How big can I build without building regs?

30th Apr 2022
Conservatory replacement inside

From fire safety measures to structural integrity and everything in between, building regulations set the standard to ensure all buildings are safe for all who enter and live around them. Required for most construction projects, some buildings are exempt from building regulations. Let’s investigate them together.

How big can a conservatory be without building regs?

Extensions and modern conservatories with clear access to the property and/or integrated heating systems must meet the latest building regs to comply. But if your conservatory meets the following criteria, its likely building regs won’t apply:

  • Floor space less than 30m²
  • Built at ground level
  • Separated from the house by external walls, doors, or windows*

*Correct at time of publishing

Can I build a porch without building regulations?

Porches are normally exempt from building regulation approval, providing:

  • Floor space less than 30m²
  • Built at ground level
  • The front entrance door between the existing house and the new porch remains in place
  • If the house has ramped or level access for disabled people, the porch must not adversely affect access

However, the glazing and any fixed electrical installations will still need to adhere to the appropriate sections of the building regulations.

Are garages exempt from building regulations?

Typically, a new garage attached to an existing home will need building regulations approval. Detached garages can avoid building regulations, as long as:

  • Floor area less than 15m²
  • Floor area between 15m² and 30m², provided garage is at least 1m from any boundary, or constructed substantially of non-combustible materials

Does a carport require building regulations?

A new attached carport will side-step building regulations approval when:

  • It’s open on at least two sides
  • Floor area less than 30m²

Are building regs changing?

Grouped into a concise guide of Approved Documents, new building regulations come into effect in England from 15th June 2022. Acting as a stepping stone toward becoming carbon neutral by 2050, in terms of energy-efficient home improvements, the most notable changes include:

  • Changes to Part F require new homes to produce 30% less carbon emissions, therefore most new windows in existing homes, new homes and additional home extensions will need to include trickle vents
  • Changes to Part L tighten minimum energy rating standards for windows, doors and conservatories in existing homes, so:
    – Windows: Change of U-value from 1.6 to 1.4
    – Doors: Change of U-Value from 1.8 to 1.4
    (Large ‘non-standard’ doors, like bifold doors and sliding doors, will be calculated differently)
    – Conservatories: Change of U-value from 1.8 to 1.5
  • New Approved Document O sets the standard for overheating in new residential buildings
  • A maximum flow temperature requirement of 55°C for new and replacement heating systems in new homes
  • A requirement for new or replacement heating system designs to accept low-carbon heating in existing homes.

Safe & efficient home improvements in Woking & Surrey

No matter whether your home improvement dreams include a new conservatory space or a full house of windows, you can trust Sheerwater Glass to deliver high-quality work in line with the latest building regulations. Get a free quote, contact us online, or give us a call on 01932 344 415 to find out more.

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