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Award Wining Architects based in Monkstown, Co.Dublin and working in all surrounding counties.

Specialising in sensitive contemporary design for domestic extensions, renovations, new-build houses and interior design.  We also design and build custom joinery.

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Filtering by Tag: Guidance

Exempted Development Planning Guidelines for your Home Extension

Paul Mulhern

Exempted development works avoid the need to apply for planning permission

Exempted development works avoid the need to apply for planning permission

When you are planning any construction works around the house consideration of the planning requirements is critical.
The following information on works exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission will be of use to those considering extending or renovating their home.  As well as extensions it also covers change of use work, converting a garage for domestic use and building a garage, shed or garden building.

This is intended as a practical guide. It is not a definitive legal interpretation of planning law. 
For more information you should consult your local planning authority.
A full list of the Schedule 2 Exempted Development Works is available here.

If you are in any doubt as to whether your project would fall under the exempted development provisions you can contact us here to discuss.

It is also possible to request a declaration from the planning authority as to whether development is exempted from the requirement for planning permission or not.
Hofler Architects can prepare this submission for you, which includes:
    •    Application Form
    •    The correct fee
    •    Adequate information to enable assessment of the matter (such as elevational drawings/plans etc. if relevant and a description of the development)

The guidance below does not apply to Protected Structures and not all applies to houses in Architectural Conservation Areas.  Talk to us for more guidance in these cases.


1. When do I need planning permission?
Generally, you need planning permission for any development of land or property unless it is specifically exempted from this need. The term development includes the carrying out of works (building, demolition, alteration) on land or buildings, and the making of a material (i.e. significant) change of use of land or buildings.

2. What is exempted development?
Exempted development is development for which planning permission is not required. Categories of exempted development are set out in planning law.
Relevant exemptions in relation to domestic developments are outlined in this leaflet. 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 exemption is to avoid controls on developments of a minor nature, such as small extensions to houses.

3. Can a change of use be exempted development?
Yes. Where a change of use is not “material”, planning permission is not required. (See Q3)

4. What is a ‘material change of use’?
This depends on the circumstances of each situation. Generally, any change of use of a substantial nature which has an impact or potential impact on neighbours or the local community will need planning permission. The planning authority can give advice on whether it considers any particular change of use is significant enough to be “material” for planning purposes.
See Question 19 below for details of how to resolve a question whether a development is or is not exempted.

5. Can I build an extension?
Small scale domestic extensions, including conservatories, do not require planning permission if the extension is to the rear of the house and comply with the following:
• the original floor area of the house is not increased by more than 40 square metres. It is important to note that where the house has been extended before, the floor area of the extension you are now proposing and the floor area of any previous extension, including those for which you got planning permission, cannot exceed 40 square metres;
• for terraced or semi-detached houses, the floor area of any extension above ground level does not exceed 12 square metres, this includes any previous extensions carried out;
• any extension above ground floor level is at least 2m from any boundary;
• any extension does not exceed the height of the house;
• any extension does not reduce the area of private open space, reserved for the occupants of the house, to less than 25 square metres.

There are also rules about the height allowed in such an extension. These are that:
• if the rear wall of the house does not include a gable, the height of the walls of the extension must not exceed the height of the rear wall of the house;
• if the rear wall of the existing house has a gable, the walls of the extension (excluding any gable being built as part of the extension) shall not be higher than the side walls of the house;
• in the case of a flat roofed extension, the height of the highest part of the roof may not exceed the height of the eaves or parapet. In any other case, no part of the new roof may exceed the highest part of the roof of the house;
• a gable is the upper part of a wall (normally triangular), between the sloping ends of a pitched roof.

There are also rules about the required distances between windows in extensions, the facing boundary of the adjoining property and the use of the roof of the extension. These are;
• any windows proposed at ground floor level as part of an extension should not be less than 1 metre from the boundary they face;
• any windows proposed at above ground level should be not less than 11 metres from the boundary they face;
• the roof of any such extension should not be used as a balcony or roof garden.

6. Can I convert my garage to domestic use?
The conversion for use as part of a dwelling house (e.g. as a living room or bedroom) of a garage, store, shed etc. attached to the rear or side of a house is normally exempted development, subject to the 40 square metre limit and conditions as set out in Question 5 above.
Contact us if you are unsure of any of the above conditions in relation to any proposed extension.

7. Can I build a garage?
You can build 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 does not exceed 4 metres in height, (if it has a tiled or slated pitched roof), or 3 metres (if it has any other roof type). The floor area limitation for exempted development is 25 square metres.
The structure may not be lived in, used for commercial purposes or for keeping pigs, poultry, pigeons, ponies or horses. Garages, sheds etc. to the side of the house must match the finish of the house. You cannot reduce the open private space, reserved exclusively for the use of the occupants of the house, at the side or rear of the house below 25 square metres.

8. Can I build a front porch?
You can build a porch without planning permission, as long as it does not exceed 2 square metres in area and is more than 2 metres from any public road or footpath. Where the porch has a tiled or slated pitched roof, it must not exceed 4 metres in height, or 3 metres for any other roof type. A front porch within these limits is the only type of development allowed to extend beyond the front wall of the building (the building line) and still remain exempted.

9. Can I erect walls, fences and gates?
Capped walls made of brick, stone or block with a decorative finish, railings and wooden fences, but not a metal palisade or security fences, can be erected as long as they do not exceed 1.2 metres in height in front of your
house or 2 metres at the side or rear. If the wall is made of plain blocks or mass concrete it must be rendered or plastered. Gates and gateways may be built or replaced providing they do not exceed 2 metres in height. You will need planning permission if you wish to make a new or wider access to the public road.

10. Can I build a chimney and a boiler house?
A boiler house or a chimney for a central heating system, or an oil storage tank (up to 3,500 litres capacity), is exempted development.

11. Can I build paths, ponds and patios?
Car parking spaces, hard surfacing, garden paths, garden ponds and patios etc. are exempt once they are not more than 1 metre above or below existing ground level. There are no other limitations to the rear of the house but no more than 2 car parking spaces to the side or front of the house are exempt.
We recommend that you use permeable paving so that surface water can soak into the ground rather than overload the public drainage system.

12. Can I put up a television aerial?
A radio or TV aerial on your roof is exempt once it does not exceed 6 metres in height above the roof. A satellite dish up to 1 metre across and below the top of the roof is exempted development only to the rear or side of the house. Only one dish may be erected on a house. A dish to the front needs permission.

13. Can I carry out internal alteration, external repairs and maintenance?
You can carry out any internal alteration you wish as long as you do not alter the domestic use of the house.  External works of repair, maintenance and improvement such as painting or replastering do not need planning permission so long as they do not materially affect the external appearance, thus rendering the appearance inconsistent with neighbouring buildings. You may need approval for certain external alteration e.g. a new connection to a sewer. This exemption does not apply to protected structures, nor to the subdivision of a house into flats or granny flats. Planning permission must be obtained for such works.

14. Can I demolish an old building?
You can demolish without permission a building other than:
• a habitable house, or;
• a protected structure or a proposed protected structure;
• a building in a terrace, or one which is attached to another building in separate ownership.

However, it does not automatically follow that you will get permission to build a replacement.
A habitable house is a house which is:
• used as a dwelling;
• is not in use, but when last used it was a dwelling and is not derelict;
or
• is provided for use as a dwelling but has not been occupied;
• it also includes a building where the last permitted use was as a house, even if it has been in unauthorised use since then.

15. Can I store caravans and boats?
One caravan, one campervan or one boat may be stored in your garden for up to 9 months of the year as long as it is not lived in or used for business purposes.

16. Can I put up advertisements?
You do not need permission for domestic advertisements up to 0.3 square metres in area, such as your house name or number and “Beware of Dog” type signs. If selling or letting your house the size increases to 0.6 metres but only one advertisement is allowed and it may not be left up any longer than 7 days after the sale or letting.

17. Are there any limitations to exempted development?
All forms of development which are normally exempted lose this status and require planning permission if they:
• contravene a condition of a planning permission;
• endanger public safety by causing a traffic hazard or obstructing the view of road users;
• build forward of the building line (except in the case of small porches);
• involve a new or wider access to a public road;
• affect a building, feature, site, character of landscape, view of special amenity value or special interest, etc.,(check your local development plan);
• obstruct a public right of way;
• are not wholly related to the use of the house for domestic purposes;
• involve development within a special amenity area;
• involve development to a protected structure;
• include any works to, or changes to, an unauthorized structure, or one where there is an unauthorised use.
(“Unauthorised” means without the benefit of planning permission or exempted development status).

18. Do the exemptions apply to apartments?
The exemptions listed above at 5, 7,8, 10, 11, 12 and 15 do not apply in the case of flats or apartments and the provision of car parking is only exempt when to the rear.

19. Where can I get more information on exemptions?
The full list of exempted developments is set out in the Planning Acts and Regulations. The planning authority can advise on whether they consider planning permission is necessary, or not, in a particular case (See note on Declarations above). If you disagree with the planning authority on whether planning permission is needed, you can obtain a formal ruling by referring the decision to An Bord Pleanála on payment of the appropriate fee.
Further information is available directly from the Board at 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, Telephone (01) 8588100.

20. What happens if exemption limits are exceeded?
The limits must be observed and the planning authority has powers to stop the development if they are breached.  If, due to an oversight an error is made, you should apply to the planning authority for permission to retain the
work done. This is generally known as “retention” permission. It does not automatically follow that this will be granted. This fee for a retention application is 3 times more than the standard fee and you may have to take
down, alter or rectify work done, which can be costly.
Prosecution for breaches of planning law can result in heavy fines or imprisonment. You may also find it difficult to sell property which does not comply with planning requirements. If buying property check that the building
itself and any extensions or alterations comply with planning requirements or you, as the new owner, may be liable to enforcement action.

21. Should I consult the planning authority before carrying out exempted development?
If you have any doubts or queries on any planning aspect you can contact the planning authority.  Refer also to our comments on seeking a Declaration of Exemption or contact us directly.
See also Question 23 in relation to Building Regulations.  You can also contact SPACIOUS Architects for advice on all planning and development matters.

22. Should I consult any other bodies?
You should contact your local E.S.B. office if your proposed works are near existing electricity lines, if there is a question of clearance heights under power lines or if the construction work will bring anyone within reach of the electricity supply to your house. In fact, you must do so where any overhead lines come within 6 metres of the construction works.

23. Do Building Regulations Apply?
Your development must be in accordance with all applicable current building regulations. These regulations set out the basic design and construction requirements and apply to all new buildings, extensions, alterations and certain changes of use of existing buildings. Details of the building regulations and of the associated procedures are available in PL.11 - A Guide to the Building Regulations. Further information may be obtained from your local authority.
You may also need other types of approval e.g. making a new connection to a sewer. Contact your local authority in such cases.

24. Should I notify my neighbours beforehand?
This is not a legal requirement for exempted development. However, it is in your interest to let neighbours know about work you intend to carry out to your property. They are likely to be as concerned about work which might affect them as you would be if the roles were reversed. You may be able to meet some of your neighbour’s worries by modifying your proposals. Even if you decide not to change, it is usually better to have told your neighbours before the building work starts.  If you or your contractor need to go on to a neighbour’s property, you should obtain his or her consent before doing so.  Alterations or additions to your house may make it more vulnerable to burglary.

Any development that involves works to a shared or party wall will require special attention, discussion and agreement with your neighbour.

The law governing the planning system is set out in the Planning and Development Acts 2000 and 2001 and the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 to 2002.  These may be purchased from the Government
Publications Sales Office.
They are available online here

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Read an eloquent client testimonial here and what the Irish Times have said about some of our work here.  

If you are planning to extend, renovate or build a new dwelling - Talk to us about your project.  You can contact us at any time here.

Return to our homepage or view our blog articles index page.

SPACIOUS Architects, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.

Tel: 01-5585205

WORKING WITH US ON YOUR HOME EXTENSION, RENOVATION OR NEW-BUILD PROJECT

Paul Mulhern

A GUIDE FOR PUTTING TOGETHER IDEAS FOR YOUR DESIGN BRIEF.

This is the first in a series of Guidance Posts we’ll be writing.  Intended for those commencing a domestic building project who have not worked with an architect before on the design, planning and construction process - we’re beginning here with putting together the brief for your project.

 

The project brief is your wish list that will help guide the entire process.  It will assist you in bringing together the right criteria to brief us whether you are planning a renovation, extension or a new build.  This will give us all a starting point for the direction of your project, and make sure that your ideas; needs and wants are clearly communicated at the outset.  We will help you develop the brief as we work together, and often the brief may well change along the way. 

Distilling your thoughts and dreams for the project in your own time at the outset will be extremely useful and help ensure you get what you want.

Everyone is different of course and some people will have less time or inclination for this than others.  The information listed below details what you might consider in full or in part.

Remember that when we sit down with you to commence the project we will be developing this with you.  If you don’t have any idea what it is you want other than badly needed additional space, we will ensure that your needs and wants are discussed and explored thoroughly at the start of the project.

 

SOME ISSUES TO THINK ABOUT:

The type of project?  Are you planning a new-build, to knock down and re-build on a site, or to renovate and extend?  Or you may be mostly looking to make internal changes, or preparing for a complete interior makeover?

Bear in mind that even issues as fundamental as this may change when we start examining them together.  We have in the past shown clients that it would be more feasible retain an existing structure rather than demolish and rebuild, or that remodeling their house can meet their needs rather than extending. Our professional advice is centered on the client’s best interests (even if that leads to a smaller project for us).

What about the site or existing building?  The site is always a strong driver of house design – location, views, wind, sun, access, constraints, overlooking, rural, urban, suburban, etc. Get a feeling for the site by spending time on it at various times of the day. Look at neighbouring property to see if it casts shadows or affects any of your ideas.

We will do a full site analysis and measured survey once appointed so you just need to consider principals.

Are you fixing a problem or creating anew?  If you have been living in your home for a time, you may have a list of issues that you want to address. Alternatively you may be looking to add more space as an extension or to improve the energy efficiency of your house by upgrading insulation or windows and adding renewables.

If you are planning a new-build consider as many of the reasons, needs and wants and list them out.

What’s the outcome you hope to achieve?  These are your broad goals. If you have more than one, prioritize them.

For example: Long-term family home for 3 children / Live-in home for 4-7 years / Sell with capital gain & then build a dream home / build that dream home / downsize for retirement to a more manageable and energy efficient home.

General concept or style?  Think about how you could best describe what you want?  Remember, these are just ideas and can all change.

For example; Sustainable home, free flowing on the site / Light-filled contemporary design / Sensitive and modern extension to a period home /  Beautifully crafted traditional house /  Subtle, thoughtful home built on a budget.  We can help you with them all.

Your list of priorities:  This is a list of critical items that you really must have. You may also like to list approximate sizes for these areas:

4 bedrooms, 2 living areas, laundry, eat in kitchen with walk in pantry / Master en suite bathroom and walk-in wardrobe / Family open-plan area opening to garden with sun and views / Private quiet space for home office or study / Garage with storage / Room to expand in future / Guest bedroom / Double-height entry space / Courtyard with Zen fern garden / Passive House or NZEB (Near Zero Energy Building) standards.

Be sure to consider any specifics that your new build or extension must accommodate.  From particular pieces of furniture to your collection of artwork, over-size pigeonhole storage for school bags to etc.

We will work through all this with you and make suggestions.

Images and Scrapbooking:  Collect images of things you like. They can range from ‘big picture’ ideas to the fine details as inspiration. They will give us an idea of where you are coming from and what type of house and design you like instinctively.

Use a folder to collect images from magazines or save them on Pinterest and share your board with us.  Check out this 'Pinner' who is collecting inspiring images for his barn renovation project.  "A Sense of Home" is another inspiring Pinner collecting images of everything that makes a soulful home.

Remember it is Information collecting only at this stage – we will help you to find the common thread and tie it all together into a cohesive whole.

Collect your ideas and inspirations on Pinterest...

Collect your ideas and inspirations on Pinterest...

Materials:  Images you have collected will give you a guide on what materials you prefer (both inside and out). Budget will be a determining factor as to what you end up having on your house. Affordable cladding options can be made beautiful with our careful detailing, and more expensive materials can be used selectively where you will see them the most.  

Sustainability:  Items to consider that are not usually part of the look of the building, but should be considered from the beginning, are the energy rating you would ideally like to aim for.  The Building Regulations set out a ‘minimum standard’ that will be increasing in the near future.  We can advise you on the implications of designing a Passive House or NZEB house, the cost implications of these and what it is like to live in these types of houses.

Budget:  The build budget will normally exclude VAT, which is to be added to construction work at 13.5%.  Other costs to be considered include Architect, Quantity Surveyor and Engineer fees, planning ‘contributions’ (which can be significant depending on your location), Site survey, testing and certifying, interior design, utility connection fees, contingency, etc. 

We will be writing a detailed guidance post on domestic construction costs in the near future and will link to it from here.  In the meantime, feel free to contact us for further information.

Architects are not trained as cost experts, Quantity Surveyors are engaged to advise on the current material and labour rates (which change frequently). We will warn our clients if their scope is looking a little high and will help them refine it. Then after exploring early ideas with plans, elevations and sketches, we recommend that the preliminary design is costed by a QS so that we all know that the project can be built within budget or whether we need to tweak it further for before moving forwards with the firmed-up design.

What We Do:

Proposed House Extension Project in Naas, Co. Kildare.

Proposed House Extension Project in Naas, Co. Kildare.

Our particular specialties lie in creating sustainable site-specific homes and bespoke renovations and extensions that comfortably accommodate your everyday life and give families room to grow.

We also design residential new builds, alterations, extensions, interiors, from both small to large commercial and residential projects.

We design sensitive contemporary homes using materials with warmth that add soul.

We offer unique, professional tailored services to suit your brief and budget. We take client care seriously, and will work to ensure your project brings your dreams to reality within time and on budget.

We are happy to arrange one-off initial consultations with you to discuss the inception of your project, even before you have made any final decision or commitment to the project.

We usually agree a fixed fee for domestic work and will spell out clearly what is included.  Our fee agreements are flexible, open and clear and are based on the RIAI Client-Architect Agreement for Domestic Services that sets out all terms and conditions for both parties.

We are fully professionally indemnified for all of our work and undertake regular continuing professional development and remain up to date with best practice and all changes to relevant regulations.

Most of all we are friendly, approachable and love working with clients who are excited and passionate about quality architecture and homes.

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Read an eloquent client testimonial here and what the Irish Times have said about some of our work here.  

If you are planning to extend, renovate or build a new dwelling - Talk to us about your project.  You can contact us at any time here.

Spacious+Architects+Dublin.jpeg

Return to our homepage or view our blog articles index page.

 

An owner’s guide to the Irish Building Control Regulations

Paul Mulhern

This informative guide has been produced by the Society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland.

The Building Control (Amendment) Regulation 2014 now provide for a much more intensive system of monitoring and control of certain building or works from March 1st 2014. The new legislation requires mandatory design certification, lodgement of plans and particulars, builders supervision and certification, mandatory inspection by an appointed Assigned Certifier with inter-reliance on ancillary certification by key parties involved in the building process. This will affect all buildings and works requiring a Fire Safety Certificate, new dwellings and extensions to dwellings greater than 40 m2. 

The new Building Control (Amendment) Regulations were introduced in order to improve evidence of compliance with building standards in the construction industry. The Building Owner is ultimately responsible for ensuring that buildings and/or works are designed by competent Designers, and are overseen by Assigned Certifiers such as an architect and supervised by competent Builders.

The building owner needs to ensure that they engage the services of a competent architect, a competent Builder and Assigned Certifier.

Summary of Building Owner’s Obligations under The Building Control Amendment Regulations 2014 (Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland - RIAI - Guidance Note)

  1. Appoint, for almost relevant building works starting from March 2014 onward, a Design Certifier and an Assigned Certifier as well as a competent Builder.
  2. Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Design Team to design the new building in accordance the Building Regulations.
  3. Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Builder to construct the new building in accordance the Building Regulations.
  4. Give a written undertaking on a statutory form to the Building Control Authority to appoint a competent Assigned Certifier who will prepare an Inspection Plan, inspect and certify, with the Builder, that the new building, when complete, is built in accordance the Building Regulations.

RICS owner’s guide to the Irish Building Control Regulations

Contact Hofler Architects with your queries:  Contact

Health & Safety - A Guide for Homeowners Planning Work.

Paul Mulhern

This guide tells you what you need to know and do when you are having construction work done in your home. The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) developed this guide in light of new responsibilities for homeowners under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Construction) Regulations 2013. The regulations apply to construction work that you pay to get done in your home. They do not apply to DIY (Do it yourself) jobs.

The responsibilities on home owners are quite rigorous and are set out in the document.  Hofler Architects will guide you through the process and your responsibilities at the outset of a project.

What do the regulations mean?

The regulations mean that you have to appoint competent people to carry out construction work. For riskier and or longer jobs you must appoint competent project supervisors to oversee and co-ordinate safety. The role of the project supervisors of your work is very important. They co-ordinate the work of designers and contractors and make sure that the work is completed safely.

When works are being done in or near your home, you need to make sure that they don’t put you and your family at risk. The new regulations aim to reduce the number of people killed and injured while carrying out construction work. Specific requirements are set out in European law for those who hire people to carry out construction work as well as for construction workers themselves. The Construction Regulations put these requirements into Irish law. 

What do you have to do?

By law, you have to:

  • determine the competency of people doing paid construction work for you,
  • appoint project supervisors if required,
  • keep the safety file for the work as appropriate, and
  • let the Health and Safety Authority know if your project is going to take longer than 30 days or more than 500 person days (person days mean the number of days the work takes multiplied by the number of people doing the work). 

HSA Summary of what you have to do.

HSA Summary of what you have to do.