What Is Needed To Build A House In Jamaica | American HWY

What is Needed to Build a house?

Simple House Building / November 12, 2023

If you wish to build a house, you must obtain planning permission from your local authority before you start construction. The law requires that you need planning permission for virtually every significant development. It is important to be aware from the start therefore, that if you fail to obtain planning permission where it is required, you may run the risk of penalties which can carry very heavy fines and even imprisonment.

You do not have to consult the planning authority before applying for planning permission, but it is usually very helpful to discuss anything you are unsure about. This in turn, may save you a great deal of wasted time later on.

The overall plan for the area where you wish to build your home is called the development plan. This plan is drawn up by your local authority and sets out your local authority's objectives for the use of particular areas where you live (for example, residential areas, industrial areas, agricultural areas). You should look at the development plan before you make an application for planning permission.

If you need to clear a site first, you will need planning permission if you are proposing to:

  • Make or widen an access onto a public road, or
  • Demolish a structure that was last used as a residence, or
  • Demolish a building in a terrace, or a building that is attached to another building in separate ownership.


You must give a public notice of your proposals before making an application for planning permission. This must be done by placing a notice in a locally circulating newspaper (your local authority will have a list) and putting up a site notice which can be clearly read. You will find details of information that must be contained in the notices and the prescribed format of the notice in the planning application form.

You must get the application to the local authority within 2 weeks of the notice appearing in the local newspaper. The site notice must be put up on or before the day you make the application and stay there for at least 5 weeks afterwards. (Please note: 9 days over Christmas, from 24 December to 1 January, are not taken into account when calculating the 5-week period).

You must not start building before you receive the grant of permission.

Sometimes planning permission is subject to conditions, which may require changes to your proposals.

Planning permission normally lasts for 5 years.

If the local authority refuses your application, they will give you the reasons for this, and you then in turn, have one month to appeal this decision to An Bord Pleanála. You can read more in our document about appealing a decision on planning permission.


You have to pay a fee to your local authority with your planning application. The current fee for an application to build a house is €65.

You may also be required to make a contribution to the construction of any road, water supply or sewerage works, which may be necessary.

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