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Do you need planning permission for a conservatory?

Do I need planning permission?

Do you need planning permission for a conservatory?

If you're thinking about adding a new conservatory to your home, it's important you know what you can and can't build. The responsibility falls on your shoulders to seek planning permission before you begin a building project and if a new conservatory doesn't meet regulation, you might be ordered to demolish it at your expense.


Not many people realise that if you ever want to sell your house and don't have the correct planning permission and regulations approval, the sale can fall through.


At Everest, we have an expert team who keep up to date with all planning permisison and building regulations, so that you don't make any costly mistakes.







Do you need planning permission for a conservatory? (Updated for 2021)

In planning permission terms, conservatories fall under the same rules as single-storey extensions, but for building regulations, there's a difference.


Permitted development rights allow you to complete common home building projects without having to apply for planning permission.


You DON'T need planning permission for a conservatory IF you meet the conditions and limits of permitted development outlined below.

Conservatory

A conservatory and an extension fall under the same rules and are considered permitted developments and DON'T need planning permission (subject to limits). Building regulation approval is required on any work.

You DO need planning permission for a conservatory if:

  • More than 50% of the land around the 'original house' is to be covered (this includes any other buildings)
  • The extension is forward of the front or side of the 'original house' that faces onto a road

You MAY need permission if you live in a designated area or fall under an Article 4 Direction. If you have a listed building, you do require a Listed Building Consent.


Planning Permission rules and Building Regulations outlined here apply to detached and semi-detached houses only, in England. There may be differences in Wales and Scotland.

Planning permission for a conservatory

Conservatories need planning permission if:

  1. They are higher than the highest point of the roof
  2. The eaves and ridge height are higher than the existing house (single-storey and two-storey)
  3. The eaves height is more than 3 metres, if within 2 metres of the boundary

Planning permission for conservatories built to the side

Conservatories built to the side need planning if:

  1. They are more than single-storey or over 4 metres
  2. They are wider than half the width of the 'original house'

Planning permission for conservatories built to the rear

Conservatories built to the rear need planning if:

  1. They extend beyond the rear of the 'original house by over 6 metres (semi) or 8 metres (detached house)*
  2. They are more than 4 metres in height

*The government has now made permanent these size increases as from May 2019.

The increased size limits are subject to the neighbour consultation scheme and you have to inform your local planning office.

How big can you build a conservatory without planning permission?

The possible size of your conservatory depends on the size of the property that you're extending. To build without the need for planning permission, a conservatory can't be any bigger than 50% of the area around the original house  (including sheds and outbuildings).


How far you can build outwards from the back and side of the house is also restricted if you want to avoid planning permission:

  • A conservatory can extend backward from the rear wall of the 'original house' by up to eight metres for a detached house and six metres for semi-detached houses. But, if the structure is more than four metres the neighbour consultation scheme applies and the local planning authority must be informed.
  • A rear conservatory can't be higher than four metres, but if it's within two metres of the boundary, it must be three metres or less in height.
  • A conservatory built to the side cannot be wider than 50% of the size of the original house.

Separate to planning permission, building regulations will apply to a conservatory that is more than 30 square metres of floor area.





How close can you build a conservatory to a boundary?

Technically, as long as the conservatory is less than three metres high, it can go to the edge of the boundary at the side and the back – considering it doesn't cover more than 50% of the area around the house. (Extensions of more than one storey must not be within seven metres of the boundary at the back of the house. Not really applicable to a conservatory, but worth knowing.)


What you must be aware of if you're excavating or building near a boundary is the Party Wall Act 1996 and this is in addition to planning and building regulations. If your conservatory is built up to a boundary and a wall or foundations sit on or near a boundary then you have a duty to notify your neighbour in advance and seek approval.

Our experts can help you plan your new conservatory

We have a specialist planning department who work with your local planning authority to ensure your conservatory meets requirements.

Do you need building regulations for a conservatory?

Conservatories are exempt from building regulations if they are deemed a 'conservatory' by falling within the following guidelines:

  • Not more than 30 square metres measured in floor area
  • Built at ground level
  • Separated from the house by an external wall or windows
  • A heating system that is independent to the house with a control to turn on and off
  • Glazing and any fixed electrical installation comply with the relevant building regulations

For an open-plan style modern conservatory building regulations approval is required. To get this, you'll have to prove that your conservatory space is as energy efficient as the rest of the house.


You should also note that building regulation approval is required on any glazing replacement work. If you use an installer registered with a competent person scheme (such as Everest) then the work will automatically have approval. The installer will give you a certificate on completion of the work to say all work meets standards.


Do I need planning permission to change my conservatory roof?

To change a conservatory roof from glass to tile would change the nature of the structure from a conservatory to a single-storey extension. If the extension meets all the requirements for permitted development, it DOESN'T need planning permission. But, as the structure is no longer deemed under the exemption of a 'conservatory' it DOES need to meet relevant building regulations.

Do I need planning permission for a conservatory with a radiator?

A conservatory DOESN'T need planning permission for a standalone radiator, but it DOES need building regulations if the heating system is connected to the rest of the house.


To ensure that your conservatory is classed as a conservatory and doesn't need building regulations, it must have a heating system independent to the house. This is defined by having separate heating controls in the conservatory, for example, a standalone electric radiator.


Do you need planning permission for a conservatory in Scotland?

In Scotland, you DON'T need planning permission for a conservatory if it falls within permitted development. This guide refers to planning rules for England only, so we recommend checking the permitted development rules for Scotland here.


In Scotland, a building warrant is a similar approval process to building regulations in England and Wales.


The rules for an exemption to a Scottish building warrant for a conservatory are as follows:

  • Smaller than eight metres squared
  • Located at the rear of the property
  • At the side of a property, not facing a road
  • No less than one metre away from any boundary
  • Does not contain a chimney or flue, or any bathroom plumbing (i.e. no showers or toilets)

If you're thinking about building a conservatory in Scotland, we recommend you read the latest handbook for building regulations here. Or, you can speak to our planning experts and we can help you plan and navigate any building warranties for your conservatory.

Planning permission for a conservatory in Scotland

Other restrictions that you need to check before building a conservatory


The Original House Rule

Planning permission often refers to the 'original house'. This means the house as it was first built or as it stood on 1 July 1948 (if built before this date). If you're thinking of any work on your house, you do need to check to see if any previous owners have added any extensions to the 'original house' as they will be factored into where your conservatory is positioned on the house or how big it can be.


Listed buildings and designated land

Subject to more restrictive rules, you'll need 'Listed Building Consent' to make any changes to a listed building, including adding a conservatory. Conservation Areas, National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites are known as 'designated areas' and are also subject to more restricted rights.


  • On designated land, the exterior of the conservatory or house cannot include cladding.
  • A conservatory to the side of the original house would require planning permission as it doesn't fall under permitted development.

Article 4 Direction

A local council has the right to override permitted development rights. Check with your local office that there aren't any directives in place before you start planning your build.


Restrictive covenants

We recommend you check to see if any restrictive covenants have been placed on the property. Your solicitor should have told you about this as part of the conveyancing. A covenant could stop you from any development or building work on the property or the surrounding land. In this instance, you would need the advice of your solicitor.


More information


Information is correct at time of publication: Updated June 2021.


Planning rules are subject to change. Always seek approval from your local planning authority before starting any building work.

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