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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 conservatory and orangery 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.

Download our check lists to find out if you need planning permission or building regulations:



Planning Permission Conservatory

Building Regulations and Planning Permission

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.

Conservatories are exempt from Building Regulation control providing they comply with the following:

The internal floor area must not exceed 30m
The conservatory is separated from the house by either external walls, doors or windows
It must be built at ground level
There is an independent heating system, separated from the house system
The glazing must comply with the safety requirements of Building Regulations part N
75% of the roof must be transparent or translucent

Download our check list to find out if you need building regulations:


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.

You CAN build a conservatory or single-storey extension without planning permission if:

It is a maximum height of 4m high or 3m high (if within 2m of a boundary wall).
The conservatory does not cover more than half the garden.
The roof ridge or top point is not higher than the eaves of the main property’s roof.
A side extensions does not extend beyond half the width of the house.

Read more on:

Orangery Planning Permission

Extension Planning Permission

Conservatory Roof Planning Permission

Download our check list to find out if you need planning permission:


Conservatory Prices
Orangery Planning Permission

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 & Building Regulations FAQs

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 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.

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


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.

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.

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.

modern conservatories UK

Use Our VR Tool and Scrapbook to Start Your Journey

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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