Guides & Information

» Conservatories

[Top»] Building regulations

In general if a domestic conservatory meets the following criteria it is exempt under UK building regulations.

  1. The conservatory building must have a transparent or translucent roof.
  2. The conservatory walls must be at least 75% wall glazing (therefore having a max wall area of 25% brickwork.
  3. The conservatory floor area should not exceed 30m2.
  4. The conservatory must be constructed at ground level.
  5. The conservatory is to be separated from the property by means of a physical barrier.
  6. The glazing satisfied building regulations part N. shed I (toughened/safety glass).

Information adapted from

[Top»] Planning Permission

Planning requirements are becoming tighter as more and more people turn to home improvements as opposed to moving home. The purpose of planning permission is to ensure that the type of home improvement is in keeping with the surrounding houses and neighbourhood. Approximately 60% of conservatories that are built will require planning permission.

Under the present legislation you may not require planning permission providing you meet with the following conditions:

Detached and Semi-Detached Properties

You are allowed to develop up to 70m3 or 115% of the total volume of the dwelling whichever is greater. However, this is a combination of the total amount of extensions, i.e. is you have had a kitchen extension of 40m3 and require a conservatory of 41m3 this would total 81m3 and planning permission would be required. Should the total be less than 70m3, or 115% of the volume of the dwelling, planning permission may not be required.

Terraced or End of Terrace Properties

Same as detached and semi-detached, but only 50m3 is allowed to be developed.

Flats or Maisonettes

This type of property has no permitted development rights and in all cases planning permission will apply, there are no exceptions.

Other conditions which require planning permission:

If you build within 2 meters of the boundary line and the highest point at that junction is 4m or more high.

  1. If your conservatory covers more than 50% of the original garden.
  2. If your planning development rights have been removed.
  3. Grade II listed buildings. These may require a hardwood conservatory with a glass roof.
  4. Where a conservatory is 20m or less from a road or public footpath.

Impact onto the Boundary

The local planning officer will be looking at the projection of the conservatory i.e. how far it will protrude into the garden, normally they are happy at about 3 meters projection from the original house. Anything larger than 3 meters may disrupt your neighbour’s views, hence the term impact on the boundary.

Helpful Hints

If planning permission is not required a letter of lawful development from the local Council is always a good item to obtain. This will ensure that should you wish to sell your property in the future, you have proof that you have complied with any planning regulations.

If you are in any doubt it is always better to ask your local planning officer. It is definitely better to be safe than sorry!

If you do require planning permission agree with your installer straight away who will request it, them or you if you haven’t already done so to ensure that there are no mis-understandings.

[Top»] Design Options

There are many different designs of conservatories available, from UPVC to hardwood. Have a look on websites, at friends, at showrooms, take your time and try to consider how it will look from both the inside and the outside.

A good conservatory should be one that is in keeping with the style of your house, in terms of position, style, size and the impact on your garden area.

The position of French doors can make a difference to the design of your conservatory. If the doors are positioned to the front they are great for letting fresh air into the house on a warm day, however if you position them to the side it can allow you to position your furniture to the front which may be more suitable. Also the position of any existing path or patio should be taken into account.

[Top»] Sizes

As well as planning regulation impacts on the size of your conservatory you need to consider the size of your garden and what you’re planning to use the conservatory for. If you wish to use it as a dining area an approximate size of 5 meters x 3.5 meters maybe suitable so you can place a table across the conservatory and enjoy the garden views when entertaining. If you wish to use it to relax and read the papers in with some cane furniture a size of 3 meters x 3 meters would be more than sufficient.

Marking out the outside of your conservatory is always a good idea so you can see how big it will be. Set out this area with garden canes or string lines, then put some garden furniture in this area to represent your proposed furniture layout, this should give you some idea of how big the conservatory will be and you can see how much garden it will take up. This will help you decide on how big your conservatory will need to be and help you decid on your patio and landscaping arrangements.

[Top»] Position

If your conservatory faces north you should be okay during summer as your house will give shade to the conservatory. But winter it may be cold as it will not get a high degree of solar gain so you may wish consider 25 mm Pilkington K Glass and argon filled seal units to give a high degree of insulation. You should discuss all the options with your chosen supplier.

South facing conservatories will be very bright and warm in the summer and will require a high degree of ventilation, i.e. roof vents and low level opening windows. You could consider fitting conservatory blinds as they can help to keep your conservatory cool and prevent the sun's glare.