Guide to Planning Applications and Decisions.

You may wish to build or extend your house or a neighbourhood development is taking place that may affect you.

When Planning Permission is Required

Generally, you need planning permission for any development of land or property, unless the development is specifically exempted from this requirement. The term 'development' includes the carrying out of works (building, demolition, alteration) on land or buildings and the making of a material, that is significant, change of use of land or buildings.

Exempted Development

Exempted development is development for which planning permission is not required. Categories of exempted development are set out in planning law. There are usually certain thresholds relating to, for example, size or height. Where these thresholds are exceeded, the exemptions no longer apply. The purpose of exemptions is to avoid controls on developments of a minor nature, such as small extensions to houses.

Types of Planning Permission

There are two types of planning permission. An application may be made for:
  • Permission
  • Outline Permission

The most common type of application made is for permission, sometimes referred to as full permission. There are circumstances when you may want to make an application for outline permission, such as when you want to see whether the planning authority agrees with your proposal in principle before you go to the trouble of making detailed plans. If you obtain outline permission, you must obtain full permission before starting work. In most cases, a subsequent application for permission must be made within three years of the date of grant of outline permission. However, outline permission cannot be sought for retention of a structure, works to a protected structure or a proposed protected structure or developments requiring an environmental impact assessment, integrated pollution control licence or waste licence.

Getting Planning Permission

You get planning permission from the planning authority in your local area. A fee is payable with an application for planning permission. Fees for different classes of development are listed with the application form. You must pay the correct fee with your application, as the planning authority is prohibited by law from deciding an application until the fee is paid. Voluntary organisations may qualify for an exemption from the fee.

Length of Time

The length of time it takes to get planning permission is affected by the completeness of the application and by whether or not there is an appeal. Generally, a valid application will be dealt with by a planning authority within twelve weeks, from the date the application is made to the final granting of permission. However, the period can vary, particularly if the planning authority seeks further information from the applicant (which must be done within the first eight weeks). The planning authority then has four weeks from the day the further information is received to make a decision on the application. The following table illustrates the timescale involved in most cases.

Timescale Action
Start Notice published in paper and site notice erected
Two weeks later Latest date for lodging application
Between two and four weeks Application is validated by the planning authority.
Submissions or objections are considered.
Between five and eight weeks Planning authority issue notice of their decision on the application. (Alternatively, they may request further information.)
Four,weeks after issue of notice of decision. If no appeal is made, the planning authority will issue granting of permission, or outline permission, except where they have already indicated a decision to refuse.

An appeal may take longer than an application to decide, but An Bord Pleanála has an objective to decide appeals within 18 weeks of receipt of an appeal.

Consulting the Planning Authority

You do not have to consult the planning authority before making a planning application, but it is often advisable to do so where you are unsure of local planning policies and application procedures. Depending on the type of development, you may need to discuss connections to the public water supply and sewer. The larger the development proposal, the greater the need for prior consultation.

Making a Planning Application

Your application will be acknowledged and placed on the Planning Register in the planning authority offices, for public inspection. It will also be included on the lists of planning applications displayed in council offices, public libraries and circulated to certain interest groups. The lists may also be available on the planning authority's web site. A planning authority official will usually inspect the development site. You may be asked to make an appointment to allow access.

Public Submissions

Any person can see a copy of your application and make written submissions or observations. This must be done within five weeks of the making of the planning application and on payment of the appropriate fee, to the planning authority. Public submissions must be considered by the planning authority when determining a planning application.


Planning permission may be subject to certain conditions, which will be listed on the decision. These may require changes to your proposal. You may also be required to make a contribution to the local authority for services such as water and sewerage. These contributions differ from place to place and for different types of development. You must comply with all of the conditions attached to the permission and finish work in accordance with them.

Duration of Permission

The standard duration of planning permission is:

A) Full Planning Permission: 5 years from the date of the granting of the permission by the planning authority or An Bord Pleanála.
B) Outline Planning Permission: where outline permission has been granted by the planning authority or An Bord Pleanála, any subsequent application for permission consequent on the grant of outline permission must be made not later than 3 years beginning on the date of the grant of outline permission.

In certain circumstances, the planning authority may extend the life of a planning permission, but only where the following conditions apply:

  • Substantial works have been carried out during the lifetime of the permission.
  • The planning authority is satisfied that the development will be completed in reasonable time.
  • Other Approvals

    All new buildings, extensions, alterations and certain changes in the use of existing buildings must comply with building regulations, which set out basic design and construction requirements. Non-residential developments will probably require a Fire Safety Certificate under the regulations.

    In the event of carrying out works the section below is intended as a guide to your responsibilities as a property owner in terms of Planning legislation, building regulations, and health and safety.

    Building Regulations

    all new buildings, extensions, alterations and certain changes in the use of existing buildings must comply with building regulations, which set out basic design and construction requirements. Non-residential developments will probably require a Fire Safety Certificate under the regulations.

    Building Regulations apply to new buildings and also to existing buildings where works are being performed on a building as prescribed in the Building Regulations 1997. The primary purpose of the Building Regulations is to provide for the health, safety and welfare of people in and around buildings. In general, the Building Regulations 1997 - 2002 apply to the construction of new buildings and to extensions and material alterations to existing buildings and to certain changes of use of existing buildings. These Regulations apply to all types of construction.

    The Building Regulations are couched in broad functional requirements, or general statements of intent of the relevant regulation. For instance, the Regulations governing Access and Use of a building in Part M is stated as: "Adequate provision shall be made to enable people with disabilities to safely and independently access and use a building". Technical Guidance Documents A to M give guidance on how to comply with the Regulations. The 1991 Regulations first came into force on 1 July 1992 and were superseded by the 1997 Regulations with effect from 1 July, 1998. They apply to new buildings, extensions and material alterations to buildings.

    Certain parts of the regulations (listed A to M) apply to material change of use of a building. The second schedule lists the various parts (A to M) and the regulations within each part. The third schedule lists the types of buildings that are exempted from the Building Regulations.


    Current Technical Guidance Documents and Supporting Documentation

    Part A - Structure (2012) (pdf, 2,355kb)
    Part B - Fire Safety (2006) (pdf,1.3mb)
    Part C - Site Preparation and Resistance to Moisture (1997)(Reprint 2004)(pdf, 857kb)
    Part D - Materials and Workmanship (2013) (pdf,350 kb)
    Part E - Sound (1997)(Reprint 2005) (pdf, 642kb)
    Part E - Sound (2014) (pdf, 6,747kb)
    Part F - Ventilation (2009) (pdf, 2,166kb)
    Part G - Hygiene (2008)(Reprint July 2011)(pdf, 773kb)
    Part H - Drainage and Waste Water Disposal (2010) (pdf,1,405kb)
    Part J - Heat Producing Appliances 2014 (pdf, 2,872kb)
    Part K - Stairways, Ladders, Ramps and Guards 2014 (pdf, 240kb)
    Part K Supplementary Information for Stairs (pdf, 612kb)
    Part L - Conservation of Fuel and Energy - Dwellings (2011) (pdf, 985kb)
    Part L - Conservation of Fuel and Energy - Buildings Other Than Dwellings (2008) (pdf, 2,425kb)
    Part M - Access and Use (2010) (pdf, 3,442kb)
    Part M - Access and Use (2010) - Flowchart (pdf, 497kb)
    Part M - Access and Use (2010) - Building Control Officer Training Manual (pdf, 21,037kb)
    The onus is on the owner of a building to ensure compliance with Building regulations in force at time of construction.

    Planning permission

    You should note that planning permission may be required for certain works, please always make appropriate enquiries from your local planning department or a suitably qualified professional before you start.

    Health and Safety

    From a health and safety perspective homeowners now have duties and responsibilities when carrying out works, full details are available at

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