Applying for planning retention

Jose Manuel

New Member
Messages
1
Hi,

We have received a planning enforcement following the building of an extension to the side and back of our end-of-terrace house.
The main issues are that the extension is visible from the street and that we are temporarily renting it.
The city council letter says that an unauthorised development is being used as a separate, self contained unit.
The said extension is attached to our house with a door that communicate (also has a door that takesit to the side entrance) , it has kitchen and bathroom.
The architect that we got in touch with, says that there's nothing to worry about, and with retention we'll be fine, an engineer that I contacted came back to me and after I explained the situation, he highly suggested to remove the kitchen.
There's little communication with the architect as we asked to see the letter that he already sent to city council and he didn't send it, I asked if we should take the kitchen away, and again says no worries, I would like to relax but it's first time it happens to us, we are not Irish and didn't know was wrong, the extension doesn't exceed the permitted size, even the builders and interior designer weren't aware that could be a problem because the extension is visible from the street, we're not sure if we keep this going or we should ask to another specialist on retention.
 

Steven Barrett

Registered User
Messages
3,859
Ask someone who has knowledge of the planning process, what is allowed and what isn't. An architect will most likely have knowledge of getting approval but they may not have experience of the nuances of it, what is allowed, what isn't and why. Given failure to get retention will be knocking the whole thing down and removing it, paying someone with expert knowledge will be money well spent.
 

cremeegg

Registered User
Messages
3,509
From the details you provide 'an extension to the side and back of our end-of-terrace house' it is highly unlikely that you could get permission for a self contained unit. If you apply for retention and are refused you will be in some difficulty.

I suggest that you write to the council and point out that the extension is not a self-contained unit and invite them to inspect. From what you say the only evidence that it is a self contained unit is the kitchen. If the inspector tells you verbally that the unit is self contained at that stage you may need to remove the kitchen and invite them to inspect again. Take out the kitchen units maybe put in a sofa.

Although an inspector does not need your permission the matter has arisen now and will not go away by itself.

As for the 'visible from the street' aspect. I know nothing about that.
 

Leo

Moderator
Messages
12,517
Note that generally to get permission for a self-contained unit you need to go one of two ways, seek permission for an attached 'granny flat', or permission for a fully separate dwelling.

To get permission for a granny flat, you will need to demonstrate that there is a need to house a direct relative who still maintains some independence but needs to be close to family. It will be a condition of the permission that you will not be permitted to rent out the unit or have non-family members staying there, and that once the care need is no more, that you will agree to merge the unit back into the main house.

Going down the separate dwelling route is a lot more compex as all services need to be separated out, poperties need to be updated / added to the registry, etc..
 

Julius

Registered User
Messages
46
We have received a planning enforcement following the building of an extension to the side and back of our end-of-terrace house.

The architect that we got in touch with, says that there's nothing to worry about, and with retention we'll be fine
I have no expertise in this area but I have been looking at permissions granted recently and it seems to me that the Planners are allowing things that they wouldn't have in the past. So your architect may be right.
  • Did you actually apply for planning permission or did you just go ahead and build?
  • If you did apply for planning then did the plans submitted to the Council have kitchen included? It needn't be a diagram of a kitchen but is the word "kitchen" on the plans?
  • Do your tenants have to enter the main house entrance or is there a separate entrance to the extension/apartment?
  • Was your planning application granted permission and if so were there any conditions attached to the approval that you subsequently ignored?
  • Were there any objections (called "Observations") to your planning application?
  • Do you know if the enforcement letter you received was due to a neighbour contacting the Planning Enforcement section of the city council?
  • Has your architect actually had or sought or intends to seek a meeting with the council?
  • Has he had success in the past in getting approval for similar developments where a family home is turned into a two unit dwelling house?
 
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Leo

Moderator
Messages
12,517
Did you actually apply for planning permission or did you just go ahead and build?
If the enforcement action was based on the extension being visible from the street, then it's safe to assume they were relying on Exempted Development rules, perhaps on poor advice.
 

LS400

Registered User
Messages
642
the extension is visible from the street and that we are temporarily renting it.

I don't buy that "Temporarily stuff"
You've been caught out. You built and extension, your renting it out to make a few bob. No harm if you can do that.within the rules.

I suggest that you write to the council and point out that the extension is not a self-contained unit

But it is a self contained unit.

What your doing is trying to circumvent the rules and regulations within the building industry, so lets call it what it is.

And... if you are renting it out, I hope they see it for what it is.
 

Julius

Registered User
Messages
46
You've been caught out. You built and extension, your renting it out to make a few bob. No harm if you can do that.within the rules.
If you go onto the Councils website you will see actual cases where retention was granted to works that would, based on the regulations, have been refused if a planning application had been made. In the current climate of desire for additional housing and for home offices the Council must be under a lot of pressure to approve things that in the past would not get approval. This may be why the OP's architect said "no worries". If the Council have allowed standards to drop then you have to expect people will take advantage of that. Building regulations are circumvented successfully in lots of cases because the Council doesn't take building regs into account when reaching a decision on a planning application. However, the Planning Enforcement section of the Council will take the building regs into account but they are only brought in on the case when a neighbour or somebody lodges a complaint. They will give a few weeks notice of their intention to visit the house to view the works. The house owner could remove the offending elements (in this case the kitchen) before the visit and then re-install it later. Even if he doesn't remove the kitchen, will the Enforcement section order the extension to be removed? I doubt it. I agree with your comment of "no harm if you can do that within the rules" but this is Ireland, where those who follow the rules are at a disadvantage.
 

Prosper

Registered User
Messages
248
The architect that we got in touch with, says that there's nothing to worry about, and with retention we'll be fine

Did the architect give you drawings/plans for the extension before you built or did you only seek the architects opinion after the extension was built?

There's little communication with the architect as we asked to see the letter that he already sent to city council and he didn't send it,

When you say "he didn't send it", do you mean he hasn't yet given you a copy of what he sent to the city council or do you mean that he didn't send anything to the council?

The suggestion in one of the posts above, that due to the current climate around housing, you might get retention for turning a house into two self contained living units is absolutely wrong. Even if you did succeed (which you won't), the neighbours that called Planning Enforcement would appeal it to An Bord Pleanála and ABP will uphold the objectors appeal because, apart from the second kitchen and separate door access, they come down hard where the front streetview has be altered. This would be the case even if you had sought and received planning permission from the council.
 
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Julius

Registered User
Messages
46
Can you back up that claim? Show us examples of successful applications that clearly breach building regs.
Leo, if you contact the Council and ask them if they if they consider the building regulations when reaching a decision, I think you'll be told that responsibility for compliance is with the applicant. The system is one of self-certification. Drawings submitted with a planning application are not looked at by the planners for compliance with Building Regulations because they are not construction drawings. If the OP had not built the extension to the side that meant it was visible from the front streetview and only built to the rear then nobody would have been any the wiser regarding a separate second dwelling unit, although without the side extension I assume it would have been too small to rent out as an apartment. Building to the side enabled somebody to successfully involve Planning Enforcement and, as I understand it, it's only then that building regulations will be considered. Even then, I'm not so sure the regulations would be applied strictly.
The current system leaves it wide open for people to get approval for extensions/attic conversions etc and then put in what they like (eg. another kitchen) and not adhere to building regulations (eg. ceiling height/ventilation/stairway steepness and headroom) and fire regulations (eg. attic stairway rising from existing bedroom not being separated from the bedroom with a fire resisting enclosure.)
Once the works are complete and breaches of regulations are not visible from the outside then I'm unsure if Planning Enforcement will become involved based on the suspicions of a neighbour that the house has been converted into two units.
 
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Alkers86

Registered User
Messages
204
But it is a self contained unit.
If there's a door into the main dwelling it's not. This would even be permitted under the rent a room legislation.

I think the main issue will be regarding the visibility of the extension from the front - this may require planning.

You do not need planning permission to avail of the rent-a-room scheme, be that in your new extension or an upstairs bedroom.
 

Leo

Moderator
Messages
12,517
Leo, if you contact the Council and ask them if they if they consider the building regulations when reaching a decision, I think you'll be told that responsibility for compliance is with the applicant. The system is one of self-certification. Drawings submitted with a planning application are not looked at by the planners for compliance with Building Regulations because they are not construction drawings.

While they obviously can't make any declaration in terms of compliance from the limited details provided, it is not correct to state that they do not take building regs into account when reaching a decision on a planning application. You frequently see further information requests seeking details of how a proposed development will comply with various aspects of the regs.
 

Julius

Registered User
Messages
46
it is not correct to state that they do not take building regs into account when reaching a decision on a planning application. You frequently see further information requests seeking details of how a proposed development will comply with various aspects of the regs.
Any further information requests (or permissions granted with conditions) that I've seen have been regarding compliance with certain guidelines in the Dublin City Development Plan and not with building regulations.
 
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