Do I Need Planning Permission for Roof Windows?

Windows, Lanterns & Sun Tunnels
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Do I Need Planning Permission for Roof Windows?

Installing roof windows into your home is a fantastic way to add space, ventilation, and natural light to your living space. They can even add value to your home! Thanks to continued innovation, modern roof windows are better than ever and come in a huge range of styles, shapes, and sizes.

But as with many home improvements, you may be wondering if installing a roof window requires planning permission. In this article, we’re going to go through everything you’ll need to consider, to make sure you can upgrade your home without breaking any planning rules or building regulations.

Things to Consider

Permitted Development

Permitted development rights are a set of restrictions that permit the improvement or extension of homes without the requirement of planning permission. Permitted development rights apply to most common projects, however, may not apply to flats, maisonettes and some other buildings.

Permitted development may also be restricted in ‘designated areas’ such as conservation areas, World Heritage sites, Areas of Outstanding Beauty, National Parks or the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads. You should always check with your local council to ensure that your property fits within the guidelines for permitted development.

So, what are the permitted development rules for a roof window?

Permitted development allows the installation or replacement of roof windows as long as they are within the following rules:

  • Roof window must not protrude more than 15cm above the roof’s plane
  • No changes must be made to the chimney, flue, soil/vent pipe, or solar panels
  • Roof window must not protrude over the roof ridge
  • Roof window must not be higher than the roof’s highest point
  • Side-facing windows that are more than 1.7m above the ground and are overlooking neighbours, must be obscure glazed
  • Side-facing windows under 1.7m above the ground must not be able to be opened

Article 4 Direction

However, permitted development rights will be removed if you are a leaseholder or live in a building where the local authority has made an Article 4 Direction. This means you will require planning permission for the installation and replacement of roof windows.

What is an Article 4 Direction?

An Article 4 Direction is a direction under Article 4 of the General Permitted Development Order. It enables the Secretary of State or local planning authority to withdraw permitted development rights across a defined area. The use of Article 4 Directions are typically used in protected or conservation areas where the local amenity or character of the area could be affected.

To read the legislation, please click here.

Conservation Windows

If you live in a stated conservation area but do want to install a roof window, there may be some kinds that could be accepted by your local planning authority. ‘Conservation windows’ are designed to blend with the surrounding area with a less conspicuous look. They are made to appear more traditional and discreet and are able to coordinate with slate and tile roofing.

The FAKRO Centre Pivot Conservation Pitched Roof Window is a great example of this. This conservation window has been designed to create a more traditional aesthetic, blending with a variety of roofing types. It still offers fantastic style and practicality whilst creating a lesser visual impact on surrounding spaces.

Building Regulations Approval

Adding or altering an existing roof window can have an impact on the roof structure which could cause unplanned movement. The roof should be able to continue performing safely without any kind of movement, still meeting all building regulation rules.

You must always ensure that the necessary building regulations are followed and that you have building regulations approval for all installation or modification work.

Approval will be required for roof window installation because:

  • The roof structure may need to be modified to create the necessary opening for the roof window
  • Fire performance must be evaluated if close to a boundary
  • Roof windows must be sufficiently insulated with good energy performance
  • The roof may require structural strengthening before installation to carry the weight of the roof window safely

These regulations underline the minimum legal standards for design and safety and must be complied with. The two types of building regulations for a roof include ‘work on an existing roof’ and ‘construction of a new roof’.

Take a look at Approved Document J and Approved Document L of the Building Regulations. These discuss the thermal insulation, energy efficiency and fire protection of the structure.

So, Will I Need Planning Permission for My Roof Window?

Planning permission is not usually required when installing a roof window, especially if replacing an existing window of the same size. You may sometimes require planning permission if you are making significant changes to the structure and appearance of a property, however, it is always best to check with your local authority. We always recommend that you seek professional planning permission advice if you are unsure of how the mentioned points affect your house or area.

If you are looking to start your own roof window project, take a look at the affordable, high-quality range of roof windows available on Roofing Megastore now. With a range of colours and styles available, you can find the perfect roof window for your property.

For any questions or queries, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly customer service team who will be more than happy to help. Give them a call on 01295 565565, email [email protected], or leave a message in our handy live chat.

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