Home remodeling often includes redoing an attic to create a new living space. As part of these renovations, you must include more ventilation in the attic, not only for air quality but temperature and light control as well. If you are not up to creating the new walls and additional roofing required by a dormer window, a flat roof window, such as those made by Velux, may be more your style. However, in many cases these windows require planning permission for installation.
Velux is a brand of “roof light” or attic window that lies flat on a sloping roof. It does not require the construction of a dormer. Velux windows are common in the UK and Ireland because of the number of buildings with attic apartments and rooms. The windows swing open or rotate on a central hinge so that it lies horizontally, creating two openings for ventilation above and below the windowpane. Velux does sell skylights and windows for roofs in the United States.
Maintain Visual Status Quo
A few millimeters might not sound like a large difference, but if the Velux window and its frame stick up past the existing roof by even a small amount, you might be denied permission to install the window. This varies from town to town and country to country. As insignificant as a few millimeters may seem, some municipalities do not want to approve modifications that fall outside a certain range. Work with the window installer to make the new window conform to all planning requirements.
The size and shape of the Velux windows will not be enough to avoid planning paperwork if the building is on an historical register or has some sort of remodeling restriction. Adding a modern Velux window would change the appearance of the building, which may go against the wishes of local historical societies, not to mention violate the law if changes to the building are forbidden. Do not be surprised if you are denied permission. That being said, it is not impossible to get planning permission to install the window in a building that has historical status.
Because a planning permission requirement always is a possibility, especially with the prevalence of historical properties in the UK, window installation companies may be able to help you fill out and file the paperwork necessary for obtaining planning permission, and it’s not unheard of in the UK for companies to offer to file the paperwork for you. However, planning processes in the United States will differ, so if a U.S. company offers to file the paperwork for you, double-check with the planning authorities about whether you can have the company file in your stead. In any case, hold on to a copy of any paperwork, and get written confirmation that planning authorities have received your request and given permission.
- ADM Installations: Velux Windows
- Velux USA: se Our Project Planner to Make Your Dream Project a Reality
- Loft-Style: Attic Conversions in Ireland
- The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead: Planning Services Frequently Asked Questions
- Waterford City Council: Exempted Development Frequently Asked Questions
- Aberdeen City Council: Building Standards -- Velux Roof Lights