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A Brief Summary to the Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 30 of 2018)

The Aim of the Regulations

The aim of the Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 30 of 2018) (the “Regulations”) is to facilitate the re-use of existing and vacant commercial buildings for residential purposes by providing an exemption for the change of use, and any related works, of certain vacant commercial premises to residential use, without the need to obtain planning permission.

They form part of the Government’s action plan to increase much needed housing supply, maximise the use of vacant underutilised spaces and assist in the rejuvenation of inner-core urban areas.

When the Exemption applies

The exemption applies to existing buildings that have a current commercial use with reference to Classes 1, 2, 3, and 6 of Part 4 to Schedule 2 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001 (S.I. No. 600 of 2001) (referred to in the Regulations as the “Principal Regulations”), the definition of which Classes are set out below:

  • Class 1: Use as a shop.
  • Class 2: Use for the provision of (a) financial services, (b) professional services (other than health or medical services), (c) any other services (including use as a betting office), where the services are provided principally to visiting members of the public.
  • Class 3: Use as an office, other than a use to which class 2 of this Part of this Schedule applies.
  • Class 6: Use as a residential club, a guest house or a hostel (other than a hostel where care is provided).


There are certain limitations on the nature and type of buildings that may benefit from the exemption, as follows:

  • The building must have been completed prior to the making of the Regulations (on 8 February 2018);
  • The building must have been used for one of the 4 classes of use referred to above at some time in the past;
  • The structure or part of the structure which is to be developed must have been vacant for 2 years or more immediately prior to the commencement of the development.

The change of use, and any related works, must occur between 8 February 2018 and 31 December 2021, so while the exempted development permitted is permanent in nature once the criteria are satisfied, the exemption can only be availed of during this period.

A number of other conditions and limitations apply, relating to works, the detail of which are set out more particularly at section 2 (Sub-Article (6)(d)) of the Regulations in the link below.

Notifying the Planning Authority

A developer must notify the Planning Authority in writing of the details of the development at least two weeks prior to the commencement of the proposed change of use and related works, and the notification shall include information on the location and number of residential units involved, including the unit sizes and number of bedrooms in each unit.

Compliance with the Building Regulations 1997 to 2017 must still be achieved, and Building Control procedures will still apply.


See relevant links below:

1. Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2018 (S.I. No. 30 of 2018) 

2. Circular Letter PL 01/2018 issued by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, on the Planning and Development (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2018




Vicky Pigot – Senior Associate

5 June 2018