Converting Conservatory Roofs – Do I Need Permission?

Converting Conservatory Roofs – Do I Need Permission?

You’ve had a conservatory built or bought a property with an existing conservatory and discovered that with the UK’s unpredictable weather you never use it as its too cold in the winter or too hot in the summer.

There is an increasing trend and various companies out there that now offer to convert your existing conservatory roof to reduce this problem. This is achieved by installing a light weight, insulated roof system. But do you need building warrant to do these work?

This is becoming an increasingly popular question so we thought we would write a short article on it.

Let’s start by defining what a conservatory is. The building regulations definition of a conservatory is,

• A building attached to a dwelling with a door and any other building elements dividing it thermally from that dwelling and having a translucent glazing (including frames) forming not less than either,

o 75% of its roof area and 50% of its external wall area or
o 95% of its roof area and 35% of its external wall area.

Glazed can also mean a surface that lets light through e.g. Clear/frosted polycarbonate roofs.

The Scottish Building Regulations have a separate classification and regulations that apply to conservatories. This sets out specific criteria where a conservatory can be built without the need to apply for a building warrant if it meets the following.

• Is attached to an existing building.
• Does NOT have a footprint larger than 8 square metres. (e.g. 2 metres by 4 metres)
• Is more than 1 metre away from your boundary.
• Does NOT contain sanitary facilities.
• Does NOT contain fixed solid fuel, oil or gas appliances.

For more information on conservatories visit our conservatory page.

If you alter or reduce the areas of glazing permitted when you add a solid roof to a conservatory you change what this is defined as in terms of the building regulations.

Depending on the size of your existing conservatory adding a solid roof will likely turn your conservatory into either a porch or an extension. This changes the building regulations that apply and also changes the requirement for building warrant approval.

Where your conservatory is under 8 metres in area it will become classed as a porch. A porch can also be built without the need to apply for a building warrant as long as it meets the following criteria.

• Is attached to an existing building.
• Does NOT have a footprint larger than 8 square metres. (e.g. 2 metres by 4 metres)
• Is more than 1 metre away from your boundary.
• Does NOT contain sanitary facilities.
• Does NOT contain fixed solid fuel, oil or gas appliances.

For more information or porches visit our porch page.

If your exiting conservatory is over 8 metres in area it becomes classed as an extension and you would need to apply for building warrant for the roof conversion.

You have a responsibility to apply for a building warrant where required. Failure to apply for building warrant approval to change the roof of your conservatory could cause issues should you come to sell your property as no approval has been granted for alterations made. You may have to apply for permission in retrospect.

Although in some cases a building warrant may not be required you still have a responsibility to ensure the building regulations are met.

In summary if your existing conservatory is under 8 metres in area you do not need to apply for a building warrant to fit an insulated roof as it will now be classed as a porch. Where your existing conservatory is over 8 metres in area you need to apply for building warrant as it will become classed as an extension.

This article has been written to suit Scottish Building Regulations.

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