Air Conditioning Planning Permission & Listed Building Consent
Planning Permission for air conditioning units.
It used to be that planning permission was commonly required for nearly all forms of air conditioning equipment. The main concerns of planning authorities was around noise and external the appearance of the air conditioning condenser units.
However, new rules have come into force regarding planning permission for domestic air source heat pumps (i.e. air conditioning units) installations. These new rules mean planning permission will is no longer an issue.
Air source heat pumps will now join the ranks of the likes of solar PV, solar thermal and biomass boilers, and are now classified as a permitted development in England. There is a catch as there a few stipulations and the following criteria must be met:
- That there is no wind turbine at the property
- It meets additional criteria if you live in a listed building, in a conservation area or a World Heritage Site
- The external unit is less than 0.6 m3 in size
- The unit is more than one metre from the edge of the householder’s property
- It is not on a pitched roof or near the edge of a flat roof.
- The noise level must be below 42dB(a) at a position one metre external to the centre point of any door or window to a habitable room of a neighbouring property as measured perpendicular to the plane of the door or window (that was a mouthful).
It is the last point that can be a snag as many air source air conditioners cannot currently meet this and hence unless you have no neighbours, you are still be required to obtain planning permission. So check the manufacturer’s specification before progressing without planning permission.
Full details the legislation can be found here:
Listed Building Consent
Planning permission and listed building consent will normally be required to install air conditioning and refrigeration units on the exterior of buildings. Listed building consent may also be required to install units within listed buildings where units would disrupt architectural features and fixtures.
You would be unlikely to get any form of Listed Building consent to install air conditioning condensers located on the front elevation (or any other conspicuous elevation) of buildings, including roofs and the flat roofs of projecting frontages.
Big improvements have been made in recent years to the size of air conditioning external units, so they are a lot smaller and quiter than they used to be. There are even ranges of units that have no external at all. That said, they still have to vent through the wall somewhere and you guessed it, you even need Listed building consent to install ventilation grilles on the front elevation (or any conspicuous elevations).
So, as with all of these things, there are trade off’s so best talk to a specialist before rushing out to buy and self install units such as these in listed buildings.
Currently, Building Regulation Approval is not required for the installation of air conditioning. Note however, that any associated electrical installation must comply with electrical safety standards.
If your property is leased, the provisions of your tenancy agreement will almost certainly require you to obtain consent from your landlord before installing building services such as air conditioning. Whilst such consent should not unreasonably be withheld, it is always advisable to consult and gain agreement with your landlord before commencing any air conditioning installation work.
It should also be remembered that your tenancy may require you to restore the property back to its original condition at the end of your lease. In the case of air conditioning, however, this may well enhance the rental value of the property and the landlord may, on this basis, be content to waive the requirement for it to be removed