Exempted Development

Exempted development is development for which planning permission is not required.

The rules for when planning permission is required are extensive and therefore, a complete list of the specifications is not covered within this section. However, the following list can be used as a general guide.

Planning permission will not be normally needed for:

  • rear extensions where the floor area does not exceed 40 square meters.
  • terraced or semi-detached houses – extensions above ground level under 12 square metres.
  • detached houses – extensions above ground level under 20 square metres.
  • the conversion for use as part of a dwelling house of a garage, store, shed etc attached to the rear or side of a house, subject to 40 square metres limit.
  • a garage, carport, shed, greenhouse, kennel for domestic pets, etc, as long as it does not extend out in front of the building line of the house and it is less than 25 square metres.
  • front porches of less than 2 square metres.
  • one wind turbine within curtilage of a house, subject to height and other restrictions.
  • solar panels on or within the curtilage of a house or any building within curtilage of house subject to 12 square metres or 50% of roof area whichever is the less and other restrictions.
  • heat pump – ground heat system or air source system. Subject to restrictions.

There are however certain thresholds that must not be exceed:

  • any extension above ground floor level is at least 2 meters from any party boundary.
  • any extension does not exceed the height of the house.
  • any extension or new garage, shed, etc does not reduce the area of private open space to less than 25 square metres.
  • any windows proposed at ground floor level as part of an extension shall not be less than 1 metre from the boundary they face.
  • any windows proposed at above ground level shall be not less than 11 metres from the boundary they face.
  • the roof of any such extension shall not be used as a balcony or roof garden.
  • etc.

The following demolition works are not exempt:

  • demolition of a habitable house.
  • demolition of a building which forms part of a terrace of buildings.
  • demolition of a building which abuts on another building in separate ownership.

The partial demolition of a habitable house to facilitate the construction of a permitted or exempt domestic extension or porch is exempt.

Demolition of a building other than above may be exempt, unless it is a Protected Structure.

Interior works: “Development consisting of the carrying out of works for the maintenance, improvement or other alteration of any structure, being works which affect only the interior of the structure or which do not materially affect the external appearance of the structure so as to render the appearance inconsistent with the character of the structure or of neighbouring structures” shall be exempted development for the purposes of the Planning Act.

Note: Some developments have a condition included which “de-exempts” domestic extensions. This would apply in a sensitive/restricted site where the planning authority considers it necessary to have control over all extensions in the interest of residential/visual amenity.

Legal Position: If a domestic extension has been built above the exempted limits operative at time of construction and the house is being sold or re-mortgaged retention of the extension under the Planning Acts may be required by the Purchaser’s Solicitor/Lender to regularise the situation and complete the conveyance.

This is a brief summary of the regulations with regards when planning permission is required and is provided for general guidance only. For full details contact your local council planning department. The relevant Regulations and the Planning Authority should always be consulted when in doubt.

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