Can I replace my period sash windows?

If you’re considering replacing your period windows there may be regulations you need to meet, guidelines you have to follow and, depending on the type of property you own, you may also need to acquire planning permission.

Contravening planning rules and regulations can lead to a number of problems so that’s why we’ve put together this handy guide to give you a peace of mind.

Before concerning yourself with these it is worth clarifying that replacing the windows means taking the windows back to brick – the following is not required for simply fitting new sashes or casements into existing frames.

Building Regulations

Building regulations apply to anybody seeking to replace the windows in their home; regardless of the age and whether the property is listed. These regulations are concerned with various aspects in relation to the windows including escape routes, safety and ventilation. Latest regulations dictate that glass near to the floor, for example, must be toughened or laminated with the hallmark clearly displayed. There are also regulations related to ventilation and heat loss but these, depending on whether the property is listed, can be relaxed to help preserve the character of a property.

In order to comply with these regulations, you need to hire a reputable window manufacturer and installation company; they will be responsible for ensuring that these regulations are met and will provide you with a certificate of compliance once work has been completed. You must ensure that you retain this certificate because it will be required should you later wish to sell your property.

Conservation Areas

If your home is situated within a conservation area it should mean that it has retained its ‘Permitted Development’ rights. If that’s the case then you will not be able to replace the windows without planning permission and keep in mind that designs should be consistent in keeping with the style of the property.

Conservation Areas – Article 4 Preservation

If your property is located in an Article 4 Preservation area then you will have restricted permitted development rights. This means that in order to change your windows you will need to obtain formal planning consent. Although you may have great difficulty obtaining this consent for radically different or modern windows; it should not be an issue if the replacements reflect the original design.

Listed Buildings

Listed buildings have, by far, the strictest conditions imposed on them. If your property is officially listed it’s likely, as the majority of listed buildings are, to be grade II. If this is the case you will need formal consent to change the windows and, depending on the circumstances, this may not be easily obtained because the council may wish to conserve the appearance of the external building. To overcome this and acquire permission you would need to prove that any changes are completely necessary; you could do this by providing evidence that the original windows are beyond repair or that the heat they lose is too great.