Monday 8th April, 2013
Most people know that approval is needed when extending their property, but did you know that both planning permission and building regulation approval may be needed? And did you know that many conservatories may be exempt from both?
Planning permission covers the appearance of the property, and the effect that any development will have on neighbouring properties and the local environment as a whole. Whether planning permission is necessary for work depends on a number of quite complicated statutory regulations, and it's wise to get planning permission in place before moving onto building regulations.
Building regulations are health and safety based rules. Essentially, they're about ensuring that buildings are constructed properly, being certain that the work being carried out is safe and energy efficient and, depending on the type of building, may also include the requirement of provisions for disabled access. Building regulations carry a wide remit, including structural safety, ventilation, electrical safety and drainage, to name but a few.
When it comes to installing a conservatory, it's worth double checking current legislation before you get too far ahead in your planning. In England, an application for planning permission won't be needed for a conservatory, providing that certain limits and conditions are obeyed.
These conditions tend to focus on the size and shape of the conservatory that is being planned. If it covers no more than half the area of land around the original property, falls within permitted height regulations, does not extend too far back and fits with other size-related planning regulations, then it is likely that permission will not be needed.
The great news is that, in addition to being exempt from planning permission in many cases, a number of conservatories will also be exempt from building regulations. If you're building a new structural opening between your house and your conservatory, approval will be required. However, providing your conservatory is less than 30m square and built at ground level, separated from your house by external walls, doors or windows, has an independent heating system and has electricity, doors and windows that comply with building regulations, then approval should not be needed.