The Planning Process Frequently Asked Questions

All development of land or property requires Planning Permission unless it is classed as Exempted Development. 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 to the use of land or buildings. See our Planning Permission section for fuuther, more detailed information.

Very few people go through the planning process without availing of the services of an Architect or other appropriately qualified individuals (referred to from here on as an Agent). A planning consultant (agent) can guide you through the planning application process and can work with your architect where necessary to deliver a high quality and compliant planning application. Employing a good agent guarantees a better chance of a positive result in a shorter timescale. Through their expertise, he/she will know what is required in a planning application reducing the need for a Further Information Request.

For a list of newspapers in the different districts that are acceptable for publishing planning notices, please see our Newspaper Notice document. The application must be lodged with the Planning Department within two weeks of the publication date of the newspaper.

The Site Notice must be securely erected and located in a conspicuous position, be easily visible and be legible by persons using the public road. The site notices must be of a durable and weatherproofed material.

The site notice must be placed on site for five weeks from the date of receipt of the planning application. If it becomes illegible or is removed, it must be replaced immediately as failure to do so will delay the processing of the planning application. If a subsequent planning application is made on the same site within six months of the first application, the site notice must be in yellow.

A copy of the site notice must be submitted with the planning application. Here are some links to a blank site notice and a guide to completing it.

Site Location Map (6 copies) - The Site Location Map must be marked or coloured so as to clearly identify the land or structure to which the application relates and the boundaries thereof. The Site Location Map must be on an Ordnance Survey map with the number of the Ordnance Survey map clearly indicated, together with the north point. The scale of the map should be not less that 1:1000 in built-up areas and 1:1250 in all other areas.

Site/Layout Map (6 copies) - The site boundary should be clearly marked in red and the plan should show buildings, boundaries, septic tanks and percolation areas, bored wells, services and other features in the vicinity of the land or structure. In this regard, all features within 100m of the proposed development should be indicated. The position of the site notice should also be shown. The scale of the layout map should not be less than 1:500. The site boundaries cannot be changed once the application has been validated.

Plans & Drawings (6 copies) (except for Outline Permission ) - Plans and Drawings should contain detailed structural drawings of floor plans, elevations and sections and such other particulars as are necessary to describe the works or structure to which the application relates. These must be drawn to a scale not less than 1:200.

The mapping required for the submission of a planning application can be obtained from the Ordinance Survey Ireland (OSI) website or from an OSI mapping agent.

E.C. Directive 85/337/EEC, as amended by E.C. Directive 97/11/EC, requires that certain public and private projects require an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before development consent is given. The type of projects listed in Annex I and Annex II of the Directive include factories, chemical installations and pharmaceutical plants, textile, leather, wood and paper industries, intensive pig-rearing and poultry installations, etc. The European Communities (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations, 1989 to 1999 were made by the then Minister for the Environment and Local Government incorporating the E.C. Directive into Irish law. These Regulations have been subsumed into the Planning & Development Regulations, 2001 which list the developments which must be accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Consultation with the Planning Authority is advisable prior to submitting an application for permission where an EIS is or may be required. Where an EIS is applicable, six copies of an Environmental Impact Statement must be submitted as part of the application.

Natura 2000 sites are those identified as sites of Community importance designated under the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora) i.e. a Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), or the Birds Directive (Council Directive 79/409/EEC on the Conservation of Wild Birds) i.e. Special Protection Areas (SPAs).

The Habitats Directive requires Appropriate Assessments (AA) to be undertaken where a plan or project, which may not be directly linked to a Natura Site but which may give rise to significant effects upon a Natura 2000 site. Therefore where a proposed development is likely to have adverse effects on the integrity of a ‘non-priority’ site of international importance for nature conservation, permission should only be granted where there is no alternative solution and where there are imperative reasons of overriding public interest in favour of granting permission, including those of a social or economic nature.

For any works proposed to be carried out to Protected Structures (PS) as identified on the Record of Protected Structures (RPS) or proposed Protected Structures, a detailed Architectural Conservation Impact Report and associated Method Statement shall accompany a planning application.

Where planning applications involve works to or redevelopment of a building or structure identified on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) the Planning Authority may require an Architectural Heritage Impact Assessment to be prepared commensurate to the nature and scale of the proposal.

Where development involves Architectural Conservation Areas (ACAs), the Planning Authority may require an Architectural Impact Assessment to be carried out in order to ensure the protection from inappropriate actions which could materially affect the external character.

For development within Archaeological Sites and in Zones of Archaeological Potential, the Planning Authority will have regard to the view and recommendation of the National Monuments Service and other interested bodies, such as the Heritage Council.

Planning Authorities must ensure that every individual dwelling that is granted planning permission in an unsewered area has first undergone a site suitability assessment using the methodology set out in the EPA Code of Practice and the site assessment has fully met the required standards, as overseen by an appropriately trained, qualified and accountable assessor and designer. In accordance with Article 22(2)(c) of the Planning & Development Regulations 2006, applicants are required to submit the site assessment at the time of making the application. Local Authorities no longer publish lists of approved site assessors.
An applicant may at any time prior to the decision date, withdraw their application by submitting a letter indicating same and signed by the person to whom the application related to. In such instances, no decision in respect of the application is deemed to have been made and internal reports are therefore not available for public viewing.

The Planning Authority may request additional information in order to adjudicate on the planning application through a Further Information Request. In this case, the applicant has 6 months to respond to this request. The Planning Authority must make its decision within 4 weeks of the date of receipt of a full response to the request.

In some cases a Request for Clarification of the further information submitted may be made and in this case the applicant must submit clarification within 6 months from the date of the initial Further Information Request. In cases where an Environmental Impact Statement has been submitted as part of the application, the timescale for making a decision on foot of the further information received is 8 weeks, rather than the usual 4 weeks.

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 has then four weeks from the day the further information is received to make a decision on the application. /

The timescale of the decision process is dependent upon the validity and completeness of the application and the possibility of the local authority decision being subsequently appealed to An Bord Pleanála. There is a time limit of eight weeks from when a valid application is lodged to a decision being given by the planning authority. The planning authority may issue a decision on the application (grant or refuse permission) or they may request further information. If the Planning Authority requests further information, it has four weeks from the day the further information is received to make a decision on the application (unless the application is accompanied by an Environmental Impact Statement, in which case, the time for making a decision is extended to 8 weeks. Any appeal of the decision must be submitted within four weeks of the local authority decision to An Bord Pleanála which has an objective to decide appeals within 18 weeks of receipt.

The following list illustrates the timescale adhered to for most planning applications.

  • Notice published in newspaper and site notice erected.
  • Application must then be lodged within 2 weeks of publication of the newspaper notice.
  • The application is then validated by the planning authority as soon as possible. The current timescale for this is within 5 days.
  • Submissions/observations can be then submitted within the first 5 weeks of receipt of an application.
  • Submissions/objections (submitted in the first 5 weeks) are then considered, if any. The Planning Authority issues notice of its decision on the application within 8 weeks of receipt of application or alternatively, it may request further information.
  • The Planning Authority may request Further Information or clarification of Further Information which must be responded to within 6 months (this can be extended by 3 months at the discretion of the Planning Authority.
  • The Planning Authority issues notice of its decision on the application within 4 weeks of receipt of the Further Information (or 4 weeks from the receipt of the public notices if Further Information is significant). (Time period is extended to 8 weeks in the case of an application accompanied by an EIS).
  • A decision can be appealed to An Bord Pleanála within 28 days.
  • After the 4 weeks, if the decision is not appealed to An Bord Pleanála, plus 3 days, then the Planning Authority will issue a final grant of permission.
  • The standard duration of a planning permission is:

  • Full Planning Permission: 5 years from the date of the granting of the permission by the Planning Authority or An Bord Pleanála.
  • 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, (or such longer period, not exceeding 5 years, as may be specified by the Planning Authority). The outline permission will cease to have effect at the end of the above period unless the subsequent application for permission consequent on the grant of outline permission is made within that period.
  • In accordance with Section 28 of the Planning & Development Act 2000 as amended and regulations made there under, the Planning Authority may, in certain circumstances extend the life of a planning permission.

    You can apply to the Planning Authority for an extension of duration of a planning permission within one year from, and prior to the expiry date of the permission. Please note that if your development is not substantially complete and includes a waste water treatment system and if your permission was assessed prior to the implementation of the EPA Code of Practice, then your application for extension of duration will not be considered favourably unless an application to upgrade the septic tank/waste water treatment system in accordance with the EPA Code of Practice is submitted to and granted by the Planning Authority prior to submitting an application for an extension of duration.

    The application form for an extension of duration is available here.

    Ireland's planning system was introduced on the 1st October 1964, when "The Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1963" came into effect.

    We are unique among European countries in that we have an independent third party planning appeals system which is operated by An Bord Pleanála.

    The Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government is responsible for planning legislation. For more information and to download the relevant planning legislation documents, please visit here.

    On receipt of a final grant of permission, should you wish to commence development you are required to lodge a Commencement Notice.

    Please note that in accordance with the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations S.I. 9 of 2014, from 1st March 2014 new Commencement Notice procedures apply.

    Full Commencement Notice
    The new requirement will apply to:

  • the design and constructions of a new dwelling
  • an extension of >40 metres squared to a dwelling
  • works which require a Fire Safety Certification

  • Short Commencement Notice
    A ‘Short’ Commencement Notice may be submitted for the following categories of development:

    (a) Material Alteration of:
  • Shops
  • Offices
  • Industrial Units

  • Provided that a Fire Safety certificate is NOT required. (b) An extension to a dwelling involving a floor area less than 40 square meters. As part of the new system applications will be asked to use a new Online Commencement Notice Lodgement System which is hosted at https://www.localgov.ie/en/BCMS

    Yes, help is available from the following sources.

  • Planning application form guidelines (attached to the form)
  • Our staff at the Planning Offices in the Menapia Building, Waterford City or the Civic Offices, Dungarvan can assist you
  • You can use an Agent - employed by you to prepare and submit the application.
  • Once a planning application is lodged, it is checked by the Planning staff to confirm that all necessary forms, plans and maps have been submitted. If the application form is not fully completed, necessary documentation is absent or incorrect information is submitted, the application will be deemed invalid and will be returned to the applicant. To avoid this, please ensure that each section of the application from is appropriately completed and signed, entering n/a (not applicable) where appropriate. Also, please ensure that all necessary additional documentation is enclosed with the application form. For assistance in completing the planning forms, guidelines are included in the Planning Application Form pack.

    Once it is confirmed that an application is compliant with the statutory requirements and that all necessary documentation has been submitted, the application is considered valid. The 5-week submission period and the 8 week decision period commences from the date of receipt of the valid application.

    The Planning Authority welcomes pre-validation meetings with a validation officer for larger applications. Typical applications which may require a pre-validation meeting are applications for housing estates, applications which require an EIS, etc.

    You can check if there is an existing planning permission on the site or previous applications made on/adjacent to the site using the online map or text based Planning Enquiries System.

    Alternatively, you may also apply for the Planning Authority to carry out the planning history search on your behalf. To avail of this service, on the receipt of a request letter, an accompanying site location map (which clearly identifies the extent of the site) and the prescribed fee (€100 payable by cheque or credit card) you will be issued with a planning history report for the site within 4 weeks.

    You should ensure that you have answered the following questions:

  • Should I initially seek advice from the Planning Department on my proposal/application before submitting the application by using the Pre-planning consultation process?
  • Am I making the correct type of planning application – i.e. permission/outline permission/permission consequent/retention/extension of duration?
  • Have I completed all sections of the application form(s)?
  • Have I paid the correct fee?
  • Is my Site Notice adequate, positioned correctly on site and legible?
  • Is my Newspaper Notice adequate, in an accepted newspaper and within the time limit?
  • Have I included a Supplementary Application Form for Rural Housing? (Only applicable for a dwelling in a rural area).
  • Have I included all necessary information (e.g. Industrial or Agricultural Development Form(s), Site Suitability Assessment etc)?
  • Have I (or my agent) signed the form?
  • Is my site accessible for inspection by a member of the Planning Staff?
  • Are the onsite percolation trial holes available for inspection (for developments which propose an onsite wastewater treatment solution).
  • Do I need to meet any other non-planning application requirements? (e.g. Consent to connect to a public sewer, way leave agreements, Exemption Certificate under Section 97 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 / Part V Social and affordable housing).