Planning Permission Queries

Can I build my project without planning or not?

Often times the need to get planning permission can be off-putting for clients when looking at a renovation. The rush to get stuck in and be delayed, by the need to have that all-important piece of paper granting planning before you can start work can be a bug bear.

This can be frustrating and at times off-putting as it sometimes takes time, money and patience to get planning permission. What’s more, there’s always the chance that permission may not be granted. that’s why it’s important that you employ an architect that will guide you through the process with a design that gets you what you want and need.

The upside is that not all projects will need planning permission. Whether or not you will require permission or not will depend on what it is you plan. Specifically, it depends on the size of any extension, as smaller additions to your home’s footprint can be completed without the say-so of your local planning office. You may extend your home, convert a garage to living space or add on a front porch, all without the need to go through the planning system if the works are within that which is set down in the exempted development regulations.

How big of an extension can I build without planning?

There are particular rules about how far you can extend your house. The main points to remember are:

  • the extension should not increase the original floor area of the house by more than 40 square metres
  • the extension must be to the rear of the house
  • a two-storey extension is only exempt where the first-floor element is at least 2 metres from your boundary.
  • different ratios apply for two-storey extensions for detached and semi-detached extensions.
  • the extension should not reduce the open space at the back of the house to under 25 metres squared
  • the extension should not be higher than the original house itself.

For properties that have been extended before, there are other rules to take into account. Simply put the total floor space of the new extension, combined with that of the old extension to the original building, should not exceed 40 square metres. When you have previously applied for planning permission, this generally negates your right to any further exempted development.

When planning to build a porch, it needs to be kept under two square metres and at least two metres from the road, pavement or footpath. Keeping the roof under 4m for a pitched roof or 3m for a flat roof will keep the build within the exempted development regulations.

Garage conversions and planning regulations

An unused garage which is attached to the house can be converted into living space once the floor area is within the 40 sq.m rule. This may involve altering the front elevation of the garage by replacing a door with a window, in this instance, this can be classed as exempt and not requiring planning permission.

You can also build a new garage or shed without needing to apply for planning permission. Your new garage or shed must not extend beyond the front line of the house and must not be higher than four metres. You must also have to meet other conditions, such as:

  • keep the extra floor space of all extensions to under 25 square metres in total
  • matching the finish of the new garage to the house
  • ensuring the new garage does not reduce the open space around the house to under 25 square metres
  • ensuring no one lives in the new garage, nor are any animals kept in it.

Applying for Planning Permission

If your ambitions are grander than that set out above in the exempted development regulations, then the only thing to do will be to apply for planning permission. However, this doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or frustrating process if you employ an experienced architect to undertake the process for you. In most cases, planning is approved reasonably quickly and without any issues.

One of the fists things to do is to speak to your local authority’s planning department for advice. Talking to the planning officer can tell you whether or not your application is likely to be approved and will save you time and expense. The planning office can also advise on what you can do to make it more likely that permission will be granted. If you employ an architect they will be in a position to do this for you or advise you on what the planners will and will not support.

The process generally takes eight weeks for the initial decision to be made, this can be extended if the local authority needs for more information. Once a decision is made a further and final decision is made 4 weeks after this, so the total time being 12 weeks minimum.

The steps to applying for planning permission:

1. Prepare plans, elevations and site plans which will demonstrate what you want to build. This is where you will need an architect to design a solution and prepare your application drawings.

2. Notice of the intention to apply for permission must be given. This is done in two ways. You must place a notice in the local newspaper and a clear notice up on the site itself. The site notice must stay up for at least five weeks from the date the planning application is received.

3. Prepare and fill in a planning application form and submit it to the planning office along with a record of the notices and six copies of the planning drawings and any supporting reports or documents. This must be done no later than two weeks after your newspaper and site notices are put up. The local authority’s planning officer can give you detailed advice on how to complete a planning application properly however if you have never done it before it’s unlikely you will be able.

4. Pay the application fee. The amount can vary depending on the project. For example, the current fee for a house extension is €34, while the fee to build a house is €65.

You should receive a receipt of your application, then you’ll need to wait for the local authority to get in touch. Remember that you can’t start building anything until permission is formally granted which will take at least a few months.

When granted planning permission lasts for five years. This is the amount of time you have to start work on your project. If the period expires, you may have to apply for permission again or to extend your permission by 5 years.

At JEArchitecture we work on projects that require planning and or projects that are exempt from planning all the time. We will work with you on your project to bring it within your brief, budget and planning constraints to deliver on your dreams, get in touch now for a consultation.