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Do I need Planning Permission for Solid Wall Insulation?

Undertaking an EWI installation can be a difficult process. From finding the right installers, choosing the EWI system that suits you and your home, and accommodating the work on the house, there is a lot to think about. A critical factor to consider before you go ahead with EWI is whether or not you will need planning permission for it.

It’s always best to seek advice if you are unsure about this. To do this, you can call your local council and planning authority – it’s important to be one hundred per cent certain before you go ahead with any projects, especially as in certain cases (i.e. for listed buildings) it can be a criminal offence with a penalty of two years in prison or an unlimited fine if you undertake a project such as EWI without consent.

Every EWI installation is different, and your EWI installer/surveyor will most likely know the ins and outs of the circumstances where you will need to get planning permission. Still, we thought we would give you a brief overview of when you are likely to require planning permission for a solid wall insulation installation.

What is EWI in terms of construction?

Firstly, external wall insulation does not count as an extension or enlargement, and wall cladding is considered Permitted Development because the new cladding will be similar in appearance to the existing cladding and structure. So, the new cladding does not have to be made of the same material as the older cladding, so long as it mimics the look of it!

One reason why an EWI installation may not be allowed would be if the EWI crossed over the boundary line and onto your neighbour’s property. Boundary lines can be a very contentious issue for some neighbours and it’s often really unclear as to where the boundary line is. In this instance, you may be able to negotiate with your neighbour whether they are happy with where the EWI will be installed. Also, bear in mind that if your external wall insulation is physically close to another property, to comply with building regulations it will need to be fire resistant to prevent fires spreading from building to building. (Our Rockwool insulation is the best fire-retardant insulation material on the market).

In what instances do I need planning permission for solid wall insulation?

  • When it ‘overhangs’ land that is not considered to be in ownership of the property owner,
  • If the external cladding is of a different appearance to the current cladding/building appearance,
  • If you live in a listed building (you can check if your house is a listed building here https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/)
  • A flat or an apartment (usually these are lease-hold only, so any major changes will need to be approved by the freeholder)
  • a Conservation Area,
  • a National Park,
  • an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty,
  • or the Broads.

Outside of any of the above-restricted areas, you may carry out your EWI installation without the need for planning permission! The good news is that it’s a small percentage of people who would need this permission. However, as we mentioned before, it’s always best to check with your local authority.

Some local authorities have Article 4 Directions in place, which remove certain permitted development rights to maintain the character of a particular area. If your property is in an area with such directions, you may need planning permission for changes that would ordinarily be permitted development.

What do building regulations say about solid wall insulation?

In the UK, building regulations that concern external wall insulation are primarily found in Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) and Part B (Fire Safety) of the Building Regulations.

  1. Part L – Conservation of Fuel and Power: This part of the regulations focuses on the energy efficiency of buildings. It sets out the standards for thermal performance and energy use, including the requirements for the insulation of external walls. The aim is to reduce heat loss through the building envelope, thereby lowering energy consumption and carbon emissions.

  2. Part B – Fire Safety: This part is particularly crucial when it comes to external wall insulation, especially in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Part B specifies the requirements for fire safety concerning building design and construction, including the materials used for external wall insulation. It sets standards to ensure that materials used are fire-resistant and that they do not contribute to the spread of fire.

Other relevant parts of the Building Regulations may also apply, depending on the specific circumstances of the building and the insulation work. For example, Part A (Structure) may be relevant if the insulation work affects the structural integrity of the building, and Part C (Site preparation and resistance to contaminants and moisture) could be applicable if the insulation impacts the building’s resistance to moisture.

After getting planning permission for solid wall insulation

So you’ve sorted out your planning permission (whether it’s required or not) and you have the green light to go ahead with your EWI installation, what next? Well, your EWI installation does need to comply with building regulations. It is your installer’s responsibility to be able to certify this for you.

In brief, to comply with building regulations your EWI installation needs to have a damp-proof course to resist moisture from the ground, and it must be watertight so as to endure the effects of the weather. The materials used also need to be fire-resistant. This is all in the interest of health and safety because a poorly installed EWI system can present the risk of falling off the wall and potentially causing injury. Materials which aren’t approved and without adequate fire resistance can also dramatically contribute to the spread of fire.

Our materials here at EWI Store are all BBA-approved, which means that they are rigorously tested for any chemical or fire safety risks. We can also put you in touch with our approved installers who are all experienced in installing externally insulated render systems and have undertaken our specialist training course to ensure the safe and proper installation of our EWI system.

Are you looking for an EWI installer? Simply give us a call or an email and we would be delighted to put you through to one of our installers!


2 thoughts on “Do I need Planning Permission for Solid Wall Insulation?

  1. Hello. Do you know whether or not external wall insulation is a permitted development in Barnet Council when the existing brick walls are covered by an insulating render?

    1. Hi John, it is permitted development if the property is not in a Conservation Area, or if the building isn’t listed. However even if the EWI is installed, you should apply for a building control notice. This can be applied for prior to the project starting. But always worth checking with local building control on the cost and turnaround times. Hope that helps!

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