A conservatory is one of the many great ways of creating extra room in your house. Usually cheaper than traditional rear extensions, conservatories have been a budget-friendly way of adding value to a home. Everyone can identify one, but the process of creating a conservatory is not clear to many.
Of all the questions about conservatories that people have, that of whether planning permission is needed tops the list. This post looks at the requirements for planning a conservatory and answers the most pertinent questions on building one.
Do conservatories need planning permissions?
To simply answer the question: in most cases, you would not need planning permission to build a conservatory. This is because adding a conservatory is permitted under the development rules of the UK. Planning permission for any other building or refurnishing land project is required by the law.
Nevertheless, this rule, allowing for conservatories to be built without requiring permission, is subjected to certain conditions. According to the planning authority of the UK Government, extensions can be built if;
- Half of the land area surrounding the original house or less is covered by other additions or buildings.
- The rear extension of a single-storey detached building does not protrude past 4m of the original building’s rear wall. If the building is already attached, then the extension should not be more than 3m beyond the rear wall.
- Extensions in any building that has more than one storey should not extend by more than 3m beyond the original house’s rear wall. In the same vein, the extension should be less than 7m of any boundary opposite the house’ rear wall.
- No extension in a house is further than the side or principal elevation that faces a highway.
- The height of the rear extension of a single-storey building is 4m or less.
- The maximum ridge height and eaves of a house’s extension are not higher than that of the original house.
- The roof pitch of a building’s extension that is higher than one storey matches the original house.
- No extension of a building is higher than the highest roof part in the original house.
- There are no raised platforms, verandas or balconies in the extension.
- Side extensions are only single storey, with 4m as the maximum height and a width equal to that of the original house or less.
An orangery is very similar in development factors to a conservatory. However, if your orangery does not fall under the permitted development rules, then planning permission will be required.
When do I need planning permission for conservatories, and what does it entail?
The ‘permitted development rights’ granted by the UK Parliament allows homeowners to build conservatories without planning permission. However, this conservatory must not impact your neighbours negatively. These rights are included in the Neighbour Consultation Scheme.
A single-storey extension or conservatory can be built if;
- It has a maximum height of 4 metres. If the conservatory is within 2 metres of an opposite boundary, then the height should be 3 metres or less.
- The conservatory or single-storey extension covers half the garden or less.
- The top point or roof ridge is placed lower than the property roof’s eaves.
- Extensions at the side do not extend beyond half the width of the building.
It is important to note that a few buildings have the permitted development rights removed from them. In such houses, homeowners need planning permission to build a conservatory or extension. To be on the safe side, check with your developer to know if a restriction is placed on your property.
The permitted development rules described do not apply to flats, terraced houses or maisonettes. Planning permission should be obtained for such buildings.
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An explanation of conservatory building regulations
Building regulations are standards that conform to the health and safety of buildings and their users. These regulations define how structures need to be built with respect to thermal efficiency and impact on the environment.
A separate issue from the Planning Permission that homeowners must comply with before a conservatory is added is the Building Regulations. A conservatory will not be subject to building regulations if;
- At least 80% of its roof is translucent.
- It is 30 square metres or less in size
- The conservatory is 1 metre or more from a boundary
- The conservatory has its heating system that is not part of the central system.
- It is not elevated.
An open-plan conservatory has a slightly different building regulation. To get the go-ahead to embark on this project, you must show that the new opening will not result in less energy efficiency for the conservatory or house.
When an application is required, you will be mandated to submit working and structural drawings, as well as heat-loss calculations. Your local authorities will evaluate the installation and see to approve it or not.
Some other things to remember when planning to build a conservatory
Waterboard authority approval:
This approval is relevant only to people who intend to build their conservatories within 3 metres of a sewer. Permission must be gotten from the water board authority in the area first. After the completion of the project, a control officer will assess and inspect it to make sure that it has not damaged the sewer.
A restrictive covenant is an agreement that outlines the ways for which a property may be used. If a property has a restrictive covenant, you may add the extension to your house, if it fits your house’s overall look.
Conservation areas and listed buildings:
The listed buildings in a conservation space must abide by the rules that restrict the refurbishment that can be done on the building’s exterior. All alterations, like conservatories, should be in line with the building.
Party wall approval:
A party wall approval is usually required before building a conservatory or extension in Wales or England. The requirement is necessary when you want to excavate close to another’s property. You neighbours must be notified in writing two months prior to new construction or change in the boundary.
What is a lawful development certificate?
When using your permitted development rights, you must have a lawful development certificate. It is a document that shows that at the time, construction was made, your house was legal. This certificate protects the homeowner in case the rules of the permitted development rights change.
For example, homeowners with a lawful development certificate did not have much to worry about when the increase in the limit for houses took effect on the 30th of May 2019. It is now 6 metres for attached houses and 8 metres for detached ones.
How to apply for a development certificate
To apply for a development certificate, you will need;
- A form
- Proof of the information included in the application form
- A location plan
- A fee
The approval for a development certificate can take up to two months to be delivered. However, as long as you have all the requirements, there is nothing to worry about.
How to apply for planning permission
If your house does not come under the permitted development rights, you will have to apply through planning permission. While the process is seen as a challenging one, with your architect with you, you will be relieved of much of the stress.
Knowing whether your property comes under the permitted development guidelines can save you a lot of trouble in the future. It is advisable that you sort out problems relating to building regulations, and planning permissions before you begin construction.