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Do You Need Planning Permission for Skylights and Roof Windows?

14 May 2019 | Knowledge Hub
women looking out of roof window on home

Whether you are installing skylights, balcony windows, or roof windows, you'll need to make sure you are following planning law and abiding by any relevant building regulations.

In this article, we're going to explain everything, from your permitted development rights and planning permission, to building regulations and approval from your local authority.

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Loft Conversion?

Are Roof Windows Covered Under Permitted Development?

Permitted development rules outline what alterations you can make to your property without seeking planning permission.

You can install or replace roof windows under permitted development subject to the following conditions:

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

Flat roof window in playroom

However, you will always need planning permission for skylights or roof windows if you’re a leaseholder or you live in a building where your local authority has made an Article 4 Direction, removing your permitted development rights.

This is normally done in protected and conservation areas where the character of the area could be negatively impacted. If you are unsure whether this affects you, please contact your local planning authority.

If you do have to seek planning permission for windows, you can do this online.

It’s worth noting that, if you do live in a conservation area, there are certain kinds of roof windows that are more likely to be accepted by your planning authority due to their decreased visual impact. These are known as conservation windows and are designed to look more traditional and in-keeping with both slate and tiled roofs, making them less likely to affect the character of an area.

Do I Need Building Regulations Approval?

Pitched roof window combination

Whether you need planning permission to install your new roof windows or not, you must still follow any relevant building regulations outlined in the Planning Portal, and seek building regulations approval for any work you have carried out.

By law, all modifications to buildings must comply with these regulations, which highlight the minimum legal standards for design and safety. Of particular importance with regards to roof windows are section J and section L of the building regulations, which deal with energy efficiency, thermal insulation, and protection against fire.

Adding new or altering existing roof windows can undermine the integrity of the building, so special care must be taken to ensure that the roof continues to perform as it should and meet all building regulations requirements. This is because:

  • The roof structure will likely need to be altered to create the opening.
  • The roof will have to carry the weight of the new skylight and may need to be strengthened.
  • The roof window must be sufficiently insulated for energy efficiency.
  • Unplanned movement can occur as a result of any structural works.

Please note: If the work is being carried out by a professional tradesperson who is registered with a competent person scheme, they can self-certify that any works meet the building regulation standards themselves. If you would like your roof windows to be installed without any hassle, we recommend hiring a professional team with years of experience to carry out the work for you.

Here at Roof Windows 4 You, we specialise in providing roof windows, flashings, and blinds to tradespeople and DIYers. With a huge range of styles to suit your home or property and a great selection of features with bespoke options available, we're sure to have what you need.

If you're installing roof windows as part of a loft conversion project, take a look at our guide to planning permission for loft conversions for more advice.


Why not follow us on Instagram for daily design ideas and beautiful conversion stories, we’d love to see how you convert your space into a charming addition to your home!



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