Self-builds get smaller in ROI

Self-builders in ROI built smaller homes in 2023 as compared to 2018, and planning applications experienced a dip too, according to a new report.

In this article we cover:

  • Details of the report
  • Planning permission: how many self-builds got planning in 2021, 2022 and 2023
  • House sizes for the years 2018 to 2023
  • Overall industry trends and where to next, including modern methods of construction

ROI Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, Paschal Donohoe, unveiled an in-depth analysis of the construction sector’s performance and capacity.

The Build 2024 Report, released on Tuesday, June 11, provides insights into various facets of the construction and built environment sector, including costs, planning, skills, productivity and sustainability.

Decline in number of planning permissions

One significant trend highlighted in the report is a marked decline in the number of planning permissions (PPs) granted for one-off housing in the three regions outside Dublin, with the Northern and Western regions experiencing the largest decreases.

Number of planning permissions by construction type, 2018-2023

The report indicates that in 2021, one-off housing accounted for 59 per cent of all planning permissions in Ireland, but by 2023, this percentage fell to 45 per cent, representing a 14 per cent overall decrease.

Size of one-off houses is getting smaller

The report also highlights a reduction in the average floor area for one-off housing over the five-year period from Q4 2018 to Q4 2023. The average size decreased by 11sqm, from 237sqm to 226sqm, reflecting a 4.64 per cent reduction.

Average floor area (sqm) for which planning permission granted per housing unit,

Overall industry trends positive

Despite the challenges faced by one-off housing, there are positive trends in the wider construction sector for 2022 and 2023, including an increase in planning permissions for housing development units, upgrading of homes to a Building Energy Rating rating of B2 or above and a rise in construction-related apprentice registrations.

Minister Donohoe emphasised the importance of ongoing collaboration between the public and private sectors to enhance efficiency and productivity in the construction sector.

“It is vital to maintain the existing momentum and focus on measures that can assist in removing bottlenecks to delivering on the priorities outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP),” the Minister stated.

He highlighted the role of Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) in increasing the output of the construction industry.

“Evidence suggests that an MMC approach to building has the potential to increase the speed of delivery of new homes, reduce costs, and advance improvements in quality and energy efficiency,” the Minister said.

He added: “Government is investing €165 billion up to 2030 under the NDP, and this report provides a very useful insight into the trends and initiatives underway to increase productivity through innovation and digital adoption to meet our NDP delivery ambitions.”

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Heather Campbell

Written by Heather Campbell

Heather is a freelance writer based near Kilkenny city. She has over 20 years’ experience writing for various newspapers and magazines such as the Belfast Telegraph. Living and working abroad for a number of years, she loves exploring new cultures and experiencing different ways of life, which often serve as inspiration for her writing, email

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