Planning permission for new aluminium windows and doors: your questions answered

Deciding to undertake a home improvement project isn’t usually an overnight decision. It takes time to save up for it, design and plan it and make sure it will give you what you need for the long term. But there’s something else you may need to allow time for, and that’s planning permission. It’s not necessary on all projects, but it’s something that can catch homeowners out after they have embarked on a project. If you are thinking about improving your home it’s worth reading on to make sure you are aware of when planning permission is required, and the timelines involved depending on the project. Here we answer homeowners’ questions on this sometimes-complex subject.  

What is planning permission?

Let’s start with what planning permission is, because although it may sound obvious, the term is sometimes interchanged with building regulations approval, and the two things are not the same. While building regulations refer to the products that are installed and the way they are fitted to make sure they are structurally sound and fit for purpose, planning permission is more about how changes to your home, or a new development, will affect the surrounding area. This could be relevant in a built-up area where a project may affect the neighbours, or perhaps the property undergoing renovations is in a conservation area and changing the look of it will affect the surrounding environment.     

Do I need planning permission to replace my windows and doors?

In the majority of cases where you are replacing like for like windows and doors, while you do need building regulation approval, you do not need planning permission. Most instances of replacing windows and doors are considered ‘permitted developments’ but it is always worth talking to your installer to make sure. Some of the reasons you may need planning permission for the replacement of windows or doors is if you are drastically changing the look of the outside of your home, if you are installing a new window or door where there isn’t one currently, if there is a restriction due to previous planning permission, or if you live in a listed building or in a conservation area. A new bay window will also require planning permission because it will be treated as an extension.

Conservatories and single storey extensions such as kitchen/diner extensions with bi-folding or sliding doors don’t need planning permission if: they are a maximum height of 4m (or 3m if they are within a 2m boundary); they don’t take up more than half the garden; the highest point of the extension is not higher than the eaves of the property’s roof; and if a side extension doesn’t extend beyond half the width of the house.

SP 68 Home extension
SlimPatio 68 Extension

How do I get planning permission?

The first step in the process is to talk to your local planning authority. They will be able to give you very specific advice about work that does or doesn’t need planning permission for your individual property.

If you do need planning permission, you may be referred to a planning agent. This is an accredited agent who has the experience and knowledge to put in a high-quality application on your behalf. You don’t have to work with a planning agent, but it might help the process go more smoothly and could prevent delays from incorrectly filled out forms. Your local authority website will have a list of planning agents in your area that you can contact if you wish.  

How long does it take to get planning permission?

The government website suggests that a decision on planning permission will take up to 8 weeks once an application has been filed but looking at a range of local authority websites the timeline ranges from 8-10 weeks, with larger, more complex projects potentially taking up to 16 weeks.  

The local planning authority will be looking at the application to see how much you are planning to change the outside of your property, why you want to make the desired changes, and how your project will affect the surrounding area.

reynaers installer

What happens if my application is rejected?

If your initial planning application is rejected, it’s not necessarily the end of the story because you can appeal the decision. If there is something you could amend on the plans without compromising your desired outcome, now would be the time to do it. An adjusted plan that considers the reasons for the initial rejection is more likely to get through than simply arguing against the decision. You can also appeal if planning permission was granted but with conditions that you object to. This can feel like a long and arduous process, but it is worth getting full permission sooner rather than later.

What if I ignore planning permission requirements?

Ignoring planning permission in itself is not an offence. However, if your local council hears of a project being undertaken without the correct permissions, they can issue you with an Enforcement Notice to request that the work you have had done is reversed. Even if this doesn’t happen, a house that has been extended for example, without the correct permissions would be very difficult to sell or to mortgage.

What should I do first if I want new windows and doors?

If you are looking to replace any of your windows and doors, the best first step is to talk to a reputable local installer. Our Reynaers at Home network of installers have been checked by us and work to a stringent code of conduct, so are well placed in terms of experience and technical knowledge to discuss your requirements and give an honest opinion of whether planning permission will be required for your project or not. It’s worth paying due diligence to make sure you are dealing with someone who will do the right thing for you so you have peace of mind that there will be no repercussions for your project. Find your local dealer today so that you can transform your home sooner rather than later.

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