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Planning & Building Regulations

Whether you need Planning Permission or Building Regs approval can be very confusing when planning your new conservatory. Below we have provided some useful information to guide you through. However if in any doubt then your local building control office can confirm any details that may not be covered or specific to your area.

Planning Permission in England & Wales

Under new regulations that came into effect from 1 October 2008 adding a conservatory to your house is considered to be permitted development, not needing an application for planning permission, subject to the limits and conditions listed below.

Please note: the permitted development allowances described here apply to houses not flats, maisonettes or other buildings.

Where work is proposed to a listed building, listed building consent may be required.

*The term "original house" means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if it was built before that date). Although you may not have built an extension to the house, a previous owner may have done so.

* Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.

This link to the Planning Portal website provides access to various interactive guides.

Planning Permission Scotland

In Scotland you will require a building warrant before commencing any work even if planning permission is not required. You will find some helpful resources by following these links:

Scottish Borders Council
The Scottish Government Website
Planning Procedure in Scotland

Building Regs

Conservatories are normally exempt from building regulations when:
  1. They are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres in floor area
  2. At least half of the new wall and three quarters of the roof is either glazed or translucent material
  3. The conservatory is separated from the house by external quality doors, windows & walls
  4. Glazing and any fixed electrical installations comply with the applicable building regulations requirements (i.e. Part N – ‘Glazing and Part P – ‘Electrical Safety’).
You are advised not to construct conservatories where they will restrict ladder access to windows serving rooms in roof or loft conversions, particularly if any of the windows are intended to help escape or rescue if there is a fire.

Any new structural opening between the conservatory and the existing house will require building regulations approval, even if the conservatory itself is an exempt structure.

IMPORTANT: Future Proposed Changes to Building Regulations in England & Wales

There is a proposed intention to include conservatories under building regulations by October 2010 and you should bear this in mind if you are planning to add a conservatory in the near future. 

The proposed revision to document L of the Building Regulations being considered by Government will require higher insulation values for conservatories, and compliance will need to be certified by the installer or local authority once the project is completed. In the same way that replacement double glazing in your home has required compliance with document L via Local Building Authority or a competent persons scheme such as Fensa or Certass.

The proposed revision also states that the area of transparent or translucent material in the external envelope must be more than 150% of the floor area.

3m x 3m Conservatory
Floor Area = 9m²
Glazed area of Conservatory must be at least 13.5m²

With this in mind then careful consideration must be giving as to the design of your new DIY Conservatory, which we can guide you though.

Please note. All the information provided above regarding Planning or Building Regs applies to England and Wales only. Scotland, Northern Ireland and Eire will differ and we advise that you contact your local Building control dept and discuss your proposed project before any work is carried out.

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