Things to think about when adding a conservatory
With housing prices stagnating, adding value to your home is more important than ever. Whether you are considering selling or want to stay put, extra room can make all the difference. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is to add a conservatory.
In many cases this is actually a job which a competent DIYer can do, but you may not know where to start when it comes to planning issues and what is allowed. It is best to be fully prepared before you start.
More than half of all conservatories will require planning permission, however you may be able to avoid it if you can meet the following criteria:
- Less than 50% of the land surrounding the original footprint of the house is being built upon.
- The conservatory does not face the road.
- The conservatory measures less than 4m in depth for a detached property and 3m for a semi-detached property. It also needs to be less than 4m high.
- 50% of the sides of the conservatory must be glazed and the roof must be made up of at least 75% glass or polycarbonate. This specifies it as a conservatory, not an extension.
- The external doors between the house and the conservatory must remain external quality.
- Your home is not listed, in a conservation area or an area of outstanding beauty.
- The conservatory needs to be at least 20m away from the road or footpath.
Planners will also take into account what the impact your conservatory will have on your neighbours and the general surrounding area. Sometimes offering to incorporate glass which cannot be seen through or blinds will be enough to prevent the planning process.
A local planning officer will be able to confirm any of the these points and may come to your property to make sure that you have complied with all the conditions. If you get it wrong your conservatory will have to be pulled down, if retrospective planning is not obtained.
Conservatories may not need building regulations when they are built onto an existing structure. However the following points need to be considered.
- Conservatories which measure more than 30m sq may need building regulations.
- The door to the house needs to be of external quality.
- Glazing and electrics need to comply with all regulations.
- If the opening to the house is enlarged or changed, building regulations will need to be informed.
Get your local council involved in your plans and you can't go wrong. Now comes the hard work of building the conservatory.