Here Aidan Ruthven, Architect and adviser at the ESPC showroom in Edinburgh, brings you some advice on what to consider before adding this extension to your home.


The ABC's of building a conservatory

The Householder Permitted Development Rights were amended in early 2012 so that Planning Permission may not be necessary for house extensions where the house is not listed and is outwith of a conservation area and, where the house is not on a corner plot (which is deemed more visible to the public).

This means that many property extensions including conservatories no longer require Planning Permission.

As a simple rule of thumb, if your house is unlisted, outwith of a conservation area and not on a corner plot, then your proposed extension may be deemed acceptable under permitted development rights so long as it is:

  1. To the rear of the property
  2. Outwith one meters of the neighbouring boundary
  3. Extends no more than four meters from the original house
  4. Is no higher than three meters above ground level at the eaves
  5. Is no more than four meters above ground level at the highest point
  6. Occupies no more than 50% of the rear curtilage of the property.

blue print

There are exceptions that apply so it is always advisable to take advice from the relevant Local Authority or a local architect before proceeding with any work.

A Building Warrant will undoubtedly be required for house extension proposals.  It is advisable to engage the services of an architect and structural engineer who will be able to assist in obtaining this consent. A site must be cleared of all vegetation on the footprint of a proposed extension.

Tree root growth can have a negative impact on buildings and their foundations.  It is therefore best to form extensions out with the likely root spread of any existing trees. Where you are proposing to remove a tree, always check first your neighbours' rights and find out from your Local Authority whether any Tree Preservation Orders (TPO's) or conservation area restrictions apply.

There are many things to consider when it comes to conservatories and house extensions.  As can be seen from the extensive range of properties in the ESPC showroom, each house has its own particular characteristics which offer both opportunities and restrictions.

Some reputable conservatory providers can offer a good design to installation service including obtaining all necessary Local Authority consents.

Help is on hand

For further advice or for a more bespoke service it may be worth contacting a recommended architect who can also help with initial advice through to project completion.

Aidan Ruthven is the owner and main architect at Concept Completed, an Edinburgh based multi-discipline property consultancy. A one-stop-shop if you're considering property alterations or development. To get more advice from Aidan email or phone 0796 6671644