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Double glazing and listed buildings – what you need to know

The subject of installing double glazing in a property that is ‘listed’ can be a little tricky. That’s because if you own the building, you can’t just go ahead and get a company in to install new windows. 

There’s far more to the process than that. For instance, you will certainly require permission from your local authority planning office if your home is ‘listed’ or sits in a conservation area. In some cases, they may also be required to get agreement from Historic England. 

The good news for some homeowners is that there are two classifications of listed buildings – grade I and grade II. If your home is in the latter category then you’ll have far more flexibility and it should be easier to get the permission you’re looking for.

Failure to do so could prove costly:

@HistoricEngland: “It is a criminal offence not to seek consent when it is required. Not knowing a building is listed is not a defence to any criminal proceedings. This makes it very important that any doubt is investigated and discussed with the local planning authority.

“It is also not a defence to show that consent would or should have been given if it had been applied for. A defence is available if the works were urgently necessary in the interests of health and safety.”

‘Keeping in character’ restricts choice

The reason official consent is necessary is that the windows will have to align with the overall look and character of the property – as well as that of the landscape and local environment in general. This means far less flexibility in your choice of windows. You will also be restricted in terms of colour and materials.

What you can do, is look at installing double glazing that will be looked upon favourably by the planners i.e. modern windows with a traditional flavour. That could mean installing what is known as Heritage double glazing rather than uPVC. This type of window imitates timber but has uPVC in its construction. And, because the manufacture is similar to that for traditional timber windows, Heritage windows also imbue a beautiful handcrafted quality.

In this respect then both parties are satisfied i.e. the Planners and Heritage Body, such as Historic England, are pleased that the look of your building has been retained, while you get a warmer home and lower heating bills. Better still, because uPVC windows are weatherproof, you won’t have to even consider replacing the frames for decades.

Filling in your planning form 

When it comes to applying to the planning authority to replace your windows with double glazing, you’ll have to justify why you want to do this. Usually, they’ll accept applications if the current timber frames are rotting or the windows themselves broken or cracked. Along with your submission, it will be necessary to include technical drawings to show how your proposed new windows will align with the rest of the building.

It could be that it’s easier to just replace the back windows (which aren’t seen by passers-by). 

If you need help working out the best way to replace your windows, get in touch today.