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Air Conditioning Regulations & Planning Permission

The Planning System within the UK provides guidance for businesses and individuals in order to control where and what new building developments and changes take place. This system is in place to ensure that planning applications contribute to sustainable development, meaning that businesses, offices, shops, public buildings and new homes are built and designed in the correct way, protecting and improving the environment.

Planning applications submitted by businesses are typically related to extensions or alterations to the premises, changing the use of the premises, extending or building new premises. If a business seeks to extend office or retail premises, planning permission will need to be obtained. Planning permission will also usually be required for alterations or extensions to buildings within conservation areas or listed buildings.

Planning permission for warehouse or factory extensions or alterations will usually be required in the following circumstances:

  • If the proposed works reduce the space on site for turning or parking vehicles, or,
  • If the proposed works affect the exterior of the premises, or,
  • If the proposed works come within 5 metres of the site perimeter

In most cases, building new premises for commercial purposes will require the necessary planning permissions. In domestic properties, the owner will be responsible for adhering to the relevant permissions.

When installing air conditioning, regulations mean that planning permission will usually be required. However, individual circumstances differ from business to business and area to area so owners should always contact their Local Planning Authority before work begins to discuss their proposals. If businesses fail to adhere to the relevant guidelines, the owner will be liable should any corrective action be required.

Building Regulations

At present, owners do not need to obtain Building Regulation Approval before installing air conditioning. However, any electrical installation associated with the air conditioning should comply with the relevant electrical safety guidelines.

Landlord’s Consent

If the property or premises is leased, prior consent from the landlord will need to be obtained before any changes or additions to the building services take place, including the installation of air conditioning. It is highly advisable that you seek the advice and agreement of your landlord ahead of any works. In line with your tenancy agreement, you may be required to reinstate the property back to the condition that it was in at the beginning of the lease before vacating the premises. However, an energy-efficient air conditioning system could potentially increase the rental value of the premises, which means that the landlord might be willing to forgo the terms of the rental agreement that require the property to be restored back to its original condition when the lease ends.

This information regarding air conditioning regulations is intended for use as a guide only. The responsibility for obtaining planning permissions and seeking approval from the relevant authorities lies with the owner or manager of the property. Andrews Air Conditioning cannot provide implicit or explicit guidance in these matters and clients should always check with their Local Planning Authority before any works take place.