Knowing what official steps you need to achieve to have your dream timber home built is probably the most important stage after securing the land. If you’ve purchased land with planning permission to build a dwelling, it doesn’t always mean that you can start building – you’ll still need to check. The current Irish planning permission rules were first introduced in 1964, following the implementation of the Planning and Development Act 1963. Without going into too much detail, this basically means that in Ireland there are two distinctive sets of rules that can be applied to log cabins.
Under 25sq meters
If you are building a cabin that is under 25 square meters, and it doesn’t have a permanent or concrete base and it is less that 3.9 meters high – the great news is that this doesn’t require planning permission. This building must also be located within your current grounds and it’s therefore assumed, that this is a non-dwelling property. This rule is also applied to garden houses, sheds etc.
Over 25 sq meters
Any construction that will be over 25 square meters and has a permanent concrete base, does require planning permission. If you building is over 25 square meters it is assumed the wooden structure is intended for living in. Even if you are planning on building a storage shed, if it is going to be over 25 square meters, you will need permission to build it. Do not start any building work or foundation laying without ensuring that you have the correct permissions in place.
The Grey Area
The 25 square meters rule generally applies to structures where they are over or under these requirements, and where the building will have a permanent base. However, some of these can fall into a murky grey area. For example, if your log cabin doesn’t have a permanent concrete base, but it is over 25 square meters then you may not need to get any planning permission. However, this will need to be fully checked out, because the rules aren’t always clear about this aspect.
If you fail to get planning permission to build your log cabin for any reason, then you can appeal it. In Ireland, planning permission appeals and disputes are investigated by an independent third party. The Planning Appeals Board, or the Am Bord Pleanala, have the authority to overturn decisions made by councils and rule in favour of timber home constructions.
Exceptions to the Rule
You can bypass the planning permission requirements if the log home is considered to be an extension to your existing house. It has to join onto your home to be considered an extension. Under this exception to the standard 25 square meter rule, the extension can’t be greater than 40 square meters in floor space, higher than original house and can’t have any walls greater than 2m in height. This would apply if your log cabin was an attached garage or annexe area to your home for relatives and guests to stay in.