Laura Finnigan, who leads the Thompson Smith and Puxon (TSP) Residential Property team answers a question that she is often asked about replacement windows.

I want to replace some of the windows at my house. Do I need Planning permission or Building Regulations consent for such small alterations? This very much depends upon the scale of the alterations (for example, whether you are replacing the whole window and frame, or just replacing the glass) and the location of your property.  (If the property is in a conservation area or affected by what is known as an Article 4 direction, there are much tighter sanctions regulating what you can and can’t do to your property without consent).

Building Regulations: If you replace the whole of the fixed frame and opening parts of the window, building regulations consent will be required. If you replace external doors at your property which are made up of fifty per cent or more glass, building regulations approval will be required. Building regulations consent is not usually required if the work involves no more than replacing broken glass, rotten sashes or rotten sections of the main window frame. If the company or contractor that you have instructed to install the windows or doors at your property is registered with a competent persons scheme, you will not need to make an application to building control for building regulations approval as that contractor will provide you with a certificate confirming that the work complies with building regulations standards. The most common self certification scheme is FENSA  – more information here.

Planning Permission: Planning permission is not usually required for replacement windows or doors, especially if the windows or doors are being replaced on a like for like basis.
Planning permission will be required however if your property is located within a conservation area and/or the local council has made an Article 4 direction which withdraws certain permitted development rights, restricting the alterations that you can make to your property without permission.

If your property is listed, planning permission will always be required for any major works inside or outside your home.  The consequences of not obtaining permission if you are carrying out works to a listed building that would require such permission are extremely serious. I would always therefore recommend that you check first with your Local Authority before commencing with the work.
The planning portal website provides extremely useful guidance on windows and other alterations that you may wish to carry out to your house, please see their website for further information.

To find out more about the tailored residential property service TSP can offer email movinghome@tsplegal.com