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Conservatory Planning Permission



Where to build your new Conservatory?

Conservatories have traditionally been built on the back of properties, leading out to the garden, although it is possible to have them on the side or even the front. Since they are designed to feel part of the garden they are almost exclusively built on ground floor level, although there is no real reason (apart from planning implications) why they cannot be built on an upper level, depending on the design of your house.

Different aspects bring with them different advantages and disadvantages, and careful consideration should be given to the direction of your proposed conservatory at the planning stage.
East-facing - This will get the sun in the morning so is ideal for a breakfast room. It will not overheat in the middle of the day or evening.

West-facing - This will get the sun from late afternoon onwards and provides good conditions for many plants.
North-facing - This will get angled sun at the start and end of the day and, although it will not overheat in the summer, it could be bitterly cold in the winter. Unless you are using the conservatory solely as a summer sun-room, give careful consideration to how you are going to heat it.
South-facing - This is excellent for catching the sun but will be unbearably hot in the summer with the sun overhead at the hottest time of the day. Give careful thought to ventilation and blinds.

There are a number of classes of new buildings or extensions of existing buildings that do not need Building Regulations approval. Amongst those are conservatories and porches, which are exempt from the Regulations provided that they meet the following criteria:

• They are built at ground level

• They are single storey

• They have a floor area not greater than 30mē

• The glazing records with Part N of the Regulations i.e. protection against impact

• Any electrical work that has its own ring main or is extended from a room classed as a special location i.e. kitchen complies with Part P of the Building Regulations – Electrical Safety

For the purposes of deciding whether the addition of a conservatory to an existing home requires Building Regulations approval, there is no definition of what a conservatory is. If however, no separation will remain between the existing home and the new conservatory it is likely that the conservatory will be judged as an conventional extension of the home, for which Building Regulations approval will be required.

As a starting point, the following are some general points to consider:

Detached or semi-detached houses can be extended by up to 70 cubic metres or 115% of the house's total volume, whichever is greater. Remember, however, that this is the total of all extensions so you need to take into account any existing extensions to the property. If your conservatory falls under this volume limit after taking any other extensions into account then you may not need planning permission.

Similar provisions apply to terraced or end of terrace houses but the limit is reduced to 50 cubic metres .

Planning permission is unlikely to be granted if the conservatory covers more than half of the garden. Likewise, conservatories should not normally be 20m or less from the road or public footpath.
If your conservatory juts out from the house by more than 3m, planning permission is likely to be denied on the grounds that it will affect your neighbours' enjoyment of their property. Similar rules apply to conservatories built within 2m of the boundary if the highest point is 4m or more.
If your house is a Grade II listed building or in a conservation area, you may be obliged to use hardwood and glass rather than modern materials.

Additional Considerations:

When Local Authorities are looking at planning applications they will consider how your proposed development impacts on your neighbours and seek to ensure that their environment is not negatively affected by your conservatory. Try to keep your planned conservatory to a reasonable size - in particular try to keep your projection to less than 3m.

If you are fortunate enough not to require planning permission, consider getting written confirmation of this anyway from the Local Authority planning office. Should you wish to sell your property in the future, having this will ensure a smoother transaction.

Remember that just because you don't need official planning permission, you may still need to apply to the developer or builder of your property for permission and again you should retain written records of all communications and transactions in case you wish to sell the property in the future.

This information is based on legislation in effect as of January 2005 and is subject to change. Legislation may differ by region and country so please always check with your local planning officer before committing to any project.

Height Limits
You will need to apply for planning permission before building an extension to your house if:
the extension is higher than the highest part of the roof of the "original house"; or
any part of the extension is more than 4 metres high and is within 2 metres of the boundary of your property. (Loft conversions and dormers have separate rules, explained later.)
You should measure the height of buildings from the ground level immediately next to it. If the ground is uneven, you should measure from the highest part of the surface, unless you are calculating volume.

Volume calculator


To download a copy of the Building Regulations Explanatory Booklet, please click here.

Building Regulations Disclaimer


The Building Regulations content on the provides you with a practical level of guidance to enable you to better understand how the Building Regulations might impact on a building project you are doing or considering. 

This is not a definitive interpretation of the Building Regulations. Unless you have a reasonable working knowledge of building construction it would be advisable before any work is started to obtain appropriate professional advice which is relevant to the building work you want to carry out (e.g. from an architect, a structural engineer, a building surveyor, a heating engineer or replacement window specialist) and to choose a registered builder, or a registered installer, to carry out the work.



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