How to Plan Your Irish Home Extension in 10 simple steps

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Always Check Planning Permission

Whilst some structures and extensions don’t need planning permission, depending on size and scope, it’s always worth checking just in case you’ve missed something key.

For example, if you’re in the Republic of Ireland, any extension with a floor area greater than 40m2 requires planning permission, and in Northern Ireland anything with an eave height of 3m of more is restricted.

If in doubt, ask your local authorities. You’ll need a Section 5 Declaration if you’re in the Republic of Ireland, or a Certificate of Lawful Development in Northern Ireland to confirm that you do not require further planning permission.

Stay on top of Insurance

It is possible that your home insurance covers construction work, and may even cover site insurance during the build and extension process.

You should also check the insurance details of any contractors entering your property, especially public and employee liability.

Whatever you choose to do with your house, make sure you have adequate home insurance. With help of Irish home insurance quotes comparison website like theaa.ie, you can easily find a competitive quote, tailored to satisfy your unique requirements.

Confirm Your Budget

The key factor when doing any building work is budget. If you can’t stay within budget, you’re not going to complete on time, if at all.

Make sure that your finances are secure, and any other costs are taken into account. Bear in mind that build costs are only part of the equation, you’ve also got to pay for insurance, planning fees and more. Have a plan in place for all of this before you lay the first brick.

Design is Important

Whether it’s small or large, design is an all important component of your extension. Things that can seem relatively small at the design stage, for example facing and windows, can affect the entire use and feel of a room, like whether your kitchen has access to the morning sun for your breakfast.

You should commission an architectural designer to design the plans for your house, taking everything into consideration. You may also need a structural engineer if you have specifics needs, for example load bearing beams or energy usage statistics.

Confirm The Regulations

Just because it’s a renovation doesn’t mean building regulations don’t apply.

Follow all the guides laid out by your local government, and make sure you comply with anything your building and design team lay out for you. 

Know The Look, and Choose the Finishes

Finding the correct finishes, i.e. the doors, windows, tiling, surfaces can take a surprising amount of time, especially if you’re trying to stay within budget.

It’s best to have ideas, if not finalised finished, that you can give to your build team before they start. Not only does this help you stay on budget during the design stage, it can help your workmen with their side of the deal, too.

Stay in Line with Building Control

If your build requires planning permission, there are several more steps you will need to follow.

In the Republic of Ireland, you are required to file a Commencement Notice with the Building Control Management System, just as expected for new builds.

In Northern Ireland, Building Control must be advised either way, whether you require planning permission or not.

Any structural and insulation work has to be verified by Building Control, unless it follows one of several specific exemptions, which include:

  • Ground level porches of a size less than 5sqm
  • Conservatories of less than 30sqm with at least 75% of the roofing and 50% of the wall made of translucent material, e.g. glass or perspex.
  • Non-attached garages which are less than 30sqm in size, and also more than 1m from all other buildings and roadways

Make sure your Build is Health and Safety Reliant

Even if your project poses no safety risks, if it will last longer than 30 days, the correct authorities have to be notified, as well as appointing health and safety officers and keeping appropriate logs.

Confirm everything with your Neighbours

Whilst it’s not a necessary step to advise your neighbours, we always recommend it, for several reasons.

Firstly, it’s just good manners, and keeping your neighbours sweet through days of loud noises is a goof thing.

Second, if they’ve lived in the area longer than you, your neighbours might know a thing or two that could prove useful, for example about previous work done.

Start Building

With all of the above done, you’re ready to start building. An extension follows the same general principles as any build, so from here it should be (hopefully) plain sailing.

Good luck.

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