Having said that, there are probably only two possible choices for your new business: work from home, or find a workspace somewhere else.
Working from home is a simple and cheap solution for certain kinds of startup businesses. If your business idea is office-based, and requires you to meet your customers in their offices, then working from home might be practical. Experience has shown that you will probably need to separate your domestic space and your workspace. You will need to check with Fingal County Council Planning Department to find out if you
need planning permission for your workspace. You also need to check that your insurance policy will cover working from home.
When you work from home your business will have a residential address and telephone number. Where the
address is of importance to your business you might consider the combination of working from home with a ‘virtual’ office service, giving you a business address and professional telephone answering services, but without the cost of owning the office.
Working from a workspace away from home will generally always be more expensive, both in terms of the cost of the premises, but also in commuting to your place of work. Some business ideas will require
particular types of premises. Light industrial businesses and food production businesses have very individual
requirements that must be matched to particular buildings, and will probably include specialist services such as threephase electricity.
If you are looking for a high street location to develop a retail business, then you must do a lot of research. You will need to be sure of the number of people passing your door, and whether these people are potential shoppers for your product. Good retail space will always be expensive, but location will be
vital if your retail business is to prosper.
If you find yourself in the position of needing planning permission for your new business, do not despair. Fingal County Council Planning Department has done much work to make the planning system much more streamlined. The Council is very keen to encourage new business, even more so in the current economic climate.
There are three types of planning permission: outline permission, (full) permission, and permission consequent on outline permission.
If you want to see if the planning authority agrees in principle to you building on a particular site, or building a large extension, you might apply for outline permission, which will require you to produce only the plans and particulars that are necessary to enable the planning authority to make a decision in relation to the site, layout or other proposals for development.
If you get outline permission, you will have to submit detailed drawings and receive consequent permission before you start building work. Generally, outline permissions have a 3-year duration.
Full planning permission will require you to provide all of the details above, plus technical details relating to the fabric of the building and the type of construction to be employed.
If the local authority decides to give you planning permission, you will get a notice of intention to grant planning permission. If no one appeals the decision to An Bord Pleanála within four weeks of the date
of this decision, you will get grant of permission from the local authority.
Generally, the local planning authority must make a decision on a planning application within eight weeks of
receiving the application, but if the local authority needs more information, or the decision is appealed, it may take much longer.
It is an offence to carry out any work that requires planning permission, without planning permission, and the offence can carry very heavy fines and imprisonment. However, if a genuine mistake has been made, it is possible to apply for planning permission to retain an unauthorised development. This permission may be refused; in which case, the unauthorised development will have to be demolished.
You apply for planning permission by filling in a planning application form and submitting it, together with the required documents and fees, to Fingal County Council, Planning Department, County Hall, Main Street, Swords, Co. Dublin.
If you are employing an architect, he/ she will normally make the application on your behalf.
The Planning Department will be pleased to give you advice about how to apply, whether your proposals are likely to comply with the development plan, what other documents you will need, what the fee will be and any other requirements. It is a good idea to talk to the Council before you make an application. This may save you long delays later on.
In general, you will need to submit the following documents with your application: -
Generally, in addition to planning permission, commercial development requires a fire safety certificate, and
full compliance with the Building Regulations.
The Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government publishes a series of leaflets on all aspects of the planning system and these are available free of charge from the Department or from planning authorities. They cover a whole range of issues including how to make a planning application, lodge an
appeal, requirements for change of use, building extensions, in a word everything you need to know but didn’t know who to ask.
These leaflets can be obtained from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Custom House, Dublin 1. Tel. 1890 202021. They can also be downloaded from http://www.environ.ie.