Planning Permission

Is Planning Permission Essential When Adding an Extension?

If you are settled in your home or want to avoid rising interest rates but need more room, then an extension may be an ideal solution. However, before you start building, take a moment to check out the following advice.

Finding Out if You Need Planning Permission

Before any extension can be built, it is essential that you understand the legal implications and know whether you need to obtain planning permission or not. The advice provided below relates directly to houses only, meaning that if you live in a flat or another type of building, then you will need to take further advice.

Is Your Extension a Permitted Development?

Firstly, a lot of homeowners find that their new extension comes under the umbrella of being a ‘permitted development’. In these cases, there is no need to get planning permission or apply for anything before you start work. However, for your extension to come under this permission, then you will need to stick to the limits and criteria as set out by the planning laws in your area.

Some of the most common rules for permitted developments include:

  • Ensuring that your extension uses no more than half the area of land around your house – including any previous extensions that have been added.
  • Ensuring that your extension will not be nearer a public highway at the front or side of the property than it currently is.
  • That it is not higher than the tallest part of your roof.
  • If you are installing a single-storey extension, then it cannot branch out further than 3m from the original house if it is semi-detached or four meters if it is a detached house.
  • A single-storey extension can be no taller than 4m high.
  • If you are installing a two-storey extension, then it cannot branch out further than 3m from the original house.
  • Your ridge height and eaves must not be higher than your current property’s.
  • If you are installing a two-storey extension, then it cannot be closer to the rear boundary than 7m.
  • Any materials you plan to use must be in line with the current property.

Remember that there will also be local requirements to adhere to, so make sure you engage with your local planning team to find out more.

Organising Planning Permission

If your plans fall out of the scope for permitted development, then you will need to apply for planning permission. Before you submit an application, it is wise to speak to your local planning team to get advice on your plans and to discuss if they need any modifications before being submitted. You can find the contact details of your local planning office by contacting your local authority.

Planning Permission Granted – Where Next?

Once your planning permission has been granted, you are sure to want to get started. However, you will need to check the title deeds of your property first to make sure that you do not need any further consents from the builder of the property or developer. Failure to do this could result in you being in breach of covenant and being ordered to take down the extension even if you have planning permission. You may also find that you do not need planning permission, but you do need building regulations in place before you can begin work.

Ultimately, ticking every box and checking thoroughly whether you need planning permission or any other consent before you start your project will mean that you can enjoy your extension without any unexpected and unpleasant surprises.

Patio Doors

What Are The Most Energy Efficient Patio Doors?

If you’re thinking of upgrading the doors and windows in your home, you may wish to consider adding a set of new patio doors to your shopping list…

With the drive to make homes more energy-efficient – saving money and the planet – what should you look out for when choosing new patio doors?

Check out our guide to the most energy-efficient patio doors and find the best option for you and your home.

How is efficiency measured?

Modern patio doors come in a range of materials and finishes, and some are more energy-efficient than others, although most modern materials are becoming more and more eco-friendly.

In addition, Window insulation is measured as a U-value or U-factor, so all products will come with their own U-Value.

Check with your supplier or installer for the best option for your needs.

Patio Door Styles

  • Patio doors have come a long way in recent years, and there is so much choice available when it comes to design, cost, the space required, and the style of your home.
  • French windows are a set of two hinged doors coming together in the middle and fastening shut with a lock.
  • Bi-fold doors are set of usually a minimum of three leaves, which concertina fold along a track to open fully with no adjoining post in the centre.
  • Sliding doors are the most usual design when we think of patio doors, and are a great option if there is no space for a bifold door and you want to open up space more than you can with a French Door.

Patio Door Materials

As with most things around the home if you choose quality materials and professional installation, whichever style you go for, they will function correctly and efficiently.

You have a few options when it comes to materials:


It may seem like the more expensive option, but custom-built timber patio doors are a timeless option and, if well-maintained annually, will retain their organic beauty and efficiency for many years.

In addition, The natural insulating properties of wood mean that well installed, sealed, and treated wooden doors can be super-efficient and achieve a low U-value.


Aluminium as a construction material has improved so much over the years, transforming from a highly inefficient conductor to one of the best insulators around.

New designs include a plastic thermal break within the frame, which makes it exceptionally efficient offering excellent U-values.

It is also very strong, so is great for larger installations, where aesthetics are just as important as efficiency.

Add to that, the material is highly recyclable and available, and they’re the eco-friendly choice too.


uPVC patio door frames offer probably the best all-round efficiency ratings.

With thicker frames, due to its lack of strength, and less glass, due to potential weight issues, the new internal multi-chamber design consists of several layers tightly sealed to retain the warmth.

Available in a range of finishes, it’s a great choice for design and efficiency.

Remember, there are also other factors to consider when evaluating the efficiency of your patio doors, from the experience of your installer through to triple glazing and built-in blinds.

So think carefully about what’s really important to you and your home before you choose your style.


For more information on the right type of patio door for you call us free today on 0800 1777 771.

What Are The Different Types Of Double Glazing?

When it comes to buying new windows, there is an endless number of options available to you.

Whether it’s the style, frame material, or even frame colour, the type of glass is often low down on the list of decisions.

However, the glass itself also comes with a range of options….

There are eight main glass types used in double glazed windows throughout the UK:


1. Annealed/float glass

Nowadays, most windows are made by floating molten glass over molten metal to give the glass a consistent thickness and a flat surface.

This is annealed glass, also known as float glass.

All of the following forms of double-glazing start out as annealed glass, made by this method.

Double glazing is made by connecting two panes of annealed glass with a pocket of heavy gas such as argon in between.

The gas is heavier than atmospheric air, and this is what gives double-glazing qualities such as strength, insulation, and even soundproofing.

COST: This form of glass is the most cost-effective and sets the standard throughout the range.


2. Tempered/toughened glass

This option stays in good condition between 5 – 10 years longer than standard annealed glass so it doesn’t need to be replaced as often, which could balance out the higher initial cost factor.

For safety, when tempered glass breaks it shatters into small pieces which reduces the chance of serious injury in comparison to standard glass which breaks into long shards. Building Regulations require tempered glass for:

  • Windows which have been fitted 800mm or lower from the floor level,
  • Windows which have been fitted at a distance of 300mm or less from a door, and up to 1500mm from the level of the floor,
  • Glazed doors fitted up to 1500mm from the floor level.

COST: Up to 25% more expensive than standard glass.


3.Laminated glass

There is a plastic interlayer in laminated glass which coasts the pane and holds the glass is place when the window is shattered, reducing risk of injury. This glass is often used in shop windows and car windscreens.

This option has the additional benefit of security against break-ins as the glass holds tightly in place when broken. This glass also protects carpets and furniture from sun bleaching.

COST: Up to 40% more expensive than standard glass.


4. Low E glass

Low E – short for ‘energy’ – glass reflects heat back into the home using a thin film of metal which coats the glass pane.

The metal film is transparent, allowing heat and light to pass through the glass.

COST: Up to 25% more expensive than standard glass, however savings made on energy bills can balance out the cost of the initial investment.


5. Self-cleaning glass

Self-cleaning glass has a thin layer of titanium dioxide on the outside – thin enough to allow a minimum of 95% light of a standard window through.

The titanium dioxide is stimulated by UV rays to extract water from the air.

These water molecules react with the titanium dioxide on the surface of the window to break down any organic matter.

The organic matter is either washed away when it rains, or when gravity causes the thin film of water molecules to run down the window, cleaning away the organic matter.

The glass inside the home still needs to be cleaned manually, and the effectiveness of self-cleaning glass is limited in areas with high pollutant levels, or significant airborne salt levels.

COST: Up to 20% more expensive than standard glass.


6. Noise control glass

This option is best for properties located in areas of high noise pollution.

Described as ‘acoustically insulating glass’, this option incorporates a specially manufactured interlayer to limit noise by up to 75%.

The interlayer also provides a shatterproof quality, for added safety.

COST: Up to 25% more expensive than standard glass, so it may be worthwhile installing this option in select windows, such as those at the front of the property if the property faces the main road.


7. Fire protection glass

As well as being fire-resistant for up to 180 minutes at temperatures of up to 870oC, this glass can also withstand smoke which can be even more detrimental to health.

The clear resin interlayers between the glass panes are fire-resistant, and the panes themselves are thicker than standard glass. The thicker glass also offers noise reduction, and UV protection.


Getting A Conservatory Built On 0% Finance

Adding a conservatory to your home not only gives you more living space to enjoy, but it can also add value to your property – up to 7%, according to TV property guru, Phil Spencer.

With sunnier days approaching, it’s the perfect time to think about investing in a conservatory to enjoy with friends and family.

Buying a conservatory is now easier than ever, with 0% interest and for some of our windows and doors, there is even 0% APR.

Sovereign Home Improvements offer credit on these terms between 36 months and 10 years with no early repayment fees.

Alternatively, take up a short-term loan with 0% interest and minimal APR.


Representative examples:

Amount of Credit £3000 £2500 £2000
Deposit £0 £0 £0
Representative Rate 0%*APR 0%* APR 9.9% APR
Duration 120 Months 36 Months 24 Months
Monthly Payments £25 £69.44 £91.80
Interest Rate (fixed) 0% 0% 9.9%
Total Amount repayable £3000 £2500 £2203.20


Why buy a conservatory on finance?

  • 0% deposit – you won’t need to make a dent in your savings to add value to your home.
  • Budget friendly– you’ll know exactly how much is coming out of your bank every month.
  • On your terms– we’ll work together to make the best repayment plan to suit you.
  • Rewarded – there are no hidden charges if you pay off your loan earlier than planned.
  • Safe – your home won’t be used as collateral against the loan.
  • Convenience – apply for your loan from the comfort of your own home.
  • Fast– there’s no long wait for a decision on your loan approval.
  • Peace of mind– your loan is protected by law under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.


Why invest in a conservatory?

If the idea of adding value to your home didn’t sell you on buying a conservatory and you’re still on the fence about whether or not to contact us, here are a few ideas of how a conservatory could improve your living space:

  • Guest bedroom: with the right heating and window coverings to ensure your guests get a restful night’s sleep, a conservatory can add an extra bedroom to your property.
  • Dining room: you can soon invite your family and friends over to sample your lockdown-learned cookery skills in a new conservatory dining room.
  • Games room: for kids and big kids alike – it is an ideal space for a playroom or a pool table.
  • Living room: a conservatory can provide a restful and peaceful environment with open views over your garden so you can enjoy nature, even in inclement weather.
  • Home office: it could be an excellent workspace away from the hubbub of home life.
  • Greenhouse: conservatories can offer excellent growing conditions for your house plants and provide the ideal conditions for an indoor green space.


How to buy a conservatory with Sovereign Home Improvements?

Once you’ve chosen your ideal conservatory, call us on 0800 1777 771 to arrange a home design survey.

After the initial appointment, we can confirm the price, installation start date and schedule of works.

We will then arrange a payment plan* with our lender Creation Consumer Finance Ltd.


*Payment plans are available on all applicable products, but loans are subject to approval by our lender Creation Consumer Finance Ltd and are based on finance suitability.