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Do I need planning permission for a conservatory?

Do I need Building Regulation approval for a conservatory

To help you understand these issues I detail below some of the “conditions” attached to planning permission and building regulations. (These apply to England/Wales only) Scottish, Irish and North American regulations are quite different – You should in all instances take local advice.


In England and Wales you will not usually require planning permission, provided you do not exceed the permitted development limit for your property (which is 50-70m cubed, depending on where you live). Notable exceptions to the above are listed buildings and conservation areas. Please note that if your property has been extended in the past – you will have used up some or perhaps all of your “permitted development” area and may need permission. Its also worth noting that occasionally “permitted development” rights may be withdrawn from a property and any extension however small needs planning. If in doubt check.


Generally speaking conservatories/sunrooms on residential property are exempted under Building Regulations. Below are some of the Exemption Criteria – under the Building Regulations 1991 (as amended). These criteria must be met for a conservatory extension to be classified as exempt:

a) The extension has a completely transparent or translucent roof. b) The extension walls are substantially glazed. (Should not have more than 25 % of its wall area as brick work) c) The extension has a floor area not exceeding 30m squared. d) The extension is sited at ground level. e) The extension is permanently separated from the remainder of the property by means of a door. f) The extension is not permanently heated! g) The glazing satisfies the requirements of part N, Schedule 1 (toughened/safety glass) h) The extension does not contain any drainage facilities. (i.e. sink, WC, or washing machine)

An example of where building regulation approval may be required is a Kitchen / Conservatory Extension. I suggest you contact your local council – explain your intentions – they will be able to give you more specific advice.

One word of “warning” – a fair number of people will have constructed conservatories with drainage inside, more than 25 % brick wall area and permanent heating. In a lot of instances they will not have got the approvals required – either because they where unaware or badly advised. I believe building control officers are taking these situations more seriously – leading to structures be taken down in the most severe instances.

Barry Dunlop is the Founder of – The online place for people interested in conservatories, sunrooms, garden rooms, and orangeries. Find more tips and advice at his website:



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This Financial Services article was written by Barry Dunlop on 8/19/2005

Do I need planning permission for a conservatory?Do I need Building Regulation approval for a conservatoryTo help you understand these issues I detail below some of the “conditions” attached to planni