Philippa Rudd - EDP Property column. Building Regs and conservatories...

Our friends have recently built an extension to their property. They had to obtain Building Regulations Approval. What does this mean?

Building Regulations are legal requirements in place for the purpose of enforcing the standards that the design and construction of ‘building work’ must meet. This is a separate requirement to the need to apply for Planning Permission.

We are considering adding a conservatory to our property. Will we require approval?

Building Regulations will usually be needed for an extension to your home. However, there are some exceptions for the construction of a conservatory. Building Regulations are not required if:

  • The conservatory is built at ground level and is less than 30 square metres in floor area
  • The conservatory is separated from the house by an external door, wall or window
  • The glazing and electrical installation comply with Building Regulations

We are planning on having a doorway between the conservatory and the house. How can we check whether this work is exempt?

Normally conservatories do not require Building Regulation Approval but if a new entrance is being created then approval will be necessary. If it doubt, the relevant Building Control Body should be consulted to check whether the project requires approval.

What advice would you give to us in our considerations of the conservatory?

Take your time throughout the process; a poorly designed conservatory will not be energy efficient and could cause difficulties when selling the property if regulations have been contravened. Some builders may tell you that approval is not needed. It is recommended that you check in any case with the relevant Building Control Body.

Are there liabilities for proceeding without necessary approval?

If you fail to obtain approval, the council could take enforcement action against you and you may receive a fine in connection with the breach. You may find it difficult when you come to sell the property. You could be required to obtain retrospective consent that will in turn, cause significant delay to the process. Alternatively, the buyer could accept indemnity insurance but this can be expensive.

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