Things you need to know about planning permission for installing AC in the UK

Air conditioner

This might be surprising, but yes, AC is a common electrical gadget you’ll find in most UK homes now as the “London summer” today, is not as pleasant as it used to be.

So in a situation like this when every other home in the UK is getting an AC, people have a very common question – does AC installation require planning permission in the UK?

To put it simply, no. Generally planning permission is not required since most units are installed under the development rights that are permitted already.

However, there is a catch. In case your unit is quite large and makes a lot of noise, then you might have to get planning permission. However, regular air conditioning clean can keep the noise in check. In the case of a commercial AC, the outer unit must not be a problem for other properties in the vicinity.

The purpose of planning permission

Planning permission is solely dependent on the building in question to be precise. This permission basically is an approval that you will need from the local authorities to install an air conditioning unit in certain types of buildings such as conservatories, heritage buildings, orangeries, or if you want to remodel your private place for public use, and so on. This permission is to ensure that all the additions in the listed buildings are safe and convenient for people, as well as other buildings around it.

Air conditioning units and planning permission

Most of the units, the domestic ones per se, are installed under the general permitted development rights this means planning permission is not required.

For central units that are quite large, planning permission might be necessary. Still, permission depends on the size of the outer unit. You will not need planning permission if the points mentioned below are followed:

  • The external unit shouldn’t be installed on a pitched roof.
  • There shouldn’t be any wind turbine with the property or in the vicinity.
  • The external unit shouldn’t be installed within 1m of the edge of a flat roof.
  • The external compressor must have a volume of not more than 0.6m³.
  • The distance between the boundary of the property and the external unit must be 1m.

Rules and regulations pertaining to noise

If there is a chance that your external unit is causing noise pollution and if your neighbors complain then there is a possibility that the local authorities can forcibly take out your unit. This problem is easily avoidable firstly you can choose a unit that has “soft start” technology, secondly keep the outer unit clean always and thirdly install the external unit in such a way that there is a safe distance between the unit and any other building standing close to your property.

In a nutshell, these are everything that you need to know about the planning permission. However, if you are installing AC in a listed building then make sure that the unit is not noisy. Also, it should remain out of sight on the property’s front elevation then you might as well get exempted from fetching planning permission.