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Conservatory Planning Permission
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White uPVC Edwardian P Shape Conservatory with Office Extension
White uPVC Edwardian P Shape Conservatory with Office Extension

Conservatory Planning Permission and Building Regulations

Conservatory Planning Permission and Building Regulations for Conservatories are often confused with each other.  In general terms, Planning Permission deals with the right to make changes to your home and Building Regulations refers to how those changes should be properly constructed.

A good surveyor can advise you of the need for orangery or conservatory planning permission and also whether building regulations may apply, although ultimately it is the responsibility of the home owner to ensure compliance with current regulations.

Often a minor change in design or size, or the addition or exclusion of a particular feature can be the difference between whether planning permission or building regulations approval is required for your conservatory.

Additionally, and just as importantly, a surveyor can help you to ensure that your conservatory or orangery is constructed with regard to good building practice, many characteristics of which are outside of the scope of both planning and building regulations.

Conservatory Planning Permission - Permitted Development

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.

  • No more than half the area of land around the “original house”* would be covered by additions or other buildings.
  • No extension forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway.
  • No extension to be higher than the highest part of the roof.
  • Single-storey rear extensions must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house* by more than eight metres if a detached house; or more than six metres for any other house.
    These limits were introduced on a temporary basis but have now been made permanent.
  • Maximum height of a single-storey rear extension of four metres.
  • Extensions of more than one storey must not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house* by more than three metres or be within seven metres of any boundary opposite the rear wall of the house.
  • Maximum eaves height of an extension within two metres of the boundary of three metres.
  • Maximum eaves and ridge height of extension no higher than existing house.
  • Side extensions to be single storey with maximum height of four metres and width no more than half that of the original house.
  • Roof pitch of extensions higher than one storey to match existing house.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • On Article 2(3) designated land* no permitted development for rear extensions of more than one storey.
  • On Article 2(3) designated land* no cladding of the exterior.
  • On Article 2(3) designated land* no side extensions.

* 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.

* Article 2(3) designated land is land within:

  • a conservation area; or
  • an area of outstanding natural beauty; or
  • an area specified by the Secretary of State for the purposes of enhancement and protection of the natural beauty and amenity of the countryside; or
  • the Broads; or
  • a National Park; or
  • a World Heritage Site

Please note: The permitted development allowances described here apply to houses and not to flats and maisonettes.

In addition to conservatory planning permission, where work is proposed to a listed building, listed building consent may also be required.

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This information is provided in good faith but is not a definitive source of legal information. It relates to the planning regime for England and policy in Wales and Scotland may differ.

If in doubt contact your Local Planning Authority.

Builder’s Consent for Conservatories and Orangeries

Another consideration regarding conservatory planning permission, particularly if your property is relatively new, is that of builder’s consent. Often when a new development or estate of houses is constructed, covenants are placed on the deeds of properties which restrict the types of things which can be done in the vicinity.

Sometimes developers will restrict the parking of caravans, boats and commercial vehicles on driveways but more importantly they will regularly include a requirement for builder’s consent to be granted prior to any extensions to properties being commenced.

Usually the covenants only last for five years but it is certainly worth checking to avoid potential problems at a later date. The builder will typically request a drawing of the proposed conservatory together with an administration fee but the applications are rarely refused due to the threat of a potentially expensive legal challenge.

Building Regulations for Conservatories and Orangeries

In addition to meeting conservatory planning permission requirements, Building Regulations approval may apply to extensions to your home, though conservatories and orangeries are normally exempt when: –

• They are built at ground level and are less than 30 square metres of internal floor area

• The conservatory or orangery is partitioned from the rest of the house by external quality walls, doors or windows

• There is an independent heating system installed, with separate temperature and on / off controls

Other Considerations

• Glazing and any fixed electrical installations must comply with the applicable Building Regulations requirements.

• Any new structural opening (or widening of an existing one) between the house and the proposed conservatory or orangery will require Building Regulations approval even if the conservatory or orangery itself is exempt.