A house without books is like a room without windows… Planning & Building Regulations

And I do love books!

Gulp!  I got swamped by the vast amount about windows out there – I felt overloaded, didn’t know where to start?  Building Regs are very dry reading… I considered sticking spanners in my eyes…

So I’ve split this into 3 parts, do duck in depending on your window-ful fancy… Sprinkled with photos of some of my favourite glass-es haha!

fullsizerender-35[Duck & Waffle, Heron Tower, London]

  1. Planning Permission and Building Regulations – Overview
    1. Helpful websites
    2. What is Planning Permission, is it relevant to me?
    3. What are Building Regulations, how are they relevant to me?
    4. Who is elegible to install new windows?
  2. Building Regulations – Nitty gritty detail
  3. Process of installing new windows

fullsizerender-36 [Beach Blanket Babylon, Notting Hill, London]

Planning Permission and Building Regulations – Overview

If you need, or would like, new windows, then you have to consider whether or not you need Planning Permission and ensure that new windows installed comply with Building Regulations.

It is a criminal offence to install windows without obtaining relevant planning permission and not conforming to relevant Building Regulations.

fullsizerender-39[Skygarden, 20 Fenchurch Street, London]

Helpful websites

Planning permission is relevant for all properties and since 1 April 2002 Building Regulations have applied to all replacement glazing.  I found these websites the most helpful

  • Planning Portal – Government-run – Overview of planning permission and Building Regulations
  • FENSA – ‘Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme’ – A Government authorised Competent Persons Scheme for the replacement of windows, doors and roof lights in England and Wales.  It was set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) and other industry bodies in response to Building Regulations for double glazing companies in England and Wales.
  • FENSA Guide for Compliance – For replacement doors and windows in dwellings.  States 2014 but is still valid 2016
  • Glass and Glazing Federation – Represents companies who make, supply or fit, glass and glass related products in UK and internationally


[Zeta, Dubai]

What is Planning Permission?

Planning Permission is formal permission from a local authority for the erection or alteration of buildings or similar development.

Do you need Planning Permission?

As succinctly put on the Planning Portal website:

You do not usually need to apply for planning permission for:

  • repairs, maintenance, and minor improvements, such as repainting window and door frames
  • insertion of new windows and doors that are of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the house (note – a new bay window will be treated as an extension and may require permission). If new windows are in an upper-floor side elevation they must be obscure-glazed and either non opening or more than 1.7 metres above the floor level

New roof lights or skylights will not normally require an application for planning permission providing:

  • they do not protrude more than 150mm beyond the plane of the roof slope
  • they are no higher than the highest part of the roof
  • if they are in side elevation roof slope they must be obscure-glazed and either non opening or more than 1.7 metres above the floor level

Occasionally, you may need to apply for planning permission for some of these works because your council has made an Article 4 Direction withdrawing permitted development rights. If you live in a listed building, you will need listed building consent for any significant works – internal or external.

Also, if you are a leaseholder, you may first need to get permission from your landlord or management company.

Planning Permission – Questions to ask yourself 

  1. Position/Structure – Are you replacing windows in positions where they currently exist, in which case Planning Permission is not likely to be relevant?
  2. Are you considering changing window structure or location or adding new windows to places where they currently do not exist, in which case you must consider Planning Permission?

img_3065[Five Sixty, Reunion Tower, Dallas]

What are Building Regulations?

Building regulations are statutory instruments developed by the Government and approved by Parliament that seek to ensure that the policies set out in the relevant legislation are carried out.

They are minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to virtually every building.

Building regulations approval is required for most building work in the UK.

Since 1 April 2002 building regulations have applied to all replacement glazing. The regulations apply to thermal performance and other areas such as safety, air supply, means of escape and ventilation.

As described on the Planning Portal website.

How do Buildings Regulations apply?

These Regulations are split by documents with designated letters and apply to the following, detailed in FENSA Guide for Compliance .

I’ve highlighted in orange those Regulations that I deem to be slightly more general and perhaps relevant to the decision making process for an ‘average’ style of house… I know ‘average’ is debatable, just trying to give you some clue!

Details are in Part 2 post.

  1. A1 – Structure
  2. B1 and B3 – Fire Safety e.g. how high off floor are windows, fire escape route
  3. C2 – Site Preparation and Resistance to Contaminants and Moisture
  4. F1 – Ventilation e.g. Trickle vents, locking handles, air bricks
  5. J1 and J2 – Combustion Appliances and Fuel Storage Systems
  6. K2 – Protection from falling collision and impact
  7. K4 – Protection against impact with glazing e.g. standard or safety glass 
  8. L1B – Conservation of Fuel and Power e.g. Energy rating
  9. M1 – Access to and use of buildings
  10. N1 – Safety in relation to impact, opening and cleaning
  11. 7 – Materials and workmanship e.g. FENSA Certificate and guarantee

Buildings Regulations – Questions to ask yourself

  1. Room function – What will the room be used for?  Different Regulations depending on the type of room e.g. lounge, bedroom, kitchen, bathroom.  I suggest you also consider the future you might ever rent out a room in which case e.g. a lounge becomes a bedroom so bedroom
  2. Windows height above the floor – Regulations vary depending on height e.g. for potential fire escape
  3. Windows width and height – Regulations vary depending on the width and room function
  4. Property level for windows – e.g. ground floor, first floor etc
  5. Property Layout – Does the room with the window have a door into another room, into the outside or into e.g. a hall?

[Duke’s Head, Putney, London]

Who is eligible to install new windows?

To have new windows installed you must use an installer who is either:


If you make any changes to your windows that require Planning Permission and if you have new windows installed by an eligible installer (above), then upon completion of the work you should receive the following Certificates.

They are valuable as should you ever wish to sell your property then your purchaser’s solicitor will ask for evidence that any replacement glazing installed since April 2002 complies with the Building Regulations. So keep them in a safe place!

  • Local Authority Certificate – A certificate from the Local Authority Building Control stating that the installation has been approved under the Building Regulations.
  • FENSA Certificate – A certificate showing that the work has been done by an installer who is registered with FENSA or a similar body


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