Private Open Space Requirement

Private Open Space Requirement

Postby lady louisa » Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:32 pm

Hello, a question from a newbie to the experienced architectural practitioner out there.

So the Planning and Development Regulations say that a minimum of 25 sq m must remain in the back garden following any work/extension to the property.

Most Development plans have a table with the private amenity space required for a 1-2 bed house, 3 bed house, 4 bed and over etc. For example the 3 bed open space requirement is 60sq m in the SDCC development plan and 69sq m in the Kildare Development Plan.

My question is, if somebody is carrying out an "exempted" development, say a single storey extension to the rear, less than 40 sq m, is it a "compliant" development if it works to the 25 sq m rule? Is an architect governed by the Planning Regulations or the Development Plans when issuing an opinion of compliance or when giving advice to a prospective client on the scope of work that can be carried out to their property?

Do the requirements of development plans over-ride the planning regs? I have been asked on a number of occasions recently by a Local Authority, as further information to a planning application, to clarify the private open space that will remain following a development. I wonder then in an exempted development scenario should I work to the relevant Development plan Private Open Space requirement?

Any comments would be welcome.

LL
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby henno » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:23 pm

good question and one that has arisen a few times before.

my own opinion on it is that the planning regs has a statutory basis, whereas a development plan does not. The procedures that create the development plan has a statutory basis, but the policies held within do not.

Also, development plans more often than not contain suggested methods of complying to policies. In some cases development plan policies may be relaxed where the situation allows ie the open space requirement of a housing development may be relaxed if the development is located adjoining a community recreation area etc.

Dealing particularly with the issue at hand, i would see the "sustainable urban housing guidelines" as being more pertinent as to what should be considered acceptable private amenity space than a development plan. But again, these are "guidelines" and do not have a statutory basis.

so to finalise, in order to offer an opinion on the exemption of a development or not, the planning regulations hold the legislative requirements.
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby Tayto » Mon Oct 18, 2010 9:58 pm

lady louisa wrote:......My question is, if somebody is carrying out an "exempted" development, say a single storey extension to the rear, less than 40 sq m, is it a "compliant" development if it works to the 25 sq m rule? Is an architect governed by the Planning Regulations or the Development Plans when issuing an opinion of compliance or when giving advice to a prospective client on the scope of work that can be carried out to their property?

Do the requirements of development plans over-ride the planning regs? .......LL


My tuppenny ha'penny's worth is that Planning Departments generally will assess new housing with reference to development plan guidelines which, as someone will more than likely soon point out, do not have the legal standing of the the Primary legislation (The Planning Act), nor of the Secondary legislation (The Planning Regulations).
Nevertheless, they will assess new housing on the basis of compliance with development plan guidelines and if the min. specified private open space is not provided then a planning application for a new house is highly likely to run into some degree of trouble - (eg. additional information request, onerous conditions or an outright refusal).

The provision of adequate private open space to a new house ensures that sufficient open space will remain following an exempted rear extension of 40m2, for example.

Consequently it would not be logical to apply the open space standards of new housing to a domestic rear extension.

If, following construction of such an extension, the relevant private open space was less than 25m2, then the development would not comply with the Planning Regulations.
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby lady louisa » Tue Oct 19, 2010 3:51 pm

Thanks for the insight / comments...

Confusing or what?

makes me realise how important my PI is.....!!

Thanks again
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby onq » Tue Oct 19, 2010 8:05 pm

The Development Plans standards set requirements for new developments, which in some cases may be relaxed where there is exceptionally good design, etc.

Unless a house is Protected or the site of the original house is sterilised by Condition in the permission, the exempted development schedule may be availed of, subject to compliance with other legislative objectives.

In other words (for a limited example)
  • You need a minimum rear garden of say 60 square metres for the primary permission
  • You can extend in theory by 40 square metres GIFA subject to leaving an area of 25 square metres of Private Open Space.
So the limit you can extend without permission is governed by the amount of free external space you have left.
Don't forget that the area of walls of the extension have to be subtracted from the total you can build and a standard 300mm cavity wall requires 0.3 square metres per metre run of wall.
Ignoring corners, a three sided extension 5Mx 5M would need a wall length of 5 + 5 + 5 = 15 square metres x 0.3 or 4.5 square metres, so the area of the walling is not inconsequential when you're getting near that 25 square metre limit.

In the above 60 square metre garden example you can only extend by around 30 square metres if you want to leave 25 square metres free, assuming circa 4.5 square metres will be eaten up by walling.

HTH

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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby lady louisa » Wed Oct 20, 2010 2:43 pm

Thanks ONQ,

Can I just say I always read your comments on any thread (or forum) because of the confidence I feel in the answer. Thanks for posting with such integrity.

LL
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby onq » Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:11 pm

lady louisa wrote:Thanks ONQ,

Can I just say I always read your comments on any thread (or forum) because of the confidence I feel in the answer. Thanks for posting with such integrity.

LL


Well I'm honoured to see someone put something like that in print, and thanks very much lady louisa.
I'm afraid a whole section of the design community only see me as a stirrer of the brown stuff.
But stirring it is something that needs to be done occassionally or we become complacent.
And as we've seen in the banks and elsewhere complacency leads to serious abuses.

However I also confess to being a little worried.
I don't want to give an impression of being definitive on matters like this.
Its more like I want to offer a knowledge base others can test or refute as may be appropriate.

In that sense, please don't accept what I say lady louisa - check it out, challenge it and if I've posted something that needs correcting or clarifying - please feel free to do so :)
Its only by informed collaboration and constructive criticism of our peers that our own standards can be raised and improved - we depend on you guys to ask the hard questions and review the answers we offer.

Thanks again.

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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby lady louisa » Wed Oct 20, 2010 6:01 pm

" However I also confess to being a little worried"

Don't be worried ONQ, I am suspicious at best - cynical at worst and would never take anyone's actual word for something without checking it out myself!

You point us all in the right direction though providing the links to the relevant legislation so thanks again for taking the time to that.

LL
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby onq » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:12 am

(bows)

I am relieved and thanks again.
(I wasn't necessarily aiming that post at you Lady Louisa :-) - I'm sure there are some lay readers here too who are not members)

I take the view that not everyone can afford RIAI membership, even those who might like to and can avail of it, and get the benefit of their Good Practice Notes.
For me, information should be free to benefit people and help avoid pitfalls.

There is always more to discover - for example over on AAM for the past day or so there is a horror story of a guy trying to get off the dole who took up a caretakers lease on a premises and is now being hit with arrears of rates owed by the previous tenant - this is the law!

A phone call to the rates department of the local authority would have informed him, had he been aware of it.
So its spreading awareness of things like this that motivate me - albeit here its usually limited to planning and design matters and how the law pertains to them.

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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby onq » Thu Oct 21, 2010 9:48 am

henno wrote:good question and one that has arisen a few times before.

my own opinion on it is that the planning regs has a statutory basis, whereas a development plan does not. The procedures that create the development plan has a statutory basis, but the policies held within do not.

Also, development plans more often than not contain suggested methods of complying to policies. In some cases development plan policies may be relaxed where the situation allows ie the open space requirement of a housing development may be relaxed if the development is located adjoining a community recreation area etc.

Dealing particularly with the issue at hand, i would see the "sustainable urban housing guidelines" as being more pertinent as to what should be considered acceptable private amenity space than a development plan. But again, these are "guidelines" and do not have a statutory basis.

so to finalise, in order to offer an opinion on the exemption of a development or not, the planning regulations hold the legislative requirements.


Just to clarify a little on this one Henno,

The body pursuing any breach of planning law, whether its the exempted development schedule or a condition of a planning permission, is the local authority.
An Bórd Pleanála has no enforcement function, as they have recently informed me.

The Development Plan guidelines are actionable if breached, usually through them having been invoked in a planning condition, which has force of law.
The provisions in the exempted development sehedule in the regulations are actionable also in my understanding.
Both actions take place under a Section 160 or other provision of the Planning and Developnment Act.

But the matter under discussion here does not involve the Development Plan's desired rear garden/POS provision of say, 60 square metres, which as you rightly point out can be varied in certain circumstances.
The topic solely relates to two provisions in the exempted development schedule
  • the allowance up to a limit of development - 40 square metres, within certain constraints.
  • a 25 square metre POS minimum that cannot be infringed upon without seeking permission.
The minimum takes precedence IMO as I've shown in the worked example.

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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby Bren88 » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:06 am

To be honest, while everything so far is correct, I think that a rather simple issue has been made over complicated.

The 25sq.m open space for exempt development is a legal requirement. Definitive.

Any DP open space guideline, is an issue with the LA, and once planning permission is granted, it no longer is relevant. It cannot prevent exempt development.
Also, with an extension that requires planning, the LA are under no obligation to maintian a 60sq.m open space set out in the DP. (that guideline probably takes account of further development anyway)

That covers everything imo.
---------------------------------------

ONQ, as for the area of the walls, you are correct. People often just add floor space to garden and assume think they are exempt. But, you forgot the corners :D
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby onq » Fri Oct 22, 2010 1:33 pm

Bren88 wrote:To be honest, while everything so far is correct, I think that a rather simple issue has been made over complicated.

The 25sq.m open space for exempt development is a legal requirement. Definitive.

Any DP open space guideline, is an issue with the LA, and once planning permission is granted, it no longer is relevant. It cannot prevent exempt development.
Also, with an extension that requires planning, the LA are under no obligation to maintian a 60sq.m open space set out in the DP. (that guideline probably takes account of further development anyway)

That covers everything imo.
---------------------------------------


Its far more subtle a thing than you might imagine.

I have see artisans dwellings get permission for 100% coverage of their site.

Equally I have seen houses with significant gardens receive conditions which prevent future development under the exempted development schedule - its called sterilization.

I have seen owners of buildings prevented from putting up privacy screens on their gates because it was deemed that they interfered with a listed view across their private property.

Planning legislation is an extremely convoluted field of knowledge.

Back when people had money I used to make a sizable portion of my living from advising on planning matters. :(


ONQ, as for the area of the walls, you are correct. People often just add floor space to garden and assume think they are exempt. But, you forgot the corners :D


[my underline]

I'm not sure what part of this you didn't get... :rolleyes:

"Ignoring corners, a three sided extension 5Mx 5M would need a wall length of 5 + 5 + 5 = 15 square metres x 0.3 or 4.5 square metres, so the area of the walling is not inconsequential when you're getting near that 25 square metre limit."
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby Bren88 » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:51 am

onq wrote:Planning legislation is an extremely convoluted field of knowledge.

Oh I know, and the things you listed do happen. but, it's not relevant here.

Planning law is complicated, but the exempt development (ie the area in question here) is one of the areas that is pretty clear cut.



I'm not sure what part of this you didn't get... :rolleyes:

"Ignoring corners, a three sided extension 5Mx 5M would need a wall length of 5 + 5 + 5 = 15 square metres x 0.3 or 4.5 square metres, so the area of the walling is not inconsequential when you're getting near that 25 square metre limit."

I just don't see the point of ignoring corners when you are getting close to the limit. The maths is no more difficult. Obviously, if its just for rough checking its fine, but when its close to the limit ...

I seen one situation, where if the wall insulation was increased (and therefore overall thickness) the extension was no longer exempt.
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby onq » Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:09 pm

Bren88 wrote:I just don't see the point of ignoring corners when you are getting close to the limit.


That's not what you said.
You said I "forgot" the corners.
I proved that I hadn't forgotten them.

I ignored them for the sake of convenience.
I was explaining the principle in simple terms.

RE increasing wall insulation, that only applies if its external.
You can upgrade cavity or internal insulation and still be exempt.

:)

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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby Bren88 » Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:14 am

onq wrote:RE increasing wall insulation, that only applies if its external.
You can upgrade cavity or internal insulation and still be exempt.


Afraid not Onq.
I was talking about increasing it at design stage, as increasing it post construction is not an issue as its no longer "building an exempt extension".

Increasing cavity insulation increases the wall section. As the leaf to leaf distance has to be increased to accomodate.
And your comment about internal insulation is not quite correct either. Even with internal insulation, the wall section increases and therefore the area covered by the wall increases. so, unless you reduce internal area (which apples to all types), the extension now covers more area.
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby onq » Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:06 pm

Increasing CAVITY insulation means that you fill the structural cavity, Bren.

It doesn't mean that you increase the width of the wall section...


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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby henno » Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:36 pm

depends on what your filling with :)

ien going from 60mm board to 80 mm board will still require a cavity of min 40mm, therefore then wall depth will increase accordingly.

TBH the days to 310 cavities is close to an end. most new builds should be 150mm pumped cavity with polystyrene.
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Re: Private Open Space Requirement

Postby Bren88 » Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:25 am

onq wrote:Increasing CAVITY insulation means that you fill the structural cavity, Bren.

It doesn't mean that you increase the width of the wall section...


ONQ.


Only when going from partial fill to full could the wall section remain, but this limits the max increase. A lot of the time, the design might jump from 80/40 partial fill to 150MM full fill.

Partial to partial needs an increase, if that is the construction method being used.

Also, as was the case in the example i refered to, 100mm full fill to 150mm full fill required a wall section increase.

Traditional partial to pumped etc, will normally increase size.


I agree with Henno, a new standard will emerge over the next few years
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