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What is the Difference Between Planning Permission and Building Regulations?

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Understanding the Difference Between Planning Permission and Building Regulations


When installing a new conservatory, extension or orangery, there is an age-old question asked by many: do you need planning permission for a conservatory? 

Whether you’re planning on adding a conservatory, extension or orangery to your home, you’ll want reassurance that your structure meets regulations. That way, you’ll be able to enjoy the many benefits of your new room without worrying about whether it’s compliant.

Understanding the difference between planning permission and building regulations will be crucial when designing your new conservatory, extension or orangery. In this short guide, we’ll explain the difference and explain how to build a room that meets existing criteria.

Conservatory Roof Installation


Building Regulations

Existing building regulations will come into play when considering the design and construction of your new room. This legislation is primarily concerned with the health and safety of those people who’ll be using your new conservatory, orangery or extension.

Building regulations also cover important issues like access. Will people be able to enter and leave your newly-created construction safely? More generally, the facilities you provide will bear close scrutiny and issues concerning fuel and power will be examined.

Planning Permission

Planning permission is concerned with the appearance of buildings, the impact they have on their immediate environment and highway access.

Consent is normally given to build a conservatory, extension or orangery, as these structures are generally seen as permissible developments.

Sometimes There’s an Overlap

Although there is a difference between planning permission and building regulations, sometimes both will apply.

If in doubt, consult your local planning authority. Your Ultra Installer will be able to help and advise you throughout.

Planning Permission for an Extension

Planning Permission FAQs – Conservatories, Orangeries and Extensions

The same set of criteria is used to decide whether a singles-storey rear extension meets planning permission requirements. Permission is normally granted for an orangery or conservatory if it meets certain requirements, as listed below. Extensions follow the same criteria but are also more stringently measured than conservatories or orangeries by Building Regulations.

How Big Can My Conservatory or Orangery Be?

Your conservatory or orangery cannot occupy any more than half the land surrounding the original house. You’ll need to consider other structures built on your land – for example, outbuildings like sheds and greenhouses – when performing your calculations.

How Far Can My Conservatory or Orangery Extend?

How far your conservatory or orangery can extend will depend on what type of house you have. If your home is attached, then the limit is three metres. If it is a detached property, the limit increases to four metres.

Can I Add a Veranda or Balcony to My Design?

No verandas, balconies or raised platforms can be added to your design. But you’ll be able to add practical value to your new room space in other ways. Contact your nearest Ultra Installer for further guidance.

Other Exclusions

  • If you want to extend to the side of your property, it should not exceed four metres in height and exceed half the size of your house in width
  • Your new room cannot be more than a single storey in height if it is to be sited on designated land (for example, a conservation area)
  • It is not possible to extend to the front of your home; if you have a side elevation, it cannot face on to a highway
  • If you own a listed building, specialist guidance may be required
  • Flats and maisonettes follow a separate set of guidelines

The exemptions listed in this article are not exhaustive. You will need to seek advice from your local authority or Ultra Installer before instructing any work.

Planning Permission for an Orangery

Building Regulations FAQs – Conservatories, Orangeries and Extensions

Building regulations will in most cases apply if you want to build an extension. They can also apply to a conservatory or orangery.

These regulations won’t hold if your conservatory or extension is:

  • Going to be separated from the main body of your home by high quality walling and doors
  • Constructed at ground level and does not exceed a floor area greater than 30 square metres
  • Built using glass and electrical components that comply with existing legislation
  • Features a separate heating system with its own on/off controls

What if I Decide to Remove Doors from My Design Plans?

If you decide to build a conservatory or orangery without any connecting doors, you’ll be creating a structural opening that’s subject to approval by Building Regulations. As such, it will be treated more like an extension.

Where Can I Situate My Conservatory or Orangery?

You’ll need to think carefully about where your new dwelling is sited. If it is likely to prohibit access to a window, room or converted area of your home, consent to build your structure will be refused for safety reasons.

Where Can I Obtain Copies of Building Regulations?

Due to the complexity of existing regulations, you’ll probably need to refer to key documentation for help. Documentation can be found by visiting the government’s planning portal, where you can download files.


Use Our VR Tool and Scrapbook to Start Your Journey

You can’t start investigating planning permission and building regulatory guidelines until you have a design idea. Explore our site now to find out about our market-leading range of conservatories, orangeries and extensions.

Use our immersive Virtual Digital reality software to take a tour of any of our products and use hot spots to find out more about the features of the design that excites you most – you won’t need to leave the comfort of your home.

Once you’ve found some images that excite you, create a personal Scrapbook by registering with us. You can then revisit your online digital area for creative inspiration: on your laptop, tablet, PC or mobile phone.

Having decided upon a conservatory, orangery or extension design that ticks all of your boxes, you can sit down with your chosen Ultra Installer and explore your plans with them. Why not get started now?


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