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When everyone has a home

Housing advice for Northern Ireland

Planning permission and building control

If you're making change to your home you may need

  • planning permission and
  • building control approval

Planning permission

Your home has permitted development rights.

These rights allow you to make certain changes to your home as long as they meet certain conditions. You can usually add a fence, wall or extension to your home without planning permission as long as these aren't above a certain size. But your home may have extra conditions if

  • it's in a conservation area
  • it's in an open plan development
  • it's a listed building
  • it's in an area of outstanding natural beauty

You need to apply for planning permission if you are going to

  • allow someone to live in a caravan or building on your land
  • divide a property into separate homes
  • extend a flat or maisonette
  • build another home on your land
  • add access to certain roads
  • build something that wasn't included on your original planning permission
  • do work that will affect a tree covered by a tree preservation order

Applying for planning permission

Apply to your local council's planning department. They can tell you

  • how to apply
  • what documents you need to provide
  • what fee you have to pay
  • what happens after you apply

After you apply the council's planning team will

  • inspect the site
  • inform neighbours of your proposed changes
  • talk to other services - like roads, sewage and water - to see if your plans will affect these

The council can grant or refuse permission for your changes.

You can appeal to the Planning Appeals Commission if

  • the council refuses your application or
  • the council adds conditions to your application that you disagree with

You have 4 months to ask for an appeal.

Building control approval

You need to get building control approval to make certain changes in your home including

  • making your windows or doors bigger
  • removing a load bearing wall
  • converting your roofspace
  • building an extension
  • installing cavity wall insultation
  • changing your heating system
  • installing a stove
  • building a garage
  • installing a bathroom or kitchen

The Building Control NI website explains