This article may appear long winded, but do surveyors really understand all the consents which could be required for a conservatory installation, it’s not only planning consents that are required. The laws are there to protect us all! Would you like to be prosecuted and on top of it all loose a fortune. Would you like to live next to an eyesore!

The majority of the general public are under the impression that you don’t need planning for a conservatory, but it is not only the planning consents you need to look at.

You need to remember that these consents are law and if ignored can mean,  at best the headache of applying for retrospective consents  to be granted after completion, with no guarantee of success, or at worst prosecution incurring fines, court costs, compensation and the conservatory being totally removed. Remember that the cost to put back as original, could be astronomical, that’s without the cost already incurred on product, materials and installation.

We have all read about prosecutions and conservatories being removed, don’t let it be you we read about next  !!

I have tried to break this down as a simple outline guide covering most of the permissions that could be required.

Permitted Development Rights

You can make certain types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called “permitted development rights

If “permitted development rights have been removed” it will mean that you have to submit a planning application for work which normally does not need one.

Planning consent

Adding a conservatory to your house is considered to be permitted development, not needing an application for planning permission, subject to the limits and conditions listed below

  • No more than 50% of the land around the original house as it was first built, or as it stood on 1st July 1948, would be covered by extensions or other buildings which could include garages, sheds and greenhouses etc.
  • No extension would be forward of the principal elevation or side elevation fronting a highway which includes all public roads, footpaths and bridleways.
  • The Maximum depth, or projection, of a single-storey, rear extension is 3M for an attached house and 4M for a detached house.
  • No extension should be higher than the highest part of the existing property roof.
  • The Maximum height of a single-storey rear extension is 4M
  • The Maximum depth, or projection, of a rear extension of more than one storey is 3M including ground floor.
  • The Maximum eaves height of an extension within 2M of a boundary is 3M
  • The Maximum eaves and ridge height of an extension should be no higher than existing house.
  • Side extensions should be single storey with a maximum height of 4M and width no more than half that of the original house.
  • The Roof pitch of extensions higher than one storey should match the existing house.
  • No verandas, balconies or raised platforms.
  • On designated land there should be no permitted development for rear extensions of more than one storey; no cladding of the exterior; no side extensions. (Designated land includes national parks and the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, conservation areas and World Heritage Sites.)
  • If the existing property is a listed building, listed building consent will be required.

Party wall Act

You must find out whether that work falls within the Party Wall Act. If it does, you must notify all Adjoining Owners

In Brief, party wall act consent will be required if you intend to carry out building work which involves one of the following categories

  • work on an existing wall or structure shared with another property (section 2of the Act)
  • building a free standing wall or a wall of a building up to or astride the boundary with a neighbouring property (section 1 of the Act)
  • excavating near a neighbouring building (section 6 of the Act)

A list of some examples of work in conservatory construction where the party wall act would need to be served to neighbouring property owners is as follows

  • to cut into a wall to take the bearing of a beam or to insert a damp proof course all the way through the wall or to protect two adjoining walls by putting a flashing from the higher over the lower, even where this requires cutting into an Adjoining Owner’s independent building
  • to raise the height of the wall and/or increase the thickness of the party wall and, if necessary, cut off any projections which prevent you from doing so
  • to demolish and rebuild the party wall or to underpin the whole thickness of a party wall
  • to excavate and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 3 metres of a neighbouring owner’s building or structure, where that work will go deeper than the neighbour’s foundations
  • excavate for and construct foundations for a new building or structure, within 6 metres of a neighbouring owner’s building or structure, where that work will cut a line drawn downwards at 45° from the bottom of the neighbour’s foundations

Under the Act, an Adjoining Owner and/or occupier must, when necessary, let in your workmen and your own surveyor or architect etc., to carry out works in pursuance of the Act

Build over agreements

In some areas both surface water and foul drainage use the same drains and sewers.  Do not assume what type of system exists, check with the relevant water authority. Work carried out on either of these systems will need to comply with the Building Regulations. It would be recommended to contact your local Water Authority who can determine if your sewer is public or private.

If the proposed conservatory is to be constructed within 3.0m of a public sewer and/or you are to connect new drainage to a public sewer system, then it is a legal requirement that you contact your local water authority to consult with the proposed works you plan to carry out, and obtain a build over agreement

You must not build over Gas mains under any circumstances. You will need to contact the relevant gas authority, who will move the main outside of the conservatory perimeter at a cost.

Building near trees

  • It is your responsibility to check with the local authority if building near trees they could be protected by a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) or covered in a conservation area. The rules are there for both parties, one to protect the tree from your building works and two to protect your building works from the tree.
  • You should make provisions for adequate protection even if the tree is not covered by a TPO or conservation rule

Building Regulations

Compliance with building regulations is a legal requirement and non compliance can be enforced by local authorities.

In general conservatories are exempt from building regulations when the following criteria is met

  • The conservatory must be built at ground floor level
  • The conservatory must be single storey
  • The floor area must be under 30 square metres
  • The external walls must have an area of over 50% glazed
  • The roof area must be over 75% glazed with a translucent glazing material (glass or polycarbonate)
  • All glazing conforms to part N (In relation to impact, opening and cleaning) of building regulations
  • All conservatories must be separated from the house with an external grade physical barrier (Door, French Doors, or Patio Doors etc.)
  • If there are no new openings, or widening of openings from the house to the conservatory being constructed, even if the conservatory is exempt
  • All fixed electrical work conforms to Part P of building regulations
  • All radiators must be controllable through on/off controls
  • No drainage facilities are included (such as sinks, washing machines and toilets

You are advised not to construct conservatories where they will restrict ladder access to windows serving rooms in roof or loft conversions, particularly if any of the windows are intended to help escape or rescue if there is a fire

Leaseholders consent

If the property is lease hold you must obtain the leaseholders consent prior to the commencement of works

House builders consent

On occasions there will be covenants put on your property by the house builders, this is now quite prevalent with newer houses and you will need to check with the house builder if ‘builders consent’ is required prior to commencement of works


These notes are for your guidance and information only. For more detailed regulatory laws visit

For the avoidance of doubt please contact your local planning and building regulations authority before undertaking any work.

  1. Jon says:

    Well, i knew all about the planning but despite being involved in the software for some time i didn’t know there were quite so many things to worry about. I expect there are a few installers out there who don’t know all of it.

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