Building advice

Planning and approvals

Do I need planning permission for my school or business?

The following is a guide only as each district has different rules; please check with your local planning office.

For a permanent extension, temporary classrooms or other buildings, sheds or other structures, you need planning permission if:

  • The extension/building is more than 250 cubic metres (external measurements)
  • Any part of the building erected would be within 20 metres of the boundary of the school site
  • The site is used for play, either hard surfaced or playing field
  • The extension/building would not be used as part of, or incidental to, the use of the school (e.g. sports facilities for community use would need planning permission)
  • The cumulative floorspace, together with other buildings erected since 6 March 95, would exceed 10% of the total floorspace of the original school at 9 March 95
  • Materials used to construct the extension/building would not be of a similar appearance to those used for the original school building
  • The building is listed as being of architectural or historic interest
Do I need planning permission for my garden?

Under normal circumstances, and if built 5m beyond the house, and there is plenty of land no planning permission is required in the UK for most of our domes under 4m in height.

If the dome is sited closer than 5m to the house, it is classed as an extension and standard allowances apply. If the property is listed building or in an area of outstanding natural beauty or a conservation area, you will need to check with your local planning office, as planning restrictions will apply.

Do they require building controls?

Building controls are not required for the SOLARDOME® Pod, SOLARDOME® Haven or SOLARDOME® Retreat as the floor area is less than 30m2.

They may be required for the larger SOLARDOME® Sanctuary or SOLARDOME® Paradise dependent on usage. If used mainly as a greenhouse they are exempt. However, if used as an outdoor classroom you will require building controls. Please ask us for more information or contact your local building controls department.

All the SOLARDOME® PRO domes require building controls and planning permission.

Site preparation

What base or foundations do I need?

Solardome® glasshouses are lightweight and don’t require deep foundations. However, for longevity they require a solid, level base of: concrete, lime crete, brickwork, decking or patio slabs.  As a minimum, there must be a level, solid ring beam under the circumference of the dome’s foundation plates.  Please ask to see our base preparation instructions.

We can also provide an integrated base to fit the dome structure.  The integrated base is an aluminium metal webbed structure with exterior grade wooden panels fitted on top. There is no need to flash around the dome with the integrated base. For ground works, the integrated base requires either concrete piles or a concrete ring beam for the base to bolt to.

A SOLARDOME® PRO dome is designed to your specific requirements. Please contact us for more information about base requirements.

Can I put services in the dome?

We recommend electrics and/or water supply are installed when the base is constructed. Our base specifications provide recommendations on where to put the service ducts.  Please note: electrics in the dome  must be rated for outdoor use and the dome must be earthed.

As our PRO domes can be designed as proper buildings all facilities and services can be installed in them if discussed at the time of the project specification.


Can I assemble the dome myself?

Yes, for our smaller glasshouses it is possible for you to assemble the dome yourself. We provide detailed assembly instructions which are colour coded and carefully written. Only basic hand tools, a drill to secure the base, and a ladder or access tower are required.

Please note our SOLARDOME® PRO system requires the support of a professional installation team.

Can I build it on a wall?

Yes, we recommend a wall about 325 mm high, please contact us for site preparation instructions.

Please tell us if you are planning to do this when you place your order as you will need a quote for a longer door and door frame.

Will Solardome Industries install the dome?

We provide a full installation service for all domes, and if we build the dome we provide a one year installation guarantee in addition to the 10 year frame and materials guarantee.