31 Mar How Do Building Regulations Affect Your Conservatory?
Before you start building your conservatory, there are a couple of things to be aware of. The legislation is basically split into two categories: planning permission and building regulations. To sum them up, planning permission is concerned with the way the construction of your building affects the surrounding area, whereas building regulations ensures the immediate health and safety of people in the constructions themselves. This week, we’re taking a closer look at building regulations.
What You Need To Know Before Building A Conservatory
Though planning permission and building regulations are separate pieces of legislation, they’re very closely related to each other. That makes them both the responsibility of your local planning authority – essentially, your local council. Now, if you live in an older property, it may be an idea to note whether you live in a listed building or not. If you do, there may be special building regulations that apply to your property, which you’ll need to account for when going ahead with your conservatory. You can talk with your local conservation officer to find out whether there’ll be any of these sorts of obstacles, and if there are, how to overcome them.
However, there’s only going to be relatively few of you that applies to – for most of us, there’s good news! Conservatories have generally been exempt from building regulations, and have been since the mid 1980s. However, that’s only if they meet certain conditions.
In order for your conservatory to be exempt from building regulations:
- It must be built at ground level
- 75% of the roof has to be transparent or translucent
- The floor can’t be bigger than 30m2 (measured internally)
- It needs to be separated from the house by external quality walls, doors or windows
- It needs to have an independent heating system from the rest of the house, with separate on/off switches and temperature controls
- The glazing and electrical installations have to comply with safety requirements of Building Regulations Part N
Making Sure Your Conservatory Is Safe
As well as the legal requirements above, there are a couple of other things that it’s generally considered ‘good practice’ to do. While these aren’t quite as strict from a legal perspective, taking them into account will make your conservatory a whole lot safer. Fingers crossed, you may one day be thankful for it!
To be quite honest, there are a few you’re not likely to consider anyway; for example the fact that your conservatory should be single-storey, and built of a non-combustible material. However, some aren’t quite so obvious, so at RTE Fabrications, we’d advise:
- The installation of a door separating your conservatory from the rest of the house
- Ensuring that it doesn’t restrict ladder access to upper-floor windows.
Both of these are essentially fire precautions. Doors are instrumental in slowing down fires – which might give you precious extra time in a situation where every second counts – while the fire brigade and other emergency services may need to have a clear path to upper floors in order to rescue people. In these sorts of circumstances, you may well be thankful for the extra precaution!
Finally, it’s worth noting that any new structural opening between the conservatory and the existing house will need building regulations approval, even if the conservatory is technically exempt. If you’re still uncertain, we’re only too happy to advise here at RTE. Building is what we do, so we’re well-versed in the rules surrounding it. You can contact us on 01254 873 002 – or, if you’re all ready to go, you can start the ball rolling on your bespoke conservatory project today!
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