Strategic Housing Development (SHD)

The Strategic Housing Development (SHD) process was introduced in 2017 as part of Rebuilding Ireland to help expedite the planning application process and accelerate the delivery of larger housing and student accommodation developments. Developments comprising of over 100 residential units and/or student accommodation comprising 200 or more bed spaces are eligible to go through the SHD process for planning approval.

The SHD application process consists of three main stages as follows:

Stage 1 – Pre-Application Consultation

The first part of the stage 1 application is to engage with the relevant Local Authority regarding the proposed development. The application is made through a formal section 247 submission and subsequent meeting with the Local Authority. Usually, at this stage, the design team and client will have the proposed scheme designed to a preliminary level of detail. The civil engineering items include the proposed layouts for services such as water main and surface, wastewater drainage and preliminary traffic layouts with sightlines and roads and footpaths in compliance generally with relevant guidance documents (DMURS, etc). A preliminary engineering report must also be provided. Other disciplines, including architecture, landscape architecture and planning reports, are brought to a similar level of detail to complete the submission. Following the initial planning submission, an S247 meeting is held to discuss the proposal with the design team and provide comments and queries.

Stage 2 – Pre-Application

At stage 2, the applicant’s design team typically amend the design to incorporate any comments or suggestions deemed appropriate following the S247 meeting, and the applicant requests a pre-application consultation. The level of detail of the pack is now much closer to a final planning submission. Following a review period, the planning authority then submits a formal opinion to An Bord Pleanala and includes the minutes from the S247 meeting. A tripartite meeting is held between An Bord Pleanala, the Local Authority and the prospective applicant (including the design team).  Following the meeting, An Bord Pleanala will issue an opinion on the development.

Stage 3 – Planning Application

Following a review of all documentation provided, including the Local Authority and An Bord Pleanala opinions, the design team and client undertake final amendments to the scheme to finalise the planning pack for final submission. Once submitted, there are statutory processing times following which An Bord Pleanala will issue a decision.

Over the past three years, ORS has provided civil design services on numerous SHD planning applications of varying scales and smaller-scale traditional planning applications, resulting in the delivery of circa 2,000 – 3,000 much needed new residential units.

We have seen the process to be very beneficial with a number of key benefits as follows:

  1. The 3 stage process allows for a good level of coordination of all consultants, which is a vital component to ensure a thorough and well thought out solution.
  2. The S247 and stage 2 tripartite meetings provide a good forum for engagement and discussion with the relevant authorities and allow the client and design team to explain the design considerations, and provide an opportunity to incorporate feedback and amend the design for the final submission.

If you require civil and/or traffic engineering services on a future residential planning application, contact Mark Heslin, Civil and Structural Lead and Chartered Engineer, who will be happy to discuss your requirements.

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