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Understanding Building Regulations for Orangeries: A Comprehensive Guide


13 Jun 24

Do you need Building Regulations for Orangeries: A Comprehensive Guide


Building an orangery can significantly enhance your home’s value and functionality. However, understanding the UK building regulations and planning permissions is crucial to avoid potential legal issues and ensure a successful project. This guide covers when and why you need to follow these regulations and when you might be exempt. The great thing is, if you’re looking to build your dream space with Enhance, we’ll deal with all of the complex issues of building regulations from start to finish. Want to let us deal with building regulations? Book your free appointment today!

When and Why You Need Building Regulations

Building regulations are designed to ensure that buildings are safe, energy-efficient, and accessible. These regulations cover various aspects such as structural integrity, insulation, fire safety, and ventilation. For orangeries, compliance with building regulations is essential to ensure the addition is durable, safe, and meets all necessary standards.

General Requirements for Orangeries

  1. Structural Integrity: The building must be able to withstand its intended loads, including wind and snow. Foundations typically need to be at least one metre deep, but more may be required depending on soil conditions and nearby trees​.
  2. Insulation: Adequate thermal performance is required. Walls, roofs, and glazing must meet specific u-value requirements to prevent heat loss and ensure energy efficiency​.
  3. Ventilation and Fire Safety: Proper ventilation must be provided, and fire safety standards must be met, including the use of fire-resistant materials where necessary​​.

Exemptions from Building Regulations

An orangery might be exempt from building regulations if it meets specific criteria:

  • Built at ground level with a floor area less than 30 square metres.
  • Separated from the main house by an external quality door.
  • Has its own independent heating system with separate controls.
  • The glazing and any fixed electrical installations comply with relevant standards​​.

When Planning Permission is Required

While many orangeries do not require planning permission if they fall under permitted development rights, certain conditions necessitate planning permission:

  • If the orangery covers more than 50% of the land around the ‘original house’.
  • If the orangery extends beyond the front or side of the house facing a road.
  • If the height exceeds the highest part of the existing roof or certain eaves and ridge heights​​.

Additional considerations include:

  • Properties in designated areas (e.g., conservation areas) or listed buildings often require special permissions.
  • Orangeries built to the side of the house may need permission if they exceed four metres in height or are more than half the width of the original property​.



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The Application Process

For Building Regulations:

  1. Preparation: Consult with an architect to create detailed drawings and structural calculations.
  2. Submission: Submit your application to the local council’s Building Control department or an approved inspector.
  3. Approval: Ensure all aspects of construction comply with the regulations during the build​​.

For Planning Permission:

  1. Initial Assessment: Check local planning guidelines or consult the Planning Portal to see if your project falls under permitted development.
  2. Documentation: Prepare necessary documents including site plans, block plans, and a design and access statement.
  3. Submission: Submit the planning application via the Planning Portal or your local council’s website​​.

Detailed Building Regulations Requirements

  1. Foundations and Structural Integrity:
    • Foundations must be sufficient to bear the load of the orangery. The minimum depth is generally one metre, but this can vary based on soil conditions and the proximity of trees.
    • Structural integrity includes ensuring the building can withstand environmental stresses such as wind and snow loads​​.
  2. Thermal Performance and Insulation:
    • Walls, roofs, and glazing must achieve specific u-values to comply with thermal performance standards. For example, walls typically need a u-value of 0.28 W/m²K or lower​.
    • Proper insulation helps in maintaining energy efficiency and meeting environmental standards​​.
  3. Glazing and Safety:
    • Glazing must comply with safety standards, including the use of toughened glass in critical areas. This ensures both energy efficiency and occupant safety​​.
    • Adequate ventilation must be incorporated to prevent condensation and ensure air quality​​.
  4. Fire Safety:
    • Fire-resistant materials and adequate escape routes must be integrated into the design to comply with fire safety regulations. This includes ensuring doors and windows can act as means of escape in case of fire​​.

Additional Considerations

  1. Impact on Existing Structures:
    • Any modifications to existing structures must not compromise their compliance with building regulations. This includes ensuring that any new work does not adversely affect the thermal performance or structural integrity of the existing building.
  2. Historic and Listed Buildings:
    • If your property is a listed building or located in a conservation area, additional permissions may be required. Consult with local authorities to ensure all guidelines are followed​​.
  3. Accessibility:
    • Building regulations also cover accessibility, ensuring that the orangery is usable by people with disabilities. This includes providing appropriate access routes and facilities​​.


Understanding and complying with building regulations for orangeries ensures your project is safe, legal, and up to standard. While exemptions exist, many projects will still require some level of approval. Always consult with professionals to navigate these requirements effectively.

For more detailed information, refer to resources from the Planning Portal and the UK Government’s legislation website (Planning Portal)​​ (Planning Portal)​​ (Planning Portal)​.

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