Planning Information and Building Regulations
The first thing to note is that the Planning Information and Building Regulations Information written here is just to give you a general understanding of some of the rules and regulations which may apply to your project.
You really should not rely on this as the definitive guide to all the rules, also local conditions may apply to you which don’t apply to others and the regulations get updated from time to time and may not be represented here yet.
For fuller and more detailed Planning Information we recommend that you firstly try your local authority web site, or contact your Planning Information office.
In the event that planning permission is required, you could expect it to take about 8 weeks, but it will depend upon the workload of the department you have submitted it to, so be prepared to wait a little longer if necessary.
Conservation areas, period properties, Listed buildings and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (ANOB)
The good news is that the average conservatory can usually fall into the category of a permitted development, so it not always the case that planning permission is an automatic requirement.
It is almost certain that you will need some sort of permission to do any home improvement works if your home is in a Conservation area, if it’s a period property, a listed building or if you are lucky enough to live in an area of outstanding natural beauty. – it’s essential to check Planning Information first to see it applies to you.
If you would like to skip our guide and go straight to the government, you can find a very nice, easy to use guide (animated) on the planning portal site.
To visit, click on or paste this link into your browser: www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/conservatories/miniguide
When adding a conservatory, first of all you should consider the original size of the house, as the new conservatory should not take up more than half of this area. If the property has previous extensions, these could be counted as already using part of that allowance.
- Conservatories built onto the front of the house that face onto a public road are frowned upon (unlike a porch)
- Don’t try to make the ridge line (top of roof) higher than the ridge line of the existing property
- Going back to the “original house” concept, for a conservatory at the rear of a detached house you should think about not extending it beyond 4 metres or if you have a semi-detached, keep it under 3 metres(single storey extension and keep the height under 4 metres)
- If you want to install on the side of the house, keep it to single storey, cover less than half of the size of the house and keep it under 4 metres high
- If you are going to do fancy verandas or balconies you may need planning permission, and you also need to keep an eye open for any drains or manholes that may get covered up
Not a full list, but it they are probably the first things to think about.
Don’t’ forget – you can go your local council website or the main planning portal government website for fuller guidance. www.planningportal.gov.uk
Building Regulations Information
If you exceed some or all of these parameters, then building regulations may come into force.
- You should construct at least half the outside area with glazed units and three quarters of the roof area should be glazed (polycarbonate is ok). Keep the conservatory built at ground level (not on a raised platform) and only up to 30 square metres of floor area.
- The conservatory will need to be separated from the house by a proper door – you can use tilt /turn doors, patio doors, French doors or folding doors as long as they are “external” door specifications.
- If your design preference is to have an “open plan” where the house is not separated, for example you remove an existing window and knock a wall down, that work itself could require planning permission and have to comply with building regulations.
- Keep an eye out for interfering with access to any window on upper floors that are used as fire exits.
Obviously all the glass should meet British standards and current requirements for thermal properties, and if you are fitting electrical wiring it should be installed by a qualified and certified electrician in order to meet building regulations.
- Any heating fitted should be independent of the main house and be able to be separately switched on and off.
Its common sense that if you make structural changes to your existing property those changes may need to comply with building regulations.