Adding a conservatory or sunroom to your home is one of the best ways to improve your lifestyle and add value to the property.
Conservatories extend the living space to your home and add lots more light and space.
They can serve multiple functions, from a dining room to a children's play area and, with some clever layout, they can transform your living space.
But conservatories and sunrooms need some planning if you are to get the best value and the most benefit.
Planning a new conservatory is not a simple task. Planning permission, for example, is easier than it once was, but this is just one area that can confuse.
At Select Window Systems, we promise to offer our best help and advice on planning, designing, choosing and installing a new conservatory, sunroom or orangery.
Planning laws on adding a conservatory to your home were updated in 2019 to make the whole process much easier than before.
Planning permission is needed before you can build on or change the use of land or buildings. Consent may depend on the scale, visual appearance and any effect on neighbouring properties.
You can build some structures without planning consent and these can sometimes include conservatories and small single-storey extensions, but it is highly recommended that you check with the local authority planning office first.
Since 2019 adding a conservatory may not require planning permission, depending on the property's relative size and the conservatory. For example, a 6-metre long conservatory for a terraced or semi-detached home in England will not need planning consent. For detached homes, this extends to 8 metres.
There are other height and boundary restrictions, and you can't, for example, use the whole of your garden for a new conservatory. Detailed advice on rules, with examples, are outlined on the government's website pages on technical guidance for home extensions.
Your conservatory or sunroom extension may not need full planning permission, but that's doesn't mean you can just go ahead and build what you like.
Homeowners must notify the council before work begins, and neighbours have the right to object if amenities or enjoyment are affected. The local authority may block plans or ask for changes to be made.
Your property may also not have 'permitted rights' to build or could be in a protected area where special building rules will apply. And different procedures exist in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
People often confuse planning permission with building regulations. The former are rules on what you can build, the latter on how to build.
Building regulations cover safety, thermal efficiency and the environmental impact of a building project. Smaller conservatories can be exempt from building regulations but only if certain conditions as met, such as a door or window separating it from the house and an independent heating system. If you remove a room wall between your home and conservatory, you will need building regulations approval. Again, different rules apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Whether or not your new conservatory requires planning permission or building regulations approval there may be other things to consider.
If the conservatory is to be built within three metres of a public sewer, then you must contact the local water supplier, who will check it to see no damage has been caused.
Conservatories built-in conservation areas or attached to listed buildings will probably need full planning permission, and some houses may be restrictive covenants included in the title deeds.
Neighbours need to be taken into account, particularly if the conservatory is built near the boundary. A 'party wall' agreement may be needed if foundations are excavated close to the garden fence.
There are many things to consider when designing your conservatory. It is essential to spend time to make sure you have thought about every detail. After all, you will be investing a large amount of money, and you wish to enjoy your conservatory or sunroom for many years to come.
Some critical areas often get overlooked and before placing an order, it is well to think about areas such as the following.
What will the conservatory be used for?
Will the conservatory need heating or air conditioning?
Will it look better with full height windows or transom bars?
What is the overall internal size required?
Is it worth installing easy-clean glass?
Will the conservatory need obscure glass for privacy?
While nowhere near an exhaustive list, these are questions that often crop up when installing a conservatory for our Cheshire customers.