Do You Need Planning Permission for Air Conditioning? Understanding UK Regulations

Do You Need Planning Permission for Air Conditioning? Understanding UK Regulations

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Absolute Climate Solutions

Do you need planning permission for air conditioning? It is one of the most frequently asked questions among homeowners, residential property owners, and businesses looking to add A/C to their buildings. In this guide, our experts will provide the answers you need.

With Britain experiencing record temperatures in recent years, the appeal of air conditioning systems in homes and commercial properties is greater than ever before. However, you must first familiarise yourself with the current air conditioning legal requirements in the UK so that you can act with confidence.

From understanding AC restrictions to complying with air conditioning regulations UK, there are several key issues to consider ahead of your air conditioning installation in any residential or commercial property. Otherwise, you could be faced with a host of costly repercussions. Here’s all you need to know.

Do You Need Planning Permission for Air Conditioning in the UK?

There are officially no Building Regulations in place that explicitly state that planning permissions are required for air con installations in the UK. In fact, most general-use air conditioning units and air source heat pumps fall under the umbrella of permitted developments.

On the face of things, then, the air conditioning regulations UK do not require you to submit planning permissions. However, this does not mean you should rush into an installation.

Factors Influencing Planning Permission

While the air conditioning legal requirements UK do not have a blanket requirement for property owners to seek a green light from local authorities, air conditioning planning permission is still required in several situations.

Crucially, the location of your property could mean that an air conditioning planning permission application must be submitted. The most notable examples are;

In addition to locations, it’s important to consider the characteristics of the property. Air con installations for flats and listed dwellings may require planning permissions. Meanwhile, any major updates to Grade Listed buildings will require permission from the local authority.
Other issues that could prevent you from adding the unit without a permit include installations to pitched roofs, the presence of a wind turbine on the property, and its proximity to the property boundary or edge of a flat roof.

Domestic AC restrictions apply to units over 0.6m3 in size while commercial air con installations often require planning permissions too.

Understanding Air Conditioning Regulations in the UK

While specific air conditioning legal requirements UK are not stated by Building Regulations, all installations must comply with electrical safety guidelines and satisfy energy-efficiency Part L rulings. Thankfully, doing this with ideas like integrating renewable energy can save money as well as the environment.

Air Conditioner Distance from Boundary UK

When asking “Do you need planning permission for air conditioning?”, one of the most important issues to consider is the air conditioner distance from boundary UK guidelines.

In addition to being at least one metre from the edge of a flat roof, air conditioning regulations UK stipulate that air con units should be at least one metre from the property boundary and at least one metre from neighbouring properties.

Our experts suggest that installations are completed in a location that is the furthest away from neighbouring properties as possible (without becoming an inconvenience to you), not least due to potential noise pollution. Even if you don’t break the AC restrictions, it could lead to unnecessary animosity with neighbours.

Failure to adhere to the regulations could result in a fine or the enforced removal of your unit. If it is not possible to find a placement for the unit that is this far from the boundary, a planning permission application must be made.

Domestic vs. Commercial Air Conditioning Installations

When wondering “Do you need planning permission for air conditioning?”, it should be noted that there are significant differences between domestic and commercial AC installations. So, it’s important to understand the regulations connected to your type of project.

Domestic Air Conditioning Regulations

The current air conditioning regulations UK homeowners need to know are relatively simple. Firstly, if the unit is under 0.6m3 and not on a building with the protected characteristics mentioned above, it will be considered a permitted development. As far as placements are concerned, the air conditioner distance from boundary UK rulings of being one metre from neighbouring properties and your boundary are the key features.

For domestic air conditioning installations, it is also necessary to gain consent from the landlord if it is a leased or rented property. However, tenants may find that landlords will cover the cost before subsequently incorporating this into the monthly rent agreement.

Finally, as well as choosing an energy-efficient unit, all electrical work must comply with Part P of the Building Regulations guidelines.

Commercial Air Conditioning Regulations

When considering commercial air conditioning installations, the air conditioning legal requirements UK are a little more complicated.

An updated legislation for commercial buildings with air conditioning was released in 2018 and highlights the need to satisfy F-Gas regulations relating to greenhouse gases and refrigerants. Likewise, an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) is needed in commercial properties that are 500m2 or larger while a TM44 Regulation is needed for any system that exceeds an output of 12kW.

The need for commercial air conditioning planning permission is also influenced by the type of unit (single split type systems, multi-split type systems, or VRF/VRV systems). As such, it is always advised that you contact your local authority to discuss your project.

Air Conditioning Legal Requirements and Restrictions

Understanding the air conditioner distance from boundary UK regulations and other rules regarding aircon installations is one thing, but satisfying all compliance requirements is another.

Just 5% of homes have air con, although commercial installations are more commonly seen, but this figure is growing by the year. After all, both residential and commercial AC units aid comfort and financial efficiency. However, periodic inspections are also required. They cover examinations of refrigeration and heat exchange systems, as well as assessments of air moving systems and system controls.

Inspections should be conducted by a qualified and accredited energy assessor. This can be included as part of professional air conditioning servicing while the accompanying reports can last for 5-10 years depending on the specific document.

Conclusion and Next Steps

While there is no blanket rule stating that installations need permissions, it’s necessary to understand the Building Regulations because completing an installation when an air conditioning planning permission document was required could result in a fine or an enforced removal.

Even if you think your air conditioning unit will be a permitted development, it’s imperative that you hire a qualified AC specialist. As well as guaranteeing compliance, it is the best way to ensure that the best AC unit is selected and that the installation is completed to the highest possible standards.

For commercial or residential air con installations in Oxfordshire, contact the ACS team to discuss your project today.