are great. They give you the freedom to dream big and make sure your new home is fairytale perfect. It’s easy to start planning your own Enya-style castle* before you get permission to do so.


But rules are rules, and to avoid disappointment, it’s best to get planning permission for your self build as early as possible. Ignoring this step could put your build at risk. You need to make sure that you’re following the rules and regulations defined by your local authority, all the way.


So if you want to apply for planning permissions, but just don’t know where to start, we have the details you need. Below, we answer your essential questions.


Why do I have to apply for planning permission?

Planning permission essentially gives your local authority and neighbours a heads up about your build so they can lodge any concerns about the impact of your development. Your plans could conflict with the authority’s development plan for the area, or limit a neighbour’s privacy, so these details need to be ironed out before you get the ball rolling.

The authority’s development plans are updated every five years, and typically contain information on zoning areas and acceptable standards and finishes for buildings. They also contain information on any other restrictions in the area, so the more you know, the smoother your build will be.


What types of planning permission is there?

There are three types of planning permission:

Permission (often referred to as full permission, and is the most common type of application), outline permission, and permission consequent to outline permission.

Outline permission is an application to build on a particular site, before you start drawing up detailed development plans, which can save you a lot of trouble and expense in the long run.

Permission consequent to outline permission occurs when outline permission is granted by the local authority.

After this, you can submit your ‘full planning’ application and start the final process. It’s wordy, but it makes sense.


What do I have to do before I apply?

Before you start, you’ll need to give public notice of your proposals. But don’t worry – placing a notice in the local newspaper and putting up a notice onsite will do the job. The site notice has to remain in place for at least five weeks from receipt of the planning application. Again, this gives everyone a chance to voice opinions or concerns.

Your application must be submitted to the local authority within two weeks of the notice appearing locally.


What do I need to apply for full permission?

You’ll need detailed plans of your proposed project. It would be worth your time consulting a qualified architect or engineer with planning experience to advise you on your application before you submit it. This helps to ensure that there are no obvious mistakes or overlooked factors.


How long does it take for planning permission to be approved?

The local authority can take up to eight weeks from receiving the application to making a decision, but if they need more information, or the decision is appealed, it may take longer.

If your local authority approves, you’ll get a notice of intention to grant planning permission. If no one appeals the decision to An Bord Pleanála within four weeks of the notice, then you’ll be granted full permission and you can start your build.


How long is planning permission valid for?

Outline permission is valid for three years and full permission is valid for five years. Plenty of time to break ground and build your fortress.


Who is my local authority?

You can find a full list of local authorities in Ireland here.



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