Does my outbuilding need planning permission?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking about adding a new building to your garden – a shed office, a log cabin or a summer house perhaps. Our Nordic quality wooden buildings are a beautiful accent in any garden, whether as a practical addition to your home or as a space for fun and relaxation.

But before you rush into the buying process, it’s important to check whether your dream garden building needs planning permission, and how this might affect your plans. So what is planning permission, and when do you need planning permission in Ireland?

What buildings are exempt from planning permission in Ireland?

You’ll be happy to know that it is possible to construct an outbuilding without acquiring planning permission first. But there is a catch: your building must meet the criteria for exemption. So what are these criteria, and how can you ensure your plans fit?


The law states that you are allowed to construct a garden building up to a maximum size of 25 m2 (270 sq. ft.) provided you leave 25 m2 of free space in your garden. This becomes particularly important if you are also planning a house extension. Then the 25 m2 free area needs to remain after the garden building and house extension are complete. What makes adhering to this rule easier is that the 25 m2 of free space can include the property's side and rear.


For single pitch roof (also known as pent roof) buildings, the height restriction is 3 m. For tiled or slated pitched roofs the height restriction is 4 m.


Windows cannot be placed within 1 m of a neighbour’s boundary.


Garden rooms can be used as extra living space, for work, and for leisure. In practice this means you can use your new garden building as a garden room, garden office, man cave, playhouse, games room, garden pub, etc.

It’s important to be aware that you are not permitted to live in buildings exempt from planning permission or use them as sleeping accommodation.


Garden buildings can be constructed to the side or the rear of your property. Bushes, trees or fencing must screen garden buildings constructed to the side of the house. If this is not possible, you must match the façade of the existing building. Otherwise, the new garden building will not meet the exemption criteria.


It’s important to be aware that existing structures in your garden may already account for some of the 25 m2 allocated for your new garden building. Suppose you included existing structures in the original planning permission granted when you built your house. In that case, you can still use all of the 25 m2 allowances for your new garden building.


There is no legal obligation to inform your neighbours about any new garden building that is constructed under the 25 m2 exemption, and you don’t need their permission. But we always recommend that you let them know about your plans, in the interest of happy neighbourly relations!


Familiarise yourself with building requirements before placing your order!

We pride ourselves on our friendly and knowledgeable customer service, and we can assist you every step of the way. However, ultimately it is the homeowner's responsibility to be aware of the planning exemption rules. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the exemption rules or contact your local planning authority if you feel you are not exempt. The buyer’s responsibility is to check whether the government has made any changes to the planning laws before placing an order.

For more information check out the Development and Planning Guidelines. We are also happy to guide you as best we can.

Should you build a garden building that is exempt from planning permission?

You might not be convinced that a permitted development would meet your needs. Perhaps you want something bigger than 25 m2, or the placement you had planned wouldn’t be allowed without planning permission. But don’t be too quick to write off the idea. A permitted development does offer some significant advantages, speeding up the process and letting you get your outbuilding done and dusted much faster.

  • The processing of planning permission applications in Ireland tends to take time.
  • There is no guarantee you will get permission for the building you want.


If you choose a building that adheres to the conditions laid out above, you can start building immediately.  This means that you have total control over the proceedings and can start doing the groundwork as soon as you’ve chosen your desired cabin.

Check and double-check that your garden building meets the requirements, and if you have questions or customisation needs, let us know!

If you find a product from our range that does not fit into the required measurements but is not too far off, you can always ask for modifications. We can slightly alter our buildings' overall height and base measurements or propose a different model from our range. If needed, we can also create a bespoke cabin to perfectly meet your needs within planning requirements. Ultimately, we’d love to come up with a solution that is the right fit for you, whether it is permitted development or not. Get in touch and we can discuss your needs!

Contact Us

Ask us anything! Our customer service team are here to make your purchase as simple and pleasurable as possible. Just drop us a line and we’ll be happy to help!

ABC Gardenhouse IRL Ltd.

Showroom locations:

Ennis Road
V94 4A66

Spanish Point Road
Miltown Malbay
V95 D2Y5

Catherine Flanagan - Director

089 445 8720

Laura Galvin - Sales

089 403 8317


061 260 581

061 260 582

(Service from 9 am - 5 pm)