Do I Need Planning Permission For A Home Office?

Since 1998, Shomera has been handling planning inquiries for our home offices. In the beginning, there was significant confusion: “Is it exempt due to being classified as a temporary structure?” The answer is no, as it is not temporary. Fortunately, there is now greater awareness of what is allowed and what is not permitted.

If you’re thinking about setting up a home office as a Garden Room in Ireland, you may be concerned about getting planning permission for your new space. We all know that the planning application process in some situations can be time-consuming and expensive, but did you know that by and large home offices are exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission? 

The Planning Act (Statutory Instrument) has provisions for homeowners to undertake a certain amount of development on their property without the requirement of planning permission. The exemptions attempt to strike a balance between the rights of the individual homeowner and the impact of development activities on neighbours and residential communities.

Homeowners are permitted to add a small porch to the front of their house, add an extension to the rear of their house, and build a structure such as a Garden Room on their property once certain conditions are met.  

Here are the conditions that must be met for your home office to be exempt from planning permission in Ireland.

1. Size Restrictions

To be exempt from planning permission, your home office should not exceed 25 square meters (268 square feet). How big is that? A living room in a semi-detached house will typically be 14-18 SQM, whereas a small bedroom will be 6-9 SQM. It’s quite a generous amount of space. In terms of location, your home office must be located at the rear of your property. This is to ensure that the office doesn’t take up too much space on your property, and that it’s well away from the street-facing facade of your home. If you have a side garden, you can locate your Garden Room there but there is an additional condition: The finish of the wall facing the street must conform to the finish on the house. The maximum height for a pitched roof is 4 metres (about 13 feet), and 3 metres for other types of roofs. Wisely you are required to retain some private open space (sometimes referred to as private amenity space), so you can enjoy the open air in the privacy of your own property.  The requirement is to retain a minimum of 25 SQM (not a typo, the same size as the maximum Garden Room size).

2. No Obstruction Of Public Views

Your home office should not obstruct or obscure any public views, such as views of mountains or other landmarks. This is to ensure that your office doesn’t negatively impact the local scenery or the neighbourhood’s character.

3. Not In A Protected Area

If your home is located in a protected area, such as a conservation area, national park, or other special area of conservation, you may not be entitled to exemption from planning permission. This is to ensure that protected environments are maintained and preserved for future generations.

4. Not In An Area Of Architectural Heritage

Similarly, if your home is located in or near an area of architectural heritage, you may not be exempt from planning permission. This is to ensure that historical areas are protected, and that new development adheres to specific architectural guidelines.

5. Not On Flood Plains

Your home office should not be built on a flood plain. This is to ensure that you and your property are protected from the risk of flood damage.

6. Not A Listed Building

If your home is a listed building you may not be exempt from planning permission. This is to ensure that special historical or architectural buildings are protected from alteration or destruction.

7. No Impact on Neighbours

Your proposed home office should not negatively impact your neighbours’ properties or gardens. You should also ensure that your new space doesn’t cause a disturbance or nuisance to your neighbours, such as excessive noise or artificial light.

It’s worth noting that these exemptions are not applicable to businesses that have multiple employees or require commercial branding or signage. The rules apply only to a single employee working from home and running their own business.

If your home office meets all these conditions, you are generally exempt from applying for planning permission. 

Some Frequently Asked Questions We’ve Received At Shomera About Home Offices

What Can I Use My Shomera Home Office For?

Under the exemption criteria, your Shomera home office must integrate seamlessly into the daily life of the occupants of the house. This means the structure cannot be utilised as an independent living space. The legislative language, albeit somewhat archaic, stipulates that the usage of the home office must be “incidental to the enjoyment of the house”. This is to ensure that the Garden Room serves as an ancillary space that enhances the living experience of the main residence rather than functioning as a separate entity.

Moreover, an interesting and perhaps unexpected stipulation within the regulations is the prohibition of using the Garden Room as a habitat for pigs or poultry! 

Can I Have A Bathroom Or Kitchenette In My Home Office Without Needing Planning Permission?

Yes – at Shomera many of our home offices add facilities like a bathroom or kitchenette. 

What Should I Do If My Property Is In A Conservation Area Or Is A Listed Building?

Properties in conservation areas or listed buildings may face stricter regulations. It’s advisable to consult with your local planning authority or speak to us at Shomera where we can review your specific requirements and restrictions.

If I Sell My House, Does The New Owner Need To Reapply For Planning Permission For The Existing Home Office?

If the Garden Room was constructed under exempted development rules and did not require planning permission, the new owner would not need to reapply. However, it’s wise to ensure all documentation proving the Garden Room’s compliance is passed on to the new owner.

Can I Use My Garden Room For Purposes Other Than A Home Office, Like A Gym Or Art Studio, Without Needing Planning Permission?

Yes, absolutely, as long as the use is incidental to the enjoyment of the house and it meets other criteria (size, location, etc.), you can use your Garden Room for various purposes like a gym or art studio without needing planning permission.

In conclusion, if you’re planning to set up a home office for your business in Ireland, you most likely will be able to do so without obtaining planning permission. As long as your office meets the size, location, and environmental requirements outlined above, you can avoid the time and expense of navigating the planning permission process. Just remember to make sure you’re conforming to all relevant regulations. With careful planning and adherence to the above conditions, you can create a functional and inviting workspace that enhances your professional life and improves your work-life balance.

Join Our Mailing List

Once a month only we send out an email with news, developments and offerings for Architecture, House Extensions and Garden Rooms.