Applying for Planning Permission in Northern Ireland
The Planning System provides society with a way of controlling how we use land, what we build and where we build it. The Department of The Environment prepares and adopts documents called development plans, consisting of maps and written policies, which show where and in what quantity various types of development will be permitted. 
The Department also administer a development management system to make sure that proposed development conforms to the development plan, current planning policies and other "material" considerations.
The development management system helps to balance our need for uses of land and buildings such as homes, offices, factories and schools with our wish to protect and improve the environment.
Decisions on whether to allow proposals to build on land or change the use of buildings or land are made by the Department.
In determining whether, or not, to grant planning permission, the Department will refer to a number of planning policy documents which include the:
and Supplementary Planning Guidance such as
Basic rule of thumb:

Everything inside a town, village, city etc boundary or limit is classed as “within development limits”.
Everything outside of this is classed  as “the countryside; ie PPS21”.

Any works to an existing dwelling whether inside development limits or in open countryside is determined under “homeowners”.

Contact FmK to discuss your own specific project and whether you need planning, and if so, which rules apply.