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Bespoke Wooden Windows for conservation areas & Listed buildings

A Guide To The Law On Replacing Windows In Listed Buildings and conservation areas in London

A window does more than keep the bad weather out. Its eye-catching features will give a home character and originality. If your home is listed, you must seek advice before making any changes to it. Replacing windows in a listed property UK requires the homeowner to follow some guidelines and apply for local planning permission.

First, you must understand the type of windows you have before taking the step to replace them. Glass used to be expensive until the mid 1800s when production increased and thicker sheets were produced. However, glass is still a fragile material and can easily be broken. This is why the surviving panes in listed homes are rare and highly valued.

To determine the date at which the window was made, you should look at the detailing around its frames. These contribute to the appearance of the original design. Historic panes were made by skilled craftsmen and consist of higher quality timber. Thinner, light-weight glass was fitted into the slender glazing bars. However, in Victorian homes, you will often see heavier and thicker frames on sash windows.

bespoke wooden sash windows

Historic windows were available in a wide range of styles. But the higher the skill of the craftsman, the better chance of survival these old windows have. This is why listed homes are of value as their window panes are made of rare material.
Historic windows are always better to be repaired rather than replaced whenever possible.

A complete replacement should be a last resort, especially if the repair is not within the skills of a specialist wooden window company.

If you live in a conservation area or your home is listed, as per Article 4 Direction, you have restrictions in making significant changes to your windows, in some cases you may need to first seek planning permission.​

Any alterations or repairs to the exterior part of your listed property will require the necessary consents.
Some types of windows such as factory made non bespoke windows will not match the historic elements of your home and are best avoided.

In fact, they may end up spoiling the overall appearance of the house or worst still you could be forced into doing the whole job over causing a huge cost to the home owner.

An alternative would be to replace the windows with the closest matching designs that will complement the property.
It may even be possible to fit integral double glazing, subject to the same detailed design as your old panes.
To seek the right consents for replacing your sash panes, look for a specialist company such as Sash Window Repairs that are approved and recognised by many conservation trusts and have many contacts within most of London’s local council authorities.

The client should apply for consent regarding building regulations but we will of course deal with the technical side of the application for you with your consent, we will then discuss the matter with a council conservation officer to help you to obtain the building consent.​

Any listed building consents should be obtained prior to work starting. In the event that permission is not granted and your contractors still carry out the work, you may become liable to pay a fine.
After all, doing any home improvement project without building regulation is actually a civil or even could be a criminal offence. It is, therefore, advisable to get all the necessary consent and approvals before making any alterations to your historic home.​

Most established and credible window companies know the importance of consents so they should work with you accordingly. If your existing windows are original but beyond repair, double glazing would be the best alternative. The biggest benefits of double glazing include noise insulation and draught proofing and of course the vital thermal barrier.
The materials of double glazing reduce heat loss and save you money on your energy bills.​

To sum up, you will need to apply for consent if the window you are replacing will be a new design, even if it is only the frames that are going to be replaced. The council officer will still need to determine whether the new frames match the overall appearance of the property. Also, if you are changing the type of glazing you have, e.g.from single glazing to double glazing, you will require consent.

In addition, repainting the existing frames with a different colour, or if you are replacing the original glass, you will require consent from your local authorities. This is especially true if your home is fortunate to have original crown or leaded glass. All in all, whatever the extent of your window replacement project is, always discuss the exact requirements with a reputable window replacement company.​

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