Window shutters. Reply to readers question in Irish Times 5th November 2015

Q I’ve been living abroad for more than 20 years. My husband and I hope to buy a small house in Dublin next year. It is very commonplace on thecontinent to have shutters on the windows of your home. Our 1930s house even has metal folding shutters for the front door. As we would not be living in the property full-time (we are still based abroad), security is essential during our absences. I spoke about shutters to a friend of mine, who said I might need planning permission? It seems very strange to me (but perhaps I’ve been out of the country too long), but I would like to know before we start house-hunting.

Shutters can be attractive on the front of a property. They are a very valuable security device, particularly if a home is to be unoccupied for any length of time. However, your friend is correct in advising you that the provision of shutters would require planning permission.

The placement of external shutters can change the appearance of a property and for this reason planning permission is required. Most local authorities have guidance about shutters on their websites. In general, they will advise about the type of shutter that is preferable to them. In all cases they will advise about the need for planning permission before shutters can be placed on a building.

Some shutters have unsightly boxes that contain the shutter when closed or rolled up. This type of shutter would be of most concern to planning authorities and the type of shutter that would be unlikely to obtain planning permission.

If placed inside the windows shutters, would not need planning permission and this may be an option for you. Before you purchase your new property you should inform your surveyors of your desire to install shutters. They will guide you in more specific detail about solutions to your security needs.

Noel Larkin is a chartered building surveyor and is a member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland