conservatory building regulations

Under the Building Act of 1984, there are several conservatory building regulations that have to be followed. All the regulations have been enforced to protect safety and health of people who reside in this building to conserve energy and to provide facilities for disabled people. In general words, the building regulations for conservatories are functional requirements that have to be met when constructing a conservatory. On the other hand, conservatory planning permission is required when it has to be extended.

What is the difference between planning permission and building regulations for conservatories?

In the most general terms, planning permission takes into account the effect of a new conservatory or home extension on surrounding properties and homes. As for the building regulations, they define the construction of the structure in terms of electrical works, thermal efficiency, size, and the like.

Do I need planning permission for a conservatory?

No conservatory planning permission is required if all of the following terms are true. In this case, the structure is exempted from building regulations.

  • The conservatory is a single story structure.
  • The conservatory construction is such that it occupies an area less than 30 square metres.
  • The conservatory is separated from the rest of the house by a door that meets the requirements of an external door.
  • The conservatory should be constructed in a manner that does not allow it to hinder the exit from any escape window or door.
  • If there is any heating installed, it should be separate from the one in the main dwelling.
  • If radiators are installed, they must be thermostatically controlled and feature an ON-OFF control mechanism.
  • The roof of the conservatory must be translucent and more than 75% of it must be glazed.
  • At least 50% of the area of external walls must be glazed. In addition to this, the doors and windows must also be glazed till a height of 800 mm above the floor level.
  • The conservatory must not have drainage facility such as washing machine, WC, or even a sink.

Please note that all conservatory glazing must satisfy the clauses outlined in Part N of the Building Regulations code. Also, even if your conservatory is exempted from building regulations, you will need an approval for any new opening that is constructed between the conservatory and the house.

View also this excellent visual guide form the planning portal here

If approval is required, what conservatory building regulations apply?

Energy

The government of our country is devoted to conserving energy and reducing the carbon footprint. As such, you have to glaze your conservatory as per the rules. Calculations in this regard have to be provided to the authorities. Also, all doors and windows must meet the set levels of U values. Wood, uPVC and metal glazing meet this criteria. The U value of wood and uPVC is 2.0 and metal has a U value of 2.2.

Modification

You will need approval if your conservatory has an opening wider than the one in your original house well. Consent is required in this case because a significant part of the structure has to be altered.

Safety Glazing

Your conservatory may be exempted from building regulations, but you will still have to make sure that glazing for some doors and windows is laminated or strengthened safety glass. Generally, safety glass is required for the doors, side panels and windows that have glass within 80 mm of the floor level.

Other Regulations

There are some additional building regulations for conservatories which may apply. These are as follows.

  • Foundation designs
  • Dampness prevention
  • Proper ventilation

Further advice…

It is not advised that you construct a conservatory where there will be access to windows, serving rooms or ladder access. This is especially the case if the windows are going to help with escape or even rescue if there is a fire. Any new structural opening that is between the conservatory and the house will require approval and this is even the case if the conservatory is an exempt structure.

Estimates on the performance of the expected materials will need to comply with both the building regulations and practical examples. Some of the most common building situations can be found in the approved document’s section of the regulation website.

You do not need to apply for planning permission if you are having any repairs done, or any maintenance. If you are making minor improvements, for example repainting the window frame or door frame then you will not need to apply for permission either.

If you are having new windows or doors inserted and if these are of a similar appearance, then you will also not need permission for this. If you are installing a bay window then this could be treated as an extension and therefore you would need to go through planning permission to get this installed. If the chosen windows are upper-floor side in elevation then they have to be obscure glazed and non-opening if they are more than 1.7m above floor level.

New lights or even skylights won’t require any planning permission if they are not 150mm beyond the plane of the slope or if they are not taller than the highest section of the roof. It is possible that you will need to apply for planning permission for these works if your council has an Article 4 direction or if you live in a listed building.

How long it is required to obtain planning permission?

You will need to fill out an application form to request conservatory planning permission and this can take between 8 and 10 weeks from the date of submission. If there are any special issues related with your conservatory it may take a little while longer. The local council will send out someone to assess the plans and look at the area for your conservatory. The Building Planning Officer will come and talk to you about your conservatory.

The best way to get a conservatory built quickly is to stay within the guidelines for size but if you are unsure contact the local council and ask for some advice. Planning permission for conservatories UK outlines what you need to do to stay within the required guidelines and when you need to apply for planning permission.

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