In this blog, we discuss a question which we regularly get asked by customers - "Do I need planning permission to install a roof window?" - as well as analysing certain sections of the Planning Portal. 
The increasing desire to add a roof window to a home is as common now as ever before due to more homeowners looking to convert instead of moving. Coupling desire with how affordable it is to renovate, conversions are more within reach for the average homeowner. 
Flooding your home with natural light reduces the need for artificial lighting, saving you money on those horrible electric bills whilst also creating the illusion of even more space. 
What is the Planning Portal? 
The Planning Portal is an easily accessible, Government-run directory containing information on planning and building regulations as well as being the place to fill out and complete applications for planning permission or building control. It should be one of the first places you visit when you've officially decided to make any kind of building renovation to your home. 
The Portal is kept up-to-date on a weekly basis with the latest news on planning and developments whilst also offering help to homeowners with no construction background. 
What Does Planning Portal say About... 
When it comes to inserting rooflights or skylights into your home, generally there isn't a need to apply for planning permission as long as the following limits and conditions are met: 
Any windows installed must protrude no more than 150 millimetres above the existing roof plane 
No alteration can be higher than the highest part of roof or stand out above the roof ridge 
Side-facing windows are to consist of obscure glazing for privacy purposes and should not be openable unless 1.7m above the floor 
You can read more at Planning Portal - Planning Permission | Doors and Windows 
Loft Conversions 
Moving up instead of out seems to be one of the most popular themes of the 21st century with more homeowners looking to develop instead of moving to a bigger property. 
Investing in a loft conversion will cost you on average £20,000 (depending on what part of the country you live in) but it can add a lot more to your home in terms of value and required living space. 
Planning permission itself is not normally required for a loft conversion, however, much like an extension, your development must meet and exceed specified conditions. 
These conditions differ from house-to-house with different condition limits being set depending on what house you have (detached, semi-detached, terraced). 
The conditions in question are specific to "the enlargement of a dwellinghouse consisting of an addition or alteration to its roof", which can be found in detailed at Schedule 2, Part 1, Class B of The Town and County Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. 
Any Exceptions? 
Yes, there are some conditions where you may need to apply for planning permission. This is when an Article 4 direction made by your local authority withdraws permitted development rights. 
Article 4 directions are made when "the character of an acknowledge importance would be threatened", such as homes in a conservation area. You will also need to plan ahead if you live in a listed building, as you will need listed building consent for any significant works - both internal or external. 
Another instance where you may need to get permission is if you are a leaseholder, and you may need to seek consent from your landlord or management company. 
Do You Need Building Control Approval? 
Inserting a roof window into the existing roof is classed as a material alteration, as it is technically a structural and/or thermal alteration. An external window or door is a "controlled fitting" under Building Regulations, and as a result of this classification, there are certain standards outlined in the Regulations that must be met when such a window or door is replaced. 
One way to avoid any confusion is to use a registered installer, like The Loft Access Company, we’re a certified VELUX Installer. This means we are approved to carry out the work to comply with building regulations without involving any local authority's building control. Once the work is complete you will get a certificate showing the work was done by a registered installer. Plus, removing building control fees usually makes a project cheaper. 
We ensure all parts of our installations are strong and safe. From the loft flooring to the loft ladders, loft lighting and truss shelving, we leave nothing at all to chance! The Loft Access Company have over 22 years’ experience in all things loft related - including installing loft insulation. If have any other questions or would like to book in a no-obligation survey, please get in touch. Thank you for reading! 
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