Permits and Building Code Requirements for Sunrooms, Patio Enclosures, Porch Enclosures, Conservatories, and Solariums
Requirements for Different Categories of Sunrooms
- Sunroom additions generally do require building permits and are required to meet building code specifications.
- AAMA/NPEA/NSA 2100-12 defines five categories of sunroom additions. Categories I-IV are defined as a "non-habitable, non-conditioned sunroom." Only Category V sunrooms are defined as "habitable and conditioned sunroom."
- Category V sunrooms are designed to be heated and/or cooled and open to the main structure. For example, a "bump out" sunroom addition would have a wall of the main structure removed so that the addition is completely open to the main structure and heated and/or cooled by the HVAC system of the primary structure.
- Ask your sunroom manufacturer/installer if your proposed sunroom complies with the Category V requirements, otherwise the room will be need to be separated from the main structure by an exterior wall or door.
- Category V sunrooms have specific requirements for air infiltration, water penetration, thermal performance, and structural integrity.
- Additionally, your sunroom will need to meet specifications for snow load and wind load and potentially for seismic loads.
- Screened porches are generally Category I and have the least requirements. Single-paned glass rooms are typically Category II or III additions. Four season rooms that are isolated from the primary structure and have separate HVAC systems are typically Category IV. Only Category V additions can be open to the main structure and are true "year round" additions.