Pre Planning

Matt Keane
March 25, 2024

Do you have a dream building project or a home improvement in mind but are not sure if it is feasible or acceptable? Do you want to avoid wasting time and money on a detailed design that may not get planning permission or may not meet your expectations? 

If so, you may benefit from pre-planning, which is a preliminary and informal consultation with a planning officer in the local council before you submit a formal planning application

In this blog post, we will explain what pre planning iswhy it is importanthow it works, and what the advantages of pre planning

Discover how to streamline your building project journey from concept to approval with the help of pre-planning, saving both time and money.

So, let’s get started!

What is Pre Planning?

Pre-planning is a service offered by most local councils in Ireland that allows you to discuss your outline brief for your proposed development or change of use of land or buildings with a planning officer and to get an indication of whether it is likely to be accepted or not. 

It is neither a formal or binding process nor a substitute for a planning application. It is a way to get some initial feedback and guidance from the planning authority and to identify any potential issues or concerns that may arise in the planning process.

Pre-planning is usually done in the early stages of your project, before you invest too much time and money in a detailed design or a planning application. 

It can be done for any type of development, such as new buildsextensionsconversionsalterationsdemolitions, etc. It can also be done for any scale of development, from small to large, depending on the complexity and the impact of the development.

Why is Pre Planning Important?

Pre planning is important for several reasons, such as:


It can help you assess the feasibility of your project and determine if it is realistic or achievable. You can get an idea of the likelihood of getting planning permission and the conditions or restrictions that may apply to your project. 

You can also get an idea of the costs and time frame of your project, as well as the resources and expertise that you may need.


Pre planning can help you comply with the planning policies and regulations and avoid any breaches or violations of the planning laws. You can get an understanding of the planning context, the policies of the area, and how your project fits in with them. 

You can also get an understanding of the planning standards and the requirements that you need to meet, such as designlayoutdensityheightaccessparkinglandscapingheritageenvironment, etc.


Pre-planning can help you minimise the impact of your project on the environment and the amenities, as well as maximise the benefits and opportunities of your project. 

You can get an understanding of the environmental effects and the preventative measures of your project, such as pollution, noise, vibration, light, odour, waste, etc. 

You can also get an understanding of the amenity effects and the enhancement measures of your project, such as views, sunlight, privacy, security, recreation, services, etc.


Pre-planning can help you communicate and collaborate with the planning authority and the other stakeholders and build a positive and constructive relationship with them. 

You can get an opportunity to present and explain your project and to listen to and respond to their feedback and suggestions. 

You can also get an opportunity to address and resolve any issues or concerns that may arise, and to avoid or reduce any conflicts or disputes that may occur.

How does Pre Planning Work?

Pre planning works in the following steps:

Step 1: Prepare Your Outline Brief

Create an outline brief detailing your project's concept and key features, like location, size, use, function, style, and orientation. Include sketches to illustrate your ideas. This can be done independently or with a professional's help.

Step 2: Book an Appointment with a Planning Officer

Schedule a meeting with a local council planning officer, your main contact for the pre-planning process. Book via phone, email, or online. A fee (€50–€250, non-refundable) may apply, varying by project type and council policy.

Step 3: Attend the Pre-Planning Meeting

Engage in a consultation with the planning officer, discussing your project and receiving feedback. This informal meeting, lasting about 15 minutes, allows for questions and clarification. Bring any supporting documents you have.

Step 4: Receive the Pre-Planning Report

Obtain a written summary of the meeting, including the planning officer's points, recommendations, and an initial assessment of your project's feasibility. The report, provided within two weeks via post or email, outlines your next steps.

What are the Advantages of Pre Planning?

Pre planning has many advantages over going straight to a planning application, such as:

Time saving

Pre planning can save you time, as it can help you avoid or reduce the delays or complications that may occur in the planning process.

You can get an early indication of the outcome of your project, and you can avoid submitting an unsuccessful or incomplete planning application. You can also avoid the need for revisions or amendments to your project, or the need for additional information or documents.

Money saving

Pre-planning can save you money, as it can help you avoid or reduce the costs or expenses that may be associated with the planning process. 

You can avoid wasting money on a detailed design or a planning application that may not get planning permission, or may not meet your expectations. You can also avoid paying extra fees or charges, such as development contributions or levies, that may apply to your project.

Quality improvement

Pre planning can improve the quality of your project, as it can help you enhance the design and performance of your project. You can get some valuable advice and guidance from the planning officer, who has the expertise and experience to deal with planning issues and find creative solutions.

You can also get some feedback and suggestions from the other stakeholders, who may have some insights or perspectives that you may not have considered.


Pre-planning is a crucial preliminary step before submitting a formal planning application. It involves an informal consultation with a local council planning officer and is essential for feasibility, compliance, impact, and communication. 

The process includes preparing an outline brief, booking an appointment, attending the meeting, and receiving the report. Pre-planning offers several advantages over direct planning applications, including time and money savings and quality improvement. 

For any assistance with planning permissions, don’t hesitate to contact us at BuildTech. We’re confident in our ability to help you with your pre-planning consultation and ensure your application’s acceptance. Reach out to us today for a consultation.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.

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