When you are the owner of a property, there are always things
that come to mind that need doing or would be an improvement. This
can be something as simple as putting up a fence or a wall to
provide you with some privacy or putting up a shed or a
conservatory to provide you with more space. The Planning Law and
Building Bye-Laws are quite specific as to what you can do and what
you cannot do without permission and there are also various common
law or contractual obligations to consider before going to the
expense of carrying out the works.
Conservatories are always popular improvements to houses. They
can give you more space to live in or simply somewhere warm to sit
in on a crisp winter's day. There are, however, a number of
pitfalls that you should be aware of which conveyancers, such as
myself, routinely come across and can cause problems, if not with
the authorities, when you build it, when you come to sell the
The main points to remember if you are building a conservatory,
from a Planning perspective, is that to be exempt from Planning
its external area must be no more
than 30 square metres;
it must not be in front of the main
frontage of your property (that is the elevation that faces and is
less than 20 metres from a public road); and
it must be accessible from the
interior of your house.
If it is to have a pitched roof, it must not exceed 3.5 metres
in height and the bottom of the pitch must not exceed 2.5 metres
above ground level. Should it have a flat roof, it must not exceed
2.75 metres. However, you should note that if you are constructing
it within a metre of your neighbour's property the height
limitation is reduced to 2 metres.
A further consideration if you are building close to your
neighbour's property is a common law one, in that any windows,
unless they are opaque and non-opening, need to be 2 feet 9 inches
(0.84 metres) from the neighbour's property.
You may, however, still need Building permission if the internal
area is more than 20 square metres or if it cannot be entirely
closed off from the main house, thus keeping the heat in the house.
All low level glass needs to be safety glass and, if within a metre
of the boundary, the walls must be constructed substantially of
Whilst the above may serve as guidance, if you have any doubts,
it is always recommended that you contact the Planning and Building
Control Officers and/or your legal advisor for guidance and thus
avoid you encountering problems, once the works are completed.
Bear all of the above in mind and I am sure that you will enjoy
the many benefits of having a conservatory, whilst knowing that you
have done everything necessary to avoid future problems through the
works that you have carried out.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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