Converting your loft or building an extension is a great way to maximise your space and add value to your home. However, there’s a lot to consider when taking on such a project, with ensuring you have the right permissions being essential for the success of your build.

As structural engineers and chartered surveyors in Devon and Cornwall, we have worked on countless projects and understand that homeowners may have lots of questions, even when it comes to seemingly simple house alterations.

If your project involves installing skylights, you may be wondering if there are any regulations you need to be aware of before starting the process. We cover everything you need to know.

Can i extend my house without planning permission

Do You Need Planning Permission For Skylights & Roof Windows?

In most cases, you will not require planning permission to install skylights into your home.

Most skylights don’t make significant structural changes to your property, so planning permission is not necessary. However, like any potential modification to your building, skylight installation still needs to be done safely, and there are certain rules and restrictions outlining what can and cannot be done.

Permitted Development for Skylights & Rooflights

To ensure your skylight installation project falls under permitted development, the proposed project:

  • Must not extend more than 150mm beyond the plane of the existing roof slope.
  • Must not include an alteration that exceeds the height of the existing roof.
  • Must ensure side-facing windows are obscure-glazed.
  • Must ensure that, when open, the window must be 1.7m above the floor of the room where they are installed.

A skylight in a home office

Do You Need Building Regulation Approval When Installing Rooflights?

Generally, you will need to have your installation signed off and given building regulations approval. This is because:

  • The roof structure is altered to create the opening for the window.
  • The roof needs to be able to bear the weight of the new window or strengthened accordingly.
  • New skylights need to be energy efficient and have sufficient insulation.
  • The fire performance of the new installation will need to be considered if it is close to a boundary.

Complying with building regulations means that your project is safe and meets all the necessary requirements.

If you are ever unsure about what falls under permitted development or what you need to consider to get building regulations approval, you can refer to the government’s Planning Portal.

When Do You Need Planning Permission For Skylight Installation?

Like any renovation or building project, there are some exceptions to the rule. In the following cases, you will need to seek planning permission for skylight installation:

  • If the property is in a conservation area.
  • If the area has an Article 4 Direction and permitted development rights have been removed for any other reason.
  • If the building contains one or more flats.
  • If the building was changed from non-residential to residential use under permitted development rights.

Two people looking out of a skylight

Which Windows Need Planning Permission?

Some installations may be more elaborate, requiring more significant alterations than others. A basic skylight or roof window will not need planning permission, but what about other kinds of windows and loft conversions?

  • Verandas and balconies always require planning permission.
  • Juliet balconies and balcony windows will not require planning permission.
  • Dormer windows do not require planning permission.
  • Roof lanterns do not require planning permission.

The Benefits of Adding Skylights to Your Home

With more people looking to convert and renovate rather than move house, more people may also be thinking about whether it’s worth installing skylights. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Additional natural light
  • Energy savings because you have to rely less on electric lighting
  • Improved ventilation
  • Increases the value of your house
  • Provides the illusion of more space

If a professional team is installing your skylight, they will be well-versed in all the regulations that need to be considered and will be able to ensure your installation complies with everything it needs to.

If your project is more extensive than skylight installation and requires the support of a structural engineer, get in touch with our knowledgeable team at Martin Perry Associates to find out how we could help you.

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