When considering adding a conservatory to your home there are a number of legal matters that you will need to consider.
With any development of your property there are three separate legal issues that you will need to consider, planning permission, building regulations and restrictive covenants.
In most cases a conservatory will fall within the definition of a permitted development meaning that planning permission is not needed. However there are certain conditions and limits which must be met otherwise planning permission may still be needed for your conservatory. These conditions and limits are too lengthy to set out in full here but as a summary they are based upon the size of the conservatory, where it is going to be located on your property and whether the property has been previously extended, either by you or a previous owner, as the limits of the area around your property that can be built upon without planning permission may have been reached.
If your home is in an area of outstanding natural beauty or a conservation area, you may still need planning permission even if your conservatory falls within the definition of a permitted development.
There is at present an increase to the size of a single storey extension, including a conservatory, that can be made. These increased size limits will continue until 30 May 2016. This increase allows double the previous size limits for a single storey extension. If your conservatory falls within these size limits then you will have to follow the Neighbour Consultation Scheme in order to be exempt from obtaining planning permission.
The Neighbour Consultation Scheme involves a process of notification to your Local Planning Authority of your proposed extension, including a conservatory, together with a plan of the site, details of your neighbours and details of your developer. The Local Planning Authority will serve notices on your neighbouring properties, including those at the rear of your property and depending on whether objections are raised within the specified period, will either allow or refuse the application.
Building Regulations are designed to protect energy consumption and the health and safety of individuals by ensuring that any structure built is safe.
Most conservatories on a house do not need Building Regulation Approval provided all of the following apply.
The Conservatory must be separated from the main house by external walls, doors or windows. The original opening in the external wall must not have been increased in size and no new opening must have been made.
Any heating system in the conservatory must be independent from that of the main house with its own temperature controls and on and off switch. That is to say that if you extend your central heating system from your house into your conservatory, Building Regulation Approval will be needed.
The floor area of your conservatory must not exceed 30 metres square and it must be at ground level.
The glazing and any fixed electrical installations must comply with the Building Regulations applicable to these.
Restrictive covenants are rules against doing certain things on your property that may be contained in the Title Deeds. Before building a conservatory, you should check your Title Deeds to see if there are any Covenants preventing you from building an extension without the consent of the original land owner or a neighbour.
If you are thinking about a conservatory you should check with your Local Authority exactly what permissions are required before carrying out any work.
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