Alterations to Windows
This guidance is intended to give brief advice where the proposal is not within a Conservation Area or on a listed building. In such cases, additional, specialist advice is available, from the Conservation Team.
Is Planning Permission required: single family dwellings
Where a property is a single dwellinghouse (and is not a Listed Building, or affected by an Article 4 direction), replacement windows will not usually require planning permission, however, an exception is where a normal window is being replaced with a bay window, and the bay would project closer to an adjoining road than the nearest part of the house. You can find out whether your property is in a conservation area or affected by an Article 4 Direction.
Is Planning Permission required: flats and commercial premises
Where a property is divided into flats, no 'permitted development rights' exist, so the replacement of, or alteration to existing windows always needs planning permission, unless the replacements are exactly 'like for like' in terms of pattern, frame width, profile and material. This applies wherever the property is in the town.
Choosing the Right Windows
Where windows in flats are in need of replacement, the type of materials to be used should be considered carefully. In most cases the replacements should reflect the materials and general appearance of the other windows in the building. However, if all or most of the existing windows are themselves unsympathetic replacement windows, a change in material may be considered where this would enhance the appearance and proportions of the building. However, it would then be expected that any further replacements would need to follow the new design. If there is a managing agent or committee responsible for external upkeep of the building, it is advisable to agree the design so that future replacements can follow the same design.
In older buildings slim profiled glazing bars should normally be used and the proportions of the windows should be carefully considered in relation to those of the original building; for example, many older buildings incorporate a vertical emphasis, reflected in the proportions of the windows.
The type of windows should also be carefully considered - on many period buildings, sliding sash units are often more appropriate than top hung units, which tend to have very 'chunky' horizontal central bars, which often detract from the vertical proportions of a window opening. Top hung windows in period buildings look particularly out of place when they are open. It is now possible to obtain uPVC sliding sash window units relatively easily.
Traditional timber windows would normally be made up of individual glazed panels, with the glazing bars holding the glass in place. With double glazed units, the area between the glazing is usually sealed, and therefore any additional glazing bars are usually false, added in an attempt to imitate traditional windows. Whilst it will usually be desirable to have some subdivision of the window, the use of glazing bars placed internally between the two glazing units should be avoided, as they are particularly unconvincing. Externally applied 'glazing bars' should be used, with a profile to match the look of a traditional glazing bar. Having the false glazing bar applied to the internal and external surfaces of the glass also helps to lead to a more convincing appearance. Excessive and overly fussy subdivision of windows should be avoided, especially if this does not follow the pattern of other windows in the building.
On modern buildings and purpose built flats, side opening units are often used, and so will be appropriate when replacements are required, whereas on older buildings, such designs would be out of place. The introduction of different coloured window frames within a building would not usually be considered acceptable unless this is to rectify unsympathetic windows that have already been inserted.
In many cases you do not need to make a planning application to install rooflights that follow the slope of the roof in a single family dwelling, but you will if you live in a flat. You should always check with us before starting work. Dormer windows are dealt with separately.
It is usually preferable for any new rooflights to be positioned on roof slopes which are not prominent or visible from public view. Also care should be taken wherever possible to avoid overlooking neighbouring properties by siting the roof light well above eye level.
On older buildings, using a conservation roof light should be considered. These rooflights do not project beyond the roof plane, unlike conventional rooflights and usually incorporate more slender frames, as well as additional central glazing bars. The size of roof light should be kept as small as possible, whilst bearing in mind Building Regulation requirements for natural day lighting and ventilation. This is especially important on more visible roof slopes.
The use of false treatments to glazing, such as 'stick-on' lead patterns and false stained glass panels should normally be avoided, as this tends to look overly 'fussy' and detract from the overall unity of the building.
Where doors are also to be replaced, consideration should be given to retaining a traditional timber door, with finish and detailing appropriate to the age of the property. Inappropriate door designs, such as 'mock Georgian' styles, and those with decorative glazed panels inserted into a standard uPVC unit should be avoided.
When submitting a planning application for replacement windows, as well as the usual 1:50 or 1:100 scale elevations, typical windows sections, drawn at a scale of at least 1:2, will be required. The drawings should show the width of the window mullions and the relationship of them and any opening lights with the remainder of the window and the external wall of the building. Typical elevations, at a scale of 1:10, should be provided with the application details. The window manufacturer should be able to provide these details in most cases.
It should be noted that all replacement window units should comply with current Building Regulation requirements. Most window companies are members of the FENSA scheme and their windows will comply with the building regulations without the need to make an application for building regulations approval. It is best to check this with the window supplier, but if in doubt, please contact our Building Control Section (details given below) or visit www.fensa.co.uk for more information.
Building Control Contact details are:
Wealden District Council
Tel: 01892 602005
Fax: 01892 602777