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Planning Permissions for Conservatories & Orangeries

A guide to planning, building control and other permissions that may be requried when adding a glazed structure to your home


Published: 6th June 2023
Planning permission for conservatories and orangeries

Do I need planning permission for a conservatory?

The permissions required for a conservatory or orangery installation can vary depending on several factors, including your location, local building regulations, and the specific characteristics of the glazed structure you plan to install. Whilst this summary can provide you with some general information, it’s essential to consult with your Local Authority, Building Control Department, or a professional architect or contractor in your area to obtain accurate and up-to-date information specific to your project and where you live.


Open plan kitchen orangery extension

You can perform certain types of work without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called “permitted development rights,” however permitted development rights which apply to many common projects for houses do not apply to flats, maisonettes, or some other buildings.

In some areas of the country, commonly known as ‘designated areas’, permitted development rights are more restricted. For example, if you live in:

  • A Conservation Area
  • A National Park
  • An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • A World Heritage Site
  • The Norfolk or Suffolk Broads.

In such areas, you will need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which you would not normally need an application for in other less strict areas. Please also bear in mind that there are different, far stricter requirements if you own a listed building - this includes applying for planning permission and listed building consent. Also worth noting is an ‘Article 4 direction’ which restricts the scope of permitted development rights. These are often issued to character areas such as Conservation areas, where importance is acknowledged and any threat to this can be controlled.

If your project ticks all the criteria for permitted development, then it is advisable to seek a ‘Certificate of Lawfulness’ which is confirmation from the Local Planning Authority that a proposed use or works does not require planning permission and is lawful.

Several years ago, a planning route known as the ‘Larger Home Extension Scheme’ was introduced which allowed homeowners to build singe-storey rear extensions that were larger than those traditionally constructed under permitted development. To take advantage of this extra allowance under permitted development, you’ll need to ensure your proposal extends no more than 8 metres for a detached property or 6 metres for all other properties, from the rear elevation of the original house, as it stood on 1 July 1948, however, it is worth checking that any permitted development rights have not been used up by previous owners who may have added to the property during previous years.

Although the ‘Larger Home Extension Scheme’ now falls under permitted development, you will need to obtain ‘Prior Approval’ before building your dream orangery or conservatory. This ensures your project is only being judged against fixed legal requirements rather than the more unique criteria of a planning application. Please note that this scheme does not apply to listed buildings or properties that fall within ‘designated areas’.

As mentioned previously, garden rooms, orangeries or conservatories that fall outside of the criteria for ‘permitted development’ including listed buildings, planning permission (and listed building consent where applicable) will need to be obtained.

Example of a conservatory
Listed Building Consent Orangery

Listed Building Consent

If your property is a listed building, you will need to obtain listed building consent before installing a conservatory, orangery or rooflight.

These Historic England statutory listings aim to protect historically and architecturally significant buildings and to ensure the preservation of these treasures for future generations. Any modifications whether they be alterations, extensions, change of use, demolition or restoration will require additional Listed Building consent to ensure they comply with national and local planning policy.

When a local planning authority considers an application, it will give particular attention to the desirability of preserving the listed building (also known as a heritage asset), its setting and those features which make it special - all important consideration to bear in mind when you start your planning project. It is worth remembering that when a building is listed, this covers both inside and out, and so this can include outbuildings and boundary walls.

Listed Building Consent serves as a crucial safeguard, ensuring that our architectural heritage remains intact and protected. It is therefore essential to consult with local planning authorities or heritage organisations to determine the need for consent.

Building Control

Building regulations ensure that the construction work meets specific safety and quality standards. Even if you don’t require planning permission or listed building consent, you may still need building regulations approval for your conservatory installation.

The regulations typically cover aspects such as structural stability, energy efficiency, ventilation, glazing, and electrical installations. Compliance will generally involve submitting detailed plans, undertaking inspections during construction, and providing relevant certification from professionals involved at the end of the project.

You can obtain building work approval from your Local Authority or an independant building control company.

Bespoke conservatory example

Some glazed structures however are exempt from building control and these need to meet all the criteria including

  • Be built at ground level.
  • Have a floor area of less than 30m².
  • Be substantially glazed.
  • Have external grade separation in place between the existing property and the new conservatory.
  • The heating system of the dwelling must not be extended in to the conservatory.

If your new conservatory does not meet all the above requirements, building regulation approval will be required. Once your project is registered, detailed plans will need to be submitted and your building control officer will need to be notified at certain points of the project so inspections can be made of the foundations, drainage, DPC/sub-structure, superstructure and completion.

Before the project can be signed off, the inspector will also require an electrical compliance certificate, a copy of the structural calculations (these will be undertaken by Vale as part of the project package), and a copy of the SAP report (if required). A building regulations certificate will be issued, providing all elements have been satisfied once the works have been completed.


Orangery with party wall agreement

Party Wall Agreements

If the conservatory is connected to or built against an existing wall that is shared with a neighbouring property, you may need to enter into what is known as a Party Wall Agreement under the Party Wall etc. Act 1996. This is particularly common in towns and cities where structures are added to the rear of properties whose gardens are separated by a wall of single or joint ownership.

A Party Wall Agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of both parties and ensures that the construction work does not negatively affect the shared wall.

This will also be a requirement if your proposal involves the construction of a new solid wall element on a boundary.

If you wish to understand more about your individual requirements for party walls, there are specialist party wall surveyors who can offer advice. That said, generally you will not require a solicitor or legal professional to assist.


Sap Calculations Image

If a project requires building control, it will automatically require SAP calculations and structural calculations. Both play important roles in the construction process. SAP calculations focus on energy efficiency and compliance with regulations, while structural calculations focus on ensuring the structural integrity and safety of the building. Both are carried out before construction commences to ensure integrity and efficiency requirements are met, and will form part of the submissions to building control for sign off.

Structural calculations

Structural calculations are mathematical calculations performed by structural engineers to assess the structural integrity and stability of a building or specific components within it. These calculations are crucial to ensure that a structure can withstand the forces and loads it will be subjected to, including gravity, wind, snow, seismic activity, and other factors.

Structural calculations consider various aspects, such as the materials used, dimensions, load-bearing capacities, and connections between different structural elements. They are used to design and verify the strength and stability of foundations, walls, beams, columns, floors, and other structural components. The calculations help determine the appropriate sizes and specifications of the materials to be used in construction, ensuring compliance with building codes and safety standards.

Structural calculations are typically required for new construction projects, renovations, and modifications that involve structural changes to ensure the safety and stability of the building. They are performed by qualified structural engineers or professionals with expertise in structural engineering.

SAP Calculations

SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) is the governments method for calculating the energy performance of your property. It will also demonstrate compliance with Part L of the building regulations and may be required for your new conservatory.

SAP calculations are likely to be required if your conservatory is either open through to the existing property, has a solid roof or the heating system of the main dwelling has been extended into the new conservatory.

Until the SAP (thermal efficiency) calculations have been produced by an independent assessor it will not be known exactly what off-setting, if any, may be required within the property to gain compliance. Each property and project is very different so there is no definite rule of thumb that can be applied. A representative from your appointed Energy Assessors will visit site and carry out an in-depth survey of the existing property and will have a discussion with you ahead of compiling their report.

It is important the SAP survey and report is carried out as soon as possible ahead of any building works starting so any potential offsetting/trade-offs can be included as part of the overall build. Examples of trade-offs vary from project to project and can include extra insulation within the floor slab, improved loft insulation, draught proofing and more energy efficient lighting. In some cases it can include the requirement for a more energy efficient boiler/solar panels etc. but all other less costly avenues would be explored ahead of this. Solar gains are also taken into account and projects with a southerly aspect would help reduce the amount of offsetting required.

Speak to our design team or request a brochure

Vale Garden Houses have the expertise to help you design and build an extension to your home that meets your needs and complements your property. We have over 40 years of experience designing and manufacturing bespoke conservatories and can work with you to create a conservatory that suits your style, space, and budget. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you bring your project to life.

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