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Do I Need Planning Permission for Double Glazing?

Double glazing provides homeowners with many practical benefits that single pane windows do not.  Better insulation keeps the heat in during the winter and out during the summer.  A second pane provides a barrier to sound, reducing the amount of exterior noise that enters a home.  Improved insulation means less condensation build-up on the interior pane.

Before you begin any home improvement project, including double glazing, it is a good idea to contact your local planning authority to find out whether or not you need planning permission.

Plans ready for submission

It's often a good idea to have professional plans drawn up

In most circumstances, you will not need permission for double glazing as the change to your home will be minimal and unlikely to have an impact on your neighbours or neighbourhood.

There are, however, a few notable exceptions, including properties that have been designated as listed buildings, properties that are in a conservation area, buildings that are under an Article 4 Direction and flats.


Listed Buildings

Listed buildings are subject to special protection by the government because of their historical or architectural significance.  Listed buildings are protected for a variety of reasons, including their age.

All buildings that were built before 1700, and most buildings that were built between 1700 and 1840 are listed.  It is more difficult for newer buildings to receive a listed designation, and buildings typically need to be more than 30 years old to be listed.

Other factors that are considered when listing a building are its architecture, construction, uniqueness and how important it was in the life of a famous person or historically significant event.

The rules and regulations that govern the changes that can be made to a listed building are much more stringent than those for non-listed buildings.  If you live in a listed building, you must receive planning permission and listed building consent before installing double glazing.


Conservation Areas

Like listed buildings, conservation areas are also protected due to their historical or architectural significance.  However, unlike a listed building, an entire area is protected as opposed to a single building.

Types of conservation areas include historically significant town and city centres, fishing and mining villages, 18th and 19th-century suburbs and country houses located in historic parks.

If you live in a conservation area, you must get planning permission before you install double glazing.


Article 4 Direction

The local planning authority might issue an Article 4 Direction for particular features of properties in a conservation area that are significant to the integrity of the area.  If you want to change any feature identified in an Article 4 Direction, you need to get planning permission.



If you live in a flat, permission from the local planning authority is required for double glazing.

You may also need approval from the following individuals and organisations:

  • Landlord.  If you are a leasehold owner, your landlord typically has final say about any changes that are made to the external walls of the flat, including windows.
  • Property Management Company.  These companies are usually responsible for maintaining the exterior of the building as well as common areas in the building that are shared by residents.
  • Housing Association.  Some flats may be subject to restrictions imposed by housing associations.


The Application Process

 To apply for permission from your local planning authority, you must submit the following:

  • completed planning application forms,
  • drawings to scale that show the way the building currently looks and the way it will look with the proposed changes, and
  • all applicable fees

The application process is quite involved, and there is a lot of room for error, so unless you have experience preparing and submitting applications to the local planning authority, it’s probably a good idea to get someone who does have experience to submit your application for you.

People who submit these applications on a regular basis understand the policy guidelines in your local area.  Furthermore, they have insight that the average homeowner doesn’t have into what the planning authority is looking for when they decide whether or not to approve an application.

In addition, people who are familiar with the application know how to make sure it is completed properly.  This is important because if there are mistakes on your application, it won’t be registered with the planning authority.

As a result, you will have to make corrections and re-submit it, which will take additional time and could lead to delays in your

Historical Terrace in Matlock

Secondary glazing is an option for historical listed buildings

project.  While there is a fee associated with hiring someone to submit the application for you, the additional cost is usually worth it.

Once an application is submitted, it usually takes about eight weeks to get a decision.  When reviewing your application, the planning authority will consider the external appearance of the building you want to change and the impact the proposed changes will have on your building as well as the surrounding area.


Choosing the Right Window Style for the Property

If you live in a building that requires planning permission, it does not necessarily mean you won’t be able to install double glazing.  But, because maintaining the architectural integrity is paramount, it is especially important to choose a style, material and colour that are consistent with the exterior design of the building rather than one that is consistent with your own style or personal preference.

If your request to install double glazing is denied by the local planning authority, but you are still interested in the energy saving benefits double glazing offers, secondary glazing is an alternative you might want to consider, and you may have better luck getting it approved.

Secondary glazing involves fitting another window pane on the inside of the existing window.  You still need permission to install secondary glazing, but because it maintains the original window frame, your application may be more successful, since no changes will be made to the exterior.

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