Development Blog 4th August 2020

SHD planning application websites

I built a platform for building and launching SHD planning application websites. Visit for more information.

The Strategic Housing Development, or SHD, application process is an initiative by An Bórd Pleanála. It was set up to fast-track applications for planning permission, specifically for residential complexes of more than 100 units and student accommodation that provide more than 200 bed spaces. Read more here.

As part of each SHD application, a building contractor must make documents for each building proposal available to the public, usually via a website. These documents should provide a high level of detail regarding the nature of the construction work and any impact it may have on surrounding areas. is a state of the art web platform for launching websites that are specifically tailored to the SHD Application process. The platform was built by myself in collaboration with The Website Shop, Dublin.

The Old WordPress Solution

Almost every SHD website solution is built on the WordPress content management platform. WordPress is aging technology and its websites are easily broken, fequently hacked and generally un-optimised & un-reliable. These kinds of problems usually go unnoticed by small business owners running non-critical brochure-style websites. A planning application website, on the otherhand, needs to be reliable and its documents must be accessible at all times. The SHD application process is quite strict and building developments of this scale usually involve investments of millions of euros. There's no room for error.

In addition, WordPress websites are quite tricky for a non-technical person to manage. The web agency may be the only people with the know-how to make changes to the contractor's WordPress-built application website. This could become a major problem if the agency is unavailable near the time of the application's review.

The Concept For Our Platform

My partners at The Website Shop Dublin recognised the need for a reliable web platform that streamlines the creation and management of planning application websites. They knew that I was working with technologies that could fulfill this requirement, having collaborated on many projects in the past, so together, we came up with a solution.

First and foremost, our platform needed to be reliable. As mentioned, a lot of money is usually involved in planning applications.

Secondly, the platform needed to be easy to use. While we are usually available to help our clients manage their application website, we still needed to ensure that anyone can manage their application's documents, on the off-chance that we are unavailable at a crucial time. features:

  • Tailored in line with An Bórd Pleanála's requirements for an SHD application.

  • Tried and tested by many SHD applicants.

  • Built from the ground up on a modern web development framework.

  • Utilises AWS (Amazon) Ireland-based cloud hosting and file storage.

  • Gives full control to the building contractor / SHD applicant.

  • Provides an easy to use drag and drop interface for uploading and categorising documents.

  • Easily handles large file uploads. Blueprint files can be huge!

  • Produces lightning fast websites, with speedy file downloads.

  • It's not WordPress!

  • After over one year of operation we have achieved 99.99%+ website uptime for every one of our planning application websites.

You can visit the system at

The platform is ready to use, so do get in touch through our contact form if you are interested in trying the system out for your next SHD application. You can also contact myself, Stuart Cusack, directly through my contact form.