What development is exempt under Irish planning laws?

Certain works on property can be carried out without the need for planning permission. These works are called “exempt development”.

How do you know what is exempt and what requires planning permission?

Sources of planning exemption

There are two main sources of exemption from the requirement for planning permission in Irish law:

  1. Section 4 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000
  2. The Planning and Development Regulations, 2001-statutory instrument 600/2001

Section 4 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000

This section is divided into two parts with part one setting out the main categories of exempted development. These include

  • Agricultural development
  • Development by a county council in its own functional area
  • Development which affect only the interior of the structure or which do not materially affect the external appearance of the structure; this exemption allows for the conversion of an attic without the need for planning permission, provided there are no dormer windows or velux windows to the front or side of the house
  • Development by an urban district council

Part two of this section provides that the Minister may make regulations classifying development as exempt.

That is how the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 came about. Statutory instrument 600/2001 lists all developments that are exempt, and the conditions attaching to ensure they are exempt.

Planning and Development Regulations, 2001-SI 600/2001

The developments are set out in SCHEDULE 2 in two columns.

Column 1 describes the type of development that is exempt. Column 2 sets out the conditions and limitations.

Exempt developments, subject to the conditions and limitations, include

  • An extension to the rear of a house
  • Conversion of a garage, store, shed
  • A chimney, boiler house, oil storage tank
  • A shed, garage, store, greenhouse
  • Television aerials
  • A fence, gate, wall
  • Landscaping works including a path, drain or pond
  • A porch
  • Keeping or storing a caravan, campervan, boat within the curtilage of the house
  • Sundry works including plastering, capping walls, construction of a fence or wall, a gate or gateway
  • Painting
  • Etc.

It cannot be emphasised enough that these developments are only exempt If they fall within the conditions and limitations in column 2 of the schedule.

These regulations also deal with

  • Change of use
  • Temporary structures
  • Development for industrial purposes
  • Development by statutory bodies
  • Advertisements
  • Rural
  • Agricultural structures
  • Classes of use


The value of any property can be enhanced or diminished by its development. When you are buying (or selling) you will also need to be mindful of the need for the property, and any development, to have been carried out in accordance with the planning laws.

The appropriate certificates of compliance with building regulations and planning permission are essential documents of title.