Do I Need Planning Permission to Install Roof Windows?

Published on Thursday, 2nd April 2015

If you’re looking for ways to flood your loft space with natural light, you’re more than likely considering installing VELUX, FAKRO or RoofLITE roof windows.

Not only is installing roof windows a great, cost-effective choice, as they reduce the need for artificial lighting, they also allow your home to be flooded with dayligh, creating the illusion of even more space.

Planning permission for roof lights & skylights

What Does the Planning Portal Say?

According to the Government’s Planning Portal, there's not normally need for planning permission to install rooflights or skylights into your roof. The rules on permitted development allow for roof alterations based on the following limits and conditions:

  • Any windows installed to a property will be no more than 150mm above the existing roof plane.
  • No alteration will be higher than the highest part of the roof and protrude over the roof ridge.
  • Side-facing windows will have obscure glazing and should not be openable unless it's over 1.7m above the floor.
  • No alterations or replacements will have to be made to a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe as a result of the installation of the roof window.

    Read more at Planning Portal - Schedule 2 Article 3 part 1, class C

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.

Planning permission for listed buildings

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 the 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 an installer registered with the relevant competent person scheme, such as the soon to be launched* VELUX VIP Installer Partnership. A registered installer will be approved to carry out the work to comply with building regulations without involving any local authority 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. Take a look at the Competent Person Schemes information on on the website.

* At time of publication