Building Control - Exempt Buildings
Some buildings and extensions are exempt from the Building Regulations. These include small garden sheds, detached garages,
conservatories and porches. In all cases certain restrictions on size, use or construction
The following information has been provided to help you decide if your building works are
exempt. Most Building Control Departments will have an 'Exempt Buildings Form' which lists those works
which are entirely exempt. The completion and return of this form will allow the Council to provide you with
written confirmation that your proposed building work is exempt or not . There is no requirement to submit
this form, however, our experience has shown that written confirmation that works are exempt can be useful
and save time when the property is being sold. Please note that Planning Permission may also be required for
your proposed building work. Therefore you are advised to contact the Development Control Section to seek
Glazing for Conservatories and Porches Any glazing shown in the shaded areas of the
diagram below needs to comply with Approved Document N of the Building Regulations 1992, for the proposals to
be considered exempt.
Types of Exempt Building Work Certain buildings and extensions are granted complete
exemption from the Building Regulations, these are listed below:
Class I - Buildings controlled under other legislation. eg. Ancient Monuments and Nuclear power
Class II - Buildings not frequented by people. eg. Detached building housing plant, only visited for
Class III - Greenhouses and agricultural buildings. Greenhouses provided they are not used for retailing, packing
or exhibiting. Agricultural buildings, eg. a barn used solely for keeping animals. Class IV - Temporary buildings.
eg. a marquee erected for a show or exhibition.
Class V - Ancillary buildings. eg. huts on a construction site.
Class VI - Small detached buildings. See diagram below.
Class VII - Extensions. See diagram below. In addition to this, other criteria is applicable to conservatories and
Building Control - Policy Note 3/02 Criteria for an extension, used as a conservatory,
being exempt from the Building Regulations - [Schedule 2, Exempt Buildings and Work, Class VII (a)]
Background: Over recent years the public perception of what can be termed a conservatory has changed. The
Oxford Dictionary (1990) defines a conservatory as "a greenhouse for tender plants " and in particular "one
attached to and communicating with a house". The Building Regulations, Approved Document L1, Section 1 (1.58)
states that "a conservatory has not less than three quarters of the area of its roof and not less than one
half of the area of its external walls made of translucent material" Since conservatories became exempt under
the 1985 Building Regulations manufacturers have exploited this exemption by promoting them for such uses as
breakfast, dining and sitting rooms: effectively they are seen as an extension to living
Policy: To be considered exempt, an extension to a building for use as a conservatory
shall be: At ground level and not exceed 30m2 floor area. Glazed to satisfy the requirements of Part N of
Schedule 1. Physically separated internally from the building it is attached to, e.g. by a door. Without
sanitary appliances. Provided with separate temperature and on/off controls on any fixed heating. Not
intended for year round habitable use. Used to some extent for the propagation of plants. Note: All other
extensions used as a conservatory are fully controlled under the Building Regulations, as are all
conservatories erected in conjunction with a new build house.
Building Control - Policy Note 4/02 Criteria for an extension, used as a porch, being
exempt from the Building Regulation - [Schedule 2, Exempt Buildings and Work, Class VII (a)]. Background:
Since porches became exempt under the 1985 Building Regulations owners and developers have exploited this to
cover a wide range of extensions. The Oxford Dictionary 1990 defines a porch as "a low structure projecting
from the doorway of a house and forming a covered entrance". Policy: To be considered exempt, an extension to
a building for use as a porch shall be: At ground level and not exceed 30m2 floor area. Glazed to satisfy the
requirements of Part N of Schedule 1. Positioned over and physically separated from the building it is
attached to by a door. Without sanitary appliances. Provided with separate temperature and on/off controls on
any fixed heating.
Development Control - PLANNING
Planning advice - what you can and cannot do:
Domestic Alterations, Extensions and alterations, Roof extensions, Swimming Pools, Garages,
Garden Sheds, Greenhouses, Porches, Containers, Hardstanding, Gates, Fences, Walls, Satellite antenna,
All of the above works can to some degree be completed without the need to obtain a specific
Planning Approval. This is called Permitted Development. However, like most government legislation it
is riddled with catches & restrictions so you must always check first as your site might have specific
conditions that do not allow the implementation of your permitted development rights.
Applications for planning permission to carry out domestic work constitute the largest single
category of applications dealt with by most Councils (approximately 40% of the total).The following summary
provides general guidance on a number of minor domestic works which may normally be undertaken without the
need for an application for planning permission. However, professional advice should always be sought before
carrying out works, because the regulations themselves are complex. Particular care must be taken if the
house is a listed building, is within a conservation area, or affected by an Article 4 Direction, or is in an
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
(1) Extensions or other alterations provided that:
(a) measured around the outside, the extension is less than 70 cubic metres or 15%* of the
volume of the original house, whichever is the greater. If the house is in a terrace, or a conservation area
or an AONB, the limit is 50 cubic metres or 10%*. If the house has been extended before, the volume of this
must be added to the new work and, together, be less than the limit;* In these cases, an overall maximum of
115 metres applies.
(b) any extension does not project above the highest part of the roof of the original
(c) no part of the extension is within 20 metres of any highway**. However, if the original
house is less than 20 metres from a highway, any extension must not be nearer the highway than the original
(d) no part of any extension, within 2 metres of a boundary, is more than 4 metres
(e) the total area of such building does not exceed one half of the garden
(f) within a conservation area or AONB, no cladding of any part of the exterior with stone,
artificial stone, timber, plastic or tiles, is carried out.** A footpath may be a highway for the purposes of
(2) Roof extensions provided that:
(a) any extension does not exceed the highest part of the existing roof;
(b) any extension does not extend beyond an existing roof slope which fronts a highway**;** A
footpath may be a highway for the purposes of this provision.
(c) the cubic content of the house is not increased by more than 40m3, in the case of a terraced
house, or 50m3 in any other case;
(d) as with other extensions, the cubic content of the original house must not be increased
beyond the limits set out in item
(1)(a). If the house has been extended before, the volume of this must be added to the roof
extension and together be less than the relevant limit;(e) the house is not in a conservation area or an
(3) Swimming pools, garages***, garden sheds, greenhouses, etc, required for domestic
purposes provided that:
(a) any development is not within 20 metres of a highway**. If the original house is less than
20 metres from a highway, any development must not be nearer the highway than the original
(b) any building greater than 10 cubic metres is not within 5 metres of the house. Such
buildings may sometimes be treated as extensions and fall within (1) above;
(c) in the case of a ridged roof, its height does not exceed 4 metres and, in any other case, 3
(d) any building is not greater than 10 cubic metres, if the house is listed or if it is in a
conservation area or an AONB;
(e) the total area of any development does not exceed half of the garden area of the house.***
An application for planning permission may be needed to form or alter an access to a highway, particularly if
it is a classified road.
(4) Porches provided that:
(a) their floor area does not exceed 3 square metres;(b) they are not more than 3 metres
high;(c) they are not within 2 metres of any highway**.** A footpath may be a highway for the purposes of
(5) Containers for storage of oil for domestic heating provided that:
(a) their capacity is not more than 3,500 litres;(b) they are not more than 3 metres above
ground;(c) they are at least 20 metres from the highway or, if the original house is less than 20 metres from
the highway, not closer to the highway than the original house**.
(6) Hardstanding*** within the garden of a house for domestic purposes eg a patio or a car
parking space.*** An application for planning permission may be needed to form or alter an access to a
highway, particularly if it is a classified road.
(7) Gates, fences or walls provided that:
(a) they do not exceed 1 metre in height adjacent to a highway used by vehicles, or 2 metres
(b) they do not exceed the height of any existing gate, fence or wall if these are greater than
the heights referred to in (a);
(c) the house is not listed.
(8) A satellite antenna provided that:
(a) it does not exceed 90cm in any dimension, or 45cm if installed on a
(b) there is no other satellite antenna on the house or within the garden;
(c) it is not higher than the highest part of the roof, or the highest part of the chimney if
installed on a chimney; Note: Special restrictions apply in conservation areas and AONB’s. In all cases an
antenna must be sited to minimise its effect on the external appearance.
(9) The painting of the exterior provided that:
(a) it is not for the purpose of advertisement, announcement or direction.* In these cases, an
overall maximum of 115 metres applies. ** A footpath may be a highway for the purposes of this provision. ***
An application for planning permission may be needed to form or alter an access to a highway, particularly if
it is a classified road.
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