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Background Notes

Fall of 23% in the number of dwelling units approved in Quarter 2 2023

Online ISSN: 2009-5279
CSO statistical publication, , 11am
Advisory Note

Users should note that the number of new dwelling units granted planning permission can vary significantly from quarter to quarter if a large development or a number of large developments are approved within the same reference quarter. Users should therefore exercise caution in extrapolating long-term trends on the basis of a single quarter’s data. Additionally, changes to applications processes for Strategic Housing Developments (SHD) and related issues in An Bord Pleanála in 2022 may impact the number of planning permissions granted over recent quarters. Users should also note that the backlog of SHD applications which have been both processed and are still before the Bord awaiting decision, may also impact the number of planning permissions granted over recent quarters.

Scope and Background

Details of the scope and background of this series were given in the March 1973 Statistical Bulletin. The Planning and Development Acts 1963 - 2000, imposes certain requirements on builders, developers and all other persons who propose to build or develop and specifies that a planning permission must be obtained from the relevant Planning Authority.

Local authority building (including housing) is exempt in the case where construction takes place in the Authorities’ own area. Therefore, works undertaken by a local authority outside its functional area come within the scope of the Acts, and need planning permission. Planning permission is also needed for development by the State, except where the consultation procedures provided for in the Local Government (Planning and Development) Act, 1993 obtain (e.g. national security, public safety or order, the administration of justice etc). This series only provides coverage where development is subject to the requirement to obtain planning permission.

This series is also available using the interactive tables in PxStat on the CSO website.

Classification

Planning permissions are classified by type of development, local authority district and by regional authority.  A distinction is made between residential and non-residential building and civil engineering. 

Type (TY):

  1. New Development.
  2. Extension.
  3. Alteration & Renovation - No floor areas required (FA = 0).
  4. Conversion / Change of Use - No floor areas required (FA = 0). 
Category (CAT)Floor Area Edit Limits
New DevelopmentExtensions
Range
Floor Area (m2)
Range
Floor Area (m2)
101 One-Off Houses
Dormer/Porch/Presbytery/Raising Roof
65 - 372 1 - 150
102 Apartments & Granny Flat
Maisonettes
19 - 100
1 - 100
104 Communal Dwellings
Old Peoples Homes/Retirement Homes/Student Accommodation
1 - 2,500 1 - 2,500
105 Multi Development Houses
2 or more houses/Housing Estate
 65 - 372  1 - 150
201 Agricultural & Fisheries
Forestry /Horticulture/Milking Parlour/Stables
1 - 2,000 1 - 1,000
202 Mining & Energy
Extraction & Water/Power Supply Sub-Station/Oil Depots
1 - 300 1 - 300
203 Industry & Manufacturing
Handicrafts/Enterprise Centre/Storage/Workshops
1 - 5,000 1 - 2,000
204 Hotels & Restaurants
Guest Houses/B & Bs/Hostels/Tea Room/Coffee House 
1 - 4,000  1 - 1,500 
205 Transport Infrastructure
Air/Rail/Bus/Petrol Stations/Bicycle Sheds/Car Showrooms 
1 - 2,000 1 - 750
206 Trade & Economic
Department Stores/Shops/Hairdressers/Take Aways/Warehouses 
1 - 5,000  1 - 1,500
207 Public Administration
Police/Fire Station/Prisons/Court Houses/Barracks/TV Studio
1 - 4,000 1 - 1,000
208 Health & Welfare
Hospitals/Nursing Homes/Vet Clinics/Community Services
1 - 4,000 1 - 1,000
209 Entertainment & Recreation
Amusement Arcade/Club Pavilion/Internet Cafe/Swimming Pools
1 - 4,000 1 - 1,000
210 Education & Science
Art Galleries/Schools/Museums/Universities
1 - 4,000  1 - 1,000 
211 Religious & Funerary
Churches/Crematoria/Funeral Home/Mortuaries
1 - 2,000 1 - 500
212 Other Non-Residential
Dog Kennels/Public Toilets/Trade Union Offices
1 - 250 1 - 250
213 Offices & Administration
Banks/Credit Unions/Insurance
1 - 4,000 1 - 1,000
214 Crèches
Childcare/Montessori
1 - 2,000 0 - 750

 

Category (CAT)
301 - 401
New Development (only)
Floor Area (m2)  Always 0 
301 Construction of Roads
Runways/Motorways/Level Crossing
0
302 Construction of Railways
Metro Lines
0
303 Civil Engineering Works – Specialised
Boat Slips/Cable Cars/Bridges/Tunnels
0
304 Hydraulic Engineering
Canals/Harbours/Rivers
0
305 Water & Sewerage
Reservoirs/WWTPs/Sewer Systems
0
306 Land Reclamation & Drainage
Cemetery/Demolition/Dump/Garden Centre/Quarries
0
307 Electrical & Telecommunication Infrastructure
Cables/Overhead Lines/Satellite Dish
0
308 Pipelines
Fuel/Gas/Other
0
309 Civil Engineering Works – General
Car Parks (not in buildings)/Incinerator/Ready Mix Plant/Wind Farm
0
401  General & Miscellaneous
Access Ramps/Driveway/Entrances/Bored Well/Fencing/Gates/Signs
0

Coverage

Only final grants of permission or approvals are covered, i.e. only works which involve construction.  The following permissions are excluded since they do not entail construction per se:

  • Changes of a technical and business nature as distinct from a building or structural nature;
  • Outline permission;
  • Retention of an existing building;
  • Changes to existing plan;
  • Bye-law permission;
  • Refusals - permissions subsequently granted on appeal by An Bord Pleanála are included.

Rounding

As the figures for floor area have been rounded there may be slight discrepancies between the sum of the constituent items and the totals shown.

Estimates are included where complete details of floor area size are not available.

NUTS2 and NUTS3 Regions

The regional classifications in this release are based on the NUTS (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) classification used by Eurostat. The classification was drawn up by Eurostat in order to define territorial units for the production of regional statistics across the European Union. In 2003, the EU Member States, the European Parliament and the Commission established the NUTS regions within a legal framework (Regulation (EC) No 1059/2003).
Revisions were made to the NUTS boundaries in 2016 and were given legal status under Commission Regulation (EU) 2016/2066 amending annexes to NUTS Regulation 1059/2003. Under this revision the NUTS 2 Regions comprise the Regional Assemblies established under the Local Government Act 1991 (Regional Assemblies) (Establishment) Order 2014 (SI No. 573 of 2014). The NUTS 3 Regions are groupings of 31 administrative counties, and nest into the NUTS 2 Regions.

Northern & Western NUTS2 RegionSouthern NUTS2 RegionEastern & Midland NUTS2 Region
Border
NUTS3
Region
Cavan
Donegal
Leitrim
Monaghan
Sligo
Mid-West
NUTS3
Region
Clare
Limerick
Tipperary
Dublin
NUTS3
Region
Dublin City
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown
Fingal
South Dublin
South-East
NUTS3
Region
Carlow
Kilkenny
Waterford
Wexford
Mid-East
NUTS3
Region
Kildare
Louth
Meath
Wicklow
West
NUTS3
Region
Galway
Mayo
Roscommon 
South-West
NUTS3
Region
Cork
Kerry
Midland
NUTS3
Region
Laois
Longford
Offaly
Westmeath

Strategic Housing Development Planning Applications

Planning applications for housing developments of more than 100 residential units and 200 plus student bed spaces can now be made directly to An Bord Pleanála. New legislation which allows for this type of application was enacted on 19th December 2016 and the associated regulations come into effect on 3rd July 2017. This new type of application has been introduced as part of Rebuilding Ireland to speed up the planning application process and accelerate delivery of larger housing and student accommodation proposals. For more information see An Bord Pleanala website.

Large-Scale Residential Development Planning Applications

The Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process expired on 25 February 2022. Its successor, the Large-Scale Residential Development (LRD) scheme came into effect on 17 December 2021. Under the new process, decision making for LRDs returns to the local planning authority in the first instance. Decisions taken by the local planning authority can then be appealed to An Bord Pleanála. The LRD legislation is largely similar to the SHD scheme but with two main changes to the definition of LRDs:

  • The LRD scheme allows for 30% of the gross floor space of the proposed development to be for non-residential uses compared to 15% of gross floor space allowance for SHDs.
  • Mixed developments combining housing and student accommodation are to be classified as an LRD where either the planned development contains greater than 100 housing units or student accommodation with more than 200 bed spaces.

For more information, please see Irish Statute Book website.

The CSO's release on planning permissions does not differentiate between SHDs and LRDs.

Comparison with other national series

There are differences (due to coverage, timing, definitions and other factors) between the planning permissions statistics produced by the CSO and those of the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (DHPCLG), resulting in different but complementary sets of data aimed at meeting the needs of different users.

The planning permissions statistics produced by the DHPCLG focus on the overall process of the planning permissions system.  For example, it provides data for each planning authority on invalid applications received, applications for outline and full permission, decisions to grant /refuse permission, decisions issued within the statutory eight-week period, decisions deferred. Percentages for decisions are provided.

By contrast, the planning permissions statistics published by the CSO provide a detailed breakdown of certain outputs of the planning process (number of planning permissions granted with the number of units, functional description, and their floor areas).  Only final grants of permission for works which involve construction are covered. Refusals, retentions and outline permissions, for example, are excluded.  See under the heading Coverage above for a full list of exclusions.

The example of an application for a shopping centre with a car park illustrates how different approaches can result in a different total for the number of planning permissions granted. The CSO statistics include a breakdown into types of planning permission received and would therefore treat the case as an application for two permissions, one for a shopping centre and one for a car park. Where the statistics compiled do not involve such a breakdown, as is the case with the DHPCLG, the application would be treated as one for a single permission.

The purpose of the CSO Planning Permissions Statistics is to provide a short-term indicator on construction.  It aims to provide data enabling some prediction of or insight into the amount of building activity about to take place in the State.