Planning Permission For Conservatories and Other Extensions

The Rules and Regulations You Need To Know When Extending Your Home

Conservatories are popular, because of its comfortable way of enjoying nature, but they are also used to live in every day of the year. Before you start planning on building a conservatory or extension, you should first check the local regulations, because you can be sure there will be rules to abide to. Regulations are very strict and when you break some of these rules you may be forced to pay a fine or remove your structure and restore things to their original state.

It makes no difference whether it is a simple pond, kennel, cabin or something bigger, such as a swimming pool, pool house, sauna or garage. All are subject to regulations, depending on the area you are living in. Listed buildings, buildings in conservation or designated areas, such as World Heritage Sites, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are the most affected by these rules. It's cheaper to extend a house than to buy a new one, so many homeowners choose this option. These extensions can be a conservatory or extension or a loft conversion.

To keep building practices from getting out of hand, planning requirements are tough to ensure conformity to surrounding houses and the neighbourhood. Planning permission must not be confused with Building Regulations approval. An example is underpinning foundations. You won't necessarily need planning permission, but you will need Building Regulations approval, because safety plays a big role in this case.

Planning and Building Guidelines

Certain classes of new buildings and extensions that are exempt from Building Regulations approval are garden sheds, summerhouses, domestic garages, conservatories, porches, carports, covered yards and covered ways. These may require planning permission and are subject to meeting certain criteria on construction, size and position relative to boundaries.

When keeping to the basic guidelines you don't need planning permission. We will be looking at the conditions that will require permission.

When it's not built at ground level and if it's more than 30 square metres in floor area or if the conservatory or extension is not separated from the house by an external quality door, patio door or French door, you will need permission. Also when more than 50% of the land around the original house is covered in building or when it faces any roads, On a detached property it must not exceed a depth of four metres, including ground floor, or three metres in the case of a semi-detached property. The height of the structure must not exceed 4 metres and also no more than 50% of the width of the original house. A rear extension must also not extend more than three metres beyond the rear wall of an original attached house or four metres of a detached house.

Additional Building Requirements

No less than 50% of the area that will form the external boundary or edge of the extension must be glazed and 75% of the roof area must be covered with either polycarbonate or glass. The electrical installation and glazing must comply with IEE and building regulations. Also to be noted is that conservatories should not be built where it will hamper ladder access to the windows of loft conversions, because they are partly meant to serve as a fire escape.

If your house is a Grade II listed building, it may require a hardwood conservatory with a glass roof.

When you plan to make alterations to your roof then anything projecting more than 150mm from it will require permission,

Inserting a roof light is not included and if you do a complete reroof you also won't need permission, unless there's anything higher than the existing roof. Also excluded are double-glazing and replacing doors or windows in non-designated areas. Solar panel projections may be problematic on designated land, as well as satellite dishes. Wall insulation is also excluded if you don't change the appearance of the house, but check for conservation or designated areas.

Other limitations include maximum eaves height of three metres when within two metres of the boundary and a maximum eaves and ridge height of the extension not exceeding that of the existing house.

Verandas, balconies or raised platforms require permission. Cladding of the exterior and side extensions also requires permission, if on designated land. This include tiles, pebbledash, timber, render, stone and artificial stone. Since the 1st October 2008, paving over gardens has also been added.

‘Original house' means as it was on the 1st of July 1948, if it existed then. If a previous owner did some alterations or extensions, it will not be regarded as original. When you are in doubt, always ask your local planning officer for clarity and get it in writing. If you have a letter of lawful development from the council you won't have a problem proving compliance when you want to sell your property in future.

"We had started building our modest 3mx4m conservatory when the planning inspector came round. Our estate was built on old hospital grounds, partly green belt, so every extension needs planning permission for every house on the estate! Luckily the planning officer says our extension is ok."