Updated: Jan 7
Planning Permission for log cabins – it’s a bit of a chore. And you’re going to hear lots of opinions about it, so the best thing to do is to talk to a planning expert in your local area.
YES! You CAN get planning for log cabins!
Let’s be clear – YOU CAN GET PLANNING PERMISSION FOR A LOG CABIN!
Do I need planning permission for my log cabin?
You need planning for anything over 25 square metres that you intend living in – even a mobile home! But don’t worry – A lot of people have been given planning permission for our cabins.
A lot of people have built on their own land without planning. It depends on the area you’re in sometimes. Some people have argued that they’re a flatpack build, and not fixed to the ground so they’re a temporary structure.
Can I get planning permission for a log cabin?
Yes, you can get planning permission for a log cabin.
If you do go for planning, best to apply for a “timber frame” construction rather than a “log cabin”. Anecdotal evidence suggests that planners in general are averse to the term “log cabin“. But there’s a strong environmental argument for building log cabins. The fact that the carbon footprint of one of our cabins is miniscule compared to a block built house is a strong argument.
You will need to contract an engineer to work on your log cabin build if you go for planning. The engineer will need to certify the construction method for the building - how the walls, floors and roof are constructed. This certification is required in order to demonstrate that your building complies with the latest building regulations.
Log Cabin Building Regulations
With the new NZEB regulations, (that's Nearly Zero Energy Building Regulations), the overall cost of your build will be a lot higher than that quoted on our website, unfortunately. That's due to the requirement for more insulation in the build, improved air tightness and "greener" heating systems.
To comply with Building Regulations, you will need to increase the log cabin insulation from 100mm. This can be done either by increasing the cavity size to 200mm, or putting external insulation on the cabin. This external insulation will have a cement board exterior, and this may help in your planning application.
Can I build a log cabin without planning permission?
Lots of our customers have built their log cabins at the back of an existing house, or in a farmyard, without planning permission. There are some restrictions in relation to maximum log cabin sizes, which are addressed in the next paragraph.
The beauty of building close to an existing structure is that there are generally connections to water, sewerage and electricity, which means your log cabin can be built a lot quicker and cheaper than otherwise.
Many of our customers have told us that getting an ESB connection is not a problem - of course, it is not free, but you do not need to have planning permission to get a new ESB connection for your cabin.
What is the maximum size I can build without planning permission?
There are some restrictions when it comes to building a log cabin without planning permission. You can build a cabin up to twenty five square meters in area if it is not connected to your house. But a better option might be to build an extension to the house. With an extension, you can build up to forty square metres without planning permission, as long as the house has not been extended previously. Our Roscommon Log Cabin (click here) is a good example of a cabin that fits under the 40 square metre limit for house extensions. It is also an ideal fit for many extensions. One minor change would be required in order for this cabin to work as an extension - moving the windows from the front to the side of the cabin. As long as the existing building was suitable - wall length, position of door and windows etc. - this might be a perfect fit for your extension!
Of course, if this cabin did not suit, there might be another cabin in our collection that is ideal, or we could build you a bespoke model.
Appealing a Planning Decision
While the planning process in Ireland does seem to be overly cumbersome, at least we have an appeals system through An Bórd Pleanála. (Click here to visit their website.) It is important to appeal a planning decision if you are refused by your local council. We have heard of a few examples where log cabin planning refusals have been overturned. The environmental argument is always a very strong one with An Bórd Pleanála. Although we cannot say this about all county councils, there seems to be a bias against timber construction, and in particular, timber exteriors on buildings. If you make the argument that the carbon footprint of a timber construction is miniscule compared to a conventionally built block house, this can help your case immensely. And already stated, the sustainability/eco-friendly/environmental argument has won quite a few cases for log cabin owners.
Please remember that planning regulations vary over time and between regions. What we state here is just general information. You need to check the finer details with your local council.
If you are thinking of going for planning permission, we would be glad to chat with you about all of the different options - type and quantity of insulation, internal and external wall coverings, heating systems. Make sure you bring your plans with you when you come to our showrooms.
Contact us or visit our showrooms in Tullow, Boyle and Cork for more information.