Do You Need Planning Permission for a Conservatory? This can be one of the first questions asked by anybody wanting to add a conservatory to their home, and in most cases, you will not need planning permission. This is because conservatories are considered permitted development and are therefore exempt from Planning Permission. In fact, planning legislation has been relaxed in recent years making it a far more straightforward process for you to add a conservatory to your home.
This is brilliant news for you, makes your life a lot easier, and it means adding an extra room to your property doesn’t come burdened with any extra paperwork. In fact, even if you live within an elegant conservation area, you’re still fine to proceed without an application for planning permission.
When you will need Conservatory Planning Permission
There are guidelines laid down by the planning authorities that clearly state when Planning Permission is required for a new conservatory.
They include conditions such as:
- The conservatory may not take up more than half of the area around the original house – for example, the house as it was first built, or as it stood on the 1st July 1948, if it was built before that date.
- If it’s being built on the front of a house, or the side facing a highway.
There are also limits on the dimensions of the conservatory, and these vary according to the type of property.
- If the house is detached, the conservatory should be no longer 8 metres.
- If the house is semi-detached or terraced, this limit is 6 metres.
In either case, the maximum height limit is 4 metres for a single storey extension.
Planning Permission for lean-to conservatories is a little different – along with the 4 metre limit on height, the width of the conservatory can be no bigger to half that of the house.
These conditions vary slightly if building on ‘designated land’ which includes national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. For more information, you can visit The Government’s Planning Portal website, which details the current legislation.
Of course, there’s still plenty of guidance requirements so it’s well worth speaking to one of our design team to make sure that your conservatory not only looks good but that it’s actually safe too.
Do Conservatories Need Building Regulations Approval?
As discussed, conservatories are considered permitted development unless they fall within specific criteria highlighted above. The same is true of Building Regulations approval with most new conservatories being exempt. However, there are some conditions in which it will be required.
• The conservatory must be built at ground level and must be smaller than 30M2.
• It must be separated from the main house by substantial walls, doors and windows, and have its own separate heating system.
• Building Regulation approval is required if fixed electricity points or a toilet or sink are going to be installed.
If your new conservatory spans the whole width of the property or home, it must be ensured that it won’t restrict ladder access to any upstairs windows so that a fire escape route is maintained.
Even if the conservatory itself is exempt, it may still require Building Regulations approval if an opening is being created between the conservatory and the existing house, rather than having doors separating the two. In this eventuality, it will be necessary to engage the services of a registered energy assessor to carry out an energy survey. They would seek to provide a feasible solution to ensure that the new conservatory complies with Part L1B of the regulations.
They will come up with a solution for you that demonstrates that any additional heat loss from the new conservatory can be offset by making improvements to the property. For example, this could be the installation of A+ Rated windows, better insulation or replacing an old boiler for a more energy efficient one. In essence, this means the total extended property will have the same thermal efficiency that it had prior to the work being completed. This makes perfect sense because it ensures your home is as energy efficient as it was before the installation.
What’s the Difference between Planning Permission and Building Regulations?
Building Regulations are designed to ensure that buildings are designed and constructed in such a way so that they’re safe, energy efficient and accessible. For example, new builds must have robust foundations, have the correct insulation and be tested to ensure their electrics have been installed properly. For public buildings, it may be factors such as wheelchair access and the inclusion of sanitary facilities.
Planning Permission, on the other hand, is designed to preserve the area in which the building is located. After all, when changes are made to buildings, they not only impact the homeowner, they also impact on neighbours and the general public as well. Through the Planning Permission system, an unregulated free-for-all is prevented.
To summarise, Planning Permission aims to control the way that towns and cities develop and to control their appearance. Building Regulations are concerned with the specific construction techniques and materials on the building in question.
How to Apply for Planning Permission for your Conservatory
When going ahead with a project, your first point of contact is your local council’s Planning Department. In order to give them an idea of the extent of a project, it’s possible to fill out a pre-submission form detailing what the project entails. From this, they’ll be able to offer you advice about whether or not Planning Permission is required, and anticipate any potential pitfalls.
Next step is to complete an application form along with drawings demonstrating exactly what is being built. At this point, you will be required to pay a few to cover the administrative costs. The size of this fee will depend largely on the scale of the project and where it is being completed. In Wales, for example, expect to pay slightly more than in England. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own systems.
This application will then be put onto public display at the planning register at the local council’s offices. Typically, it takes around two months for a Planning Department to make a decision – but this can vary depending on the complexity of the project.
If a Planning Application is refused at the first submission, the appointed Planning Officer can be consulted to discuss if any changes can be made to secure its future success. The amended designs can be submitted within 12 months at no extra cost.
Alternatively, the decision can be appealed against. This needs to be done within 6 months of receiving the reply – though the process might take a long time, and that the deadline might expire before the appeal is dealt with.
This may seem like a minefield of information to the householder, and for this reason, it can be beneficial to employ a specialist company that is familiar with the regulations to take care of the planning and building approval if required for a nominal fee.
It is important not to start any work until it has been established whether Planning Permission and Building Regulations are required. If something is built and then declined permission, the council has the right to challenge the construction that could result in it being demolished if retrospective Planning Permission is not granted. Obtaining the statutory approvals from the council are an absolute necessity for new conservatories. The best advice is to apply well in advance.
It is key to stress that adding a conservatory to your home is typically considered permitted development and does not require Planning Permission or Building Regulations. Don’t worry if you are in any doubt as a reputable home improvements company such as Stormclad can advise you, and take care of, all Planning Permission and Building Regulations approval as part of their service when supplying a new conservatory. Stormclad is registered with the Glass & Glazing Federation (GGF) which means we have been independently inspected to ensure we work to a strict code of conduct within the industry.
Do you need help?
We’ve built countless conservatories of all sizes for all manner of properties, and understand that bespoke projects have their own quirks – which can relate to planning, too. So, our Designers are happy to explain the ins and outs of what’s required for your own project.