Who is responsible for conducting the planning search?
The responsibility for conducting a planning search during the purchase of a house in Ireland typically falls on the buyer or their solicitor.
The search is done to ensure that the property is in compliance with local planning regulations and to check for any outstanding planning applications or decisions that may affect the property.
The solicitor would typically conduct the search and review the results with the buyer, and any issues identified during the search would be discussed with the seller or their solicitor to be addressed before the sale is completed.
How can your surveyor help your solicitor?
If the solicitor receives any certificates of compliance or exemption, these can be provided to the surveyor before the survey takes place. The surveyor will then, during the survey, give their opinion on whether or not the works carried out to the property match what is outlined on the certificate.
The surveyor will also note on their written report any elements of the property which do not meet building regulations, or if there are any alterations to the property which require a certificate of compliance or exemption. e.g a front porch added after the original construction.
A surveyor does not conduct a planning search.
How are planning searches conducted?
There are several ways a solicitor or company can conduct planning searches.
Since 2010, all planning applications in Ireland are submitted to MyPlan.ie which is an entity of the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
It should be noted that all planning applications from 2010 are recorded here. If the property was built in 2010 but the planning permission had been received in 2008, you will not find it on MyPlan.ie.
Each local authority is responsible for processing and approving/declining planning applications (unless An Bord Pleanála are involved too!).
Every local authority will have an online portal where you can conduct searches. However, not all planning applications are recorded and even those who do may not have all associated documents scanned up yet. So you may be able to find the record of the application, but no details of elevations, plans etc.
If you can't find what you are looking for online, a physical search will need to be conducted with the local authority planning office. This is the most time consuming. Generally if this is the case, a specialist company can be hired to conduct the search for you.