Building Regulations Guide for Conservatories

Want a brand new conservatory but unsure about the rules and regulations? Make sure you toe the line with this useful Building Regulations guide for Conservatories in the UK.

A new conservatory can be a great way to open up your home and make it feel larger and more spacious; plus it adds a lot of natural light to the rear of your property and is a great way to maximise on the natural heat from daylight without turning up the central heating. But before you begin, it is important that you don’t break the laws regarding new buildings or extensions – so do you need building regs for a conservatory?

Conservatories as Permitted Developments

Ordinarily, according to most UK local authorities and city councils, new conservatories are classed as “permitted developments” and consequently do not require planning permission. However, this depends on a number of conservatory regulations that you must stick to, including the following:

  • The conservatory must take up no more than half of the land immediately surrounding the property.
  • It must also extend forward no more than the original height and width of the principal elevation of the property; similarly, it must not exceed the maximum eaves or ridge height of the house.
  • It must be no higher than the highest part of the roof, and no higher than 3m when less than 2m away from the nearest border to the property.
  • It must contain no balconies, verandas or raised platforms.
  • It must not be situated within the realms of a National Park, Conservation Area or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
  • It must not be attached directly onto a listed building.

Building Regulations for Conservatories Exemptions

Just because you don’t require planning permission, however, doesn’t necessarily mean you are automatically exempt from any building regulations conservatory requirements. In fact, you are only exempt from British Building Regulations so long as…

  • The conservatory is being constructed on ground level, with a surface area of no more than 30m squared.
  • The conservatory has its own heating system that can be controlled independently of the main property’s system.
  • The glazing and any fixed electrical outlets all comply with separate British Building Regulation requirements.
  • The extension is separated from the main house by an external quality wall, door or window (or combination of any of those).

You are also advised to not block access to emergency exits from the property (i.e. upstairs windows), as well as submitting any structural openings to separate building regulations (i.e. if you choose to forgo the final option listed above), when building your new conservatory.

It is also worth noting that these rules generally apply to properties in England only; for the most up-to-date details in Wales and Scotland, or to enquire about any differences, you should get in touch with your own local authority as soon as possible.

Hiring a Professional to deal with Building Regulations Conservatories

If you are unsure of how to comply with these conservatory building regulations, then you might need to hire a project manager, professional architect or quantity surveyor to carry out a preliminary inspection of the property and proposed site beforehand. They will be able to offer expert advice on your plans for a new conservatory and double-check (according to your local council’s guidelines) the degree to which your original blueprints might require changing to fit with current UK rules regarding new conservatory builds.