Never fear, the Building Regulations are here?

A bit like playing golf, just when you think you’ve cracked it, not knowing all the Building Regulations (and the consequences!) can come back to bite home owners who develop their UK properties illegally.

Building an extension without Building Regulation approval is a bit like building an extension that clearly requires planning without planning permission, when one runs the risk of having to either knock it down, or when selling the property, of being unable to sell due to the lack of documentary evidence that the extension has legal standing.

Nowadays any purchasers solicitor will insist on seeing written planning permission and building regulations approval for any traditional flat roof or tiled roof extension. The same can apply to glass extensions of certain sizes and types. Similarly, even if a home owner has replaced any windows or doors since 2002, a solicitor will ask for copies of the FENSA certificate as proof the replacement products installed fully complied with the Building Regulations.

A Double Glazed Glass Extension Done Right Adds Space and Value To Any Property
A Double Glazed Glass Extension Done Right Adds Great Living Space and Value To Any UK Property

Even when building new or replacement double glazed conservatories or orangeries, sometimes both planning permission and Building Regulatory Approval is required prior to commencement of works, particularly if the new glass extension is going to project beyond 4m from detached dwellings or 3m from semi-detached homes and the homeowner is not going to retain the external windows and/or doors between the existing house and the new conservatory or orangery.

I’ve known some UK home owners try and save money/time/hassle by not applying for Building Regulatory Approval,  and then remove this thermal barrier after the double glazing installers have left site, so always advise anyone crazy enough to take such a risk to keep the old doors in the garage in case they ever want to sell the house, as the property will not comply with Building Regs unless the old doors are restored or new compliant energy rated doors are fitted.

My personal opinion is that obtaining both Building Regulations (if required) and planning permission (if required) for any new double glazed conservatory or orangery is not only sensible, its legal and will add value and saleability to a property. Building a full blown extension without it being signed off by Building Control is a bit like the man in the Bible who built his house upon the sand, as the moment that man wants to sell up or a neighbour complains about it to the local council…………..the resultant storm could see it demolished.

That said, the beauty of glass extensions is that quite often because of their size and design they can fall outside of Building Regs or indeed the need for planning, as in most cases they can be legally built under Permitted Development Rights (if sufficient are still intact) or if simply replacing an existing structure with a more thermally efficient modern one, as long as the footprint or roof heights remain the same. It is important to get professional advice before proceeding with any glass extension and checking with local council planning departments what permissions (if any) are needed.

So whilst the Building Regulations are here to stay, they exist for a good reason, so that home owners wanting more of an extension or major alteration to their property have to fulfil certain structural, thermal, electrical, design and safety rules, to ensure that the changes are genuine home improvements and not illegal Heath Robinson disasters!


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