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  • Rooflights and Listed Buildings

    Before we discuss whether it’s possible to specify rooflights on listed buildings, it’s important to first understand what a listed building is. Listing marks and celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic interest and brings it under the consideration of the planning system so it can be protected.

    With listed buildings, any works to alter, extend or demolish the building in a way that affects its character as a building of special interest require listed building consent from the local planning authority, whether planning permission is also needed or not. Listing status covers the entire building, internal and external, and so works which require consent might include the replacement or addition of rooflights and/ or roof windows.

    If you are working with or own a listed building and are wondering whether it’s possible to replace or add a rooflight or roof window, then read on.

    Types of listed buildings:

    There are a selection of categories of listed buildings across the UK. England and Wales have three main Grades: I, II* and II.

      • 92% of listed buildings are Grade II, which are considered of special
      • 5% are GradeII* and are particularly significant buildings of more than special
      • Buildings of outstanding or national architectural or historic interestmake up the 3% listed as Grade I.
      • The categories in Scotlandare A, B and C, while in Northern Ireland they’re A, B+, B1 and B2.

    Consequently, making alterations to a listed building can be challenging. If your property is deemed to be of historic value, the goal is to protect and preserve any interior or exterior elements of the property. Historic England and local planning authorities oversee listed buildings, and any changes that you are looking to make will need to be approved by them.

    Here are 5 examples of listed buildings in the UK that you might have heard of:

      1. The Lloyd’s Building, City of London
      2. Montacute House, Somerset
      3. Balliol College, Oxford
      4. Chatsworth House, Derbyshire
      5. Senate House, Bloomsbury, London


    Rooflights for Listed Buildings – Can It Be Done?

    Rooflights can be the centre of attention when it comes to a renovation or an extension! They help bring natural daylight back into buildings and can be an addition to the already established beauty of a characterised building. A thoughtfully designed rooflight can introduce much-needed natural light and ventilation into the interior spaces of the building. By allowing sunlight to permeate areas that may be challenging to illuminate with traditional windows, the rooflight enhances the building’s atmosphere, while also safeguarding its original features from potential damage caused by dampness. Moreover, the introduction of a rooflight enables the adaptation of the building for modern use without compromising its heritage. It provides a discreet and harmonious means to incorporate contemporary amenities, making the space more functional for present-day living or working while respecting its historic character.

    Before beginning any works, you need to know if the building has an Article 4 Direction. An Article 4 direction is made by the local planning authority and restricts the scope of permitted development rights either in relation to a particular area or site, or a particular type of development anywhere in the authority’s area. You can learn more about Article 4 Directions on the Planning Portal.

    Installing a rooflight on a listed building is not impossible, but you will usually be expected to consult with the local planning authority first. Listed buildings are closely monitored and protected so that the fundamental nature of the building and its historic value is protected. Extreme changes will most likely be rejected, and so it will be in your best interest to ensure the changes you’d like to make will compliment the character of the building.


    Rooflights and Listed Buildings – rooflights.com

    As mentioned previously, adding rooflights to a listed building can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. We would urge you to contact the local authorities to discuss what you’re looking to achieve. Approval can take a long time to obtain, and so to avoid wasting any time we suggest you contact them as soon as possible to avoid long delays. It is vital that you receive consent to carry out any work on a listed building, as failure to do so is a criminal offence and you could be prosecuted.

    Every listed building is different and so there are no set rules for listed buildings surrounding the specification of rooflights, however, Historical England state that “the aim should be to keep alterations to the outside of the roof to a minimum” and recommend rooflights or roof windows that sit flush with the roof. Rooflights.com offer a variety of products which could be suitable for your listed building, including the Glazing Vision Pitchglaze in Plane Roof Window, and the Glazing Vision Pitchvent in Plane Ventilation Roof Window. The product you choose will be dependent on your requirements and what your local planning authority approves.

    Rooflights.com has experience in making alterations to prestigious buildings and we’d be happy to discuss your requirements and assist you in whatever way we can. We worked with architect, David Nossiter, to help transform a listed barn located in Suffolk into a contemporary home using a Glazing Vision Flushglaze Secure Rooflight where it was critical to preserve the distinctive historical character of the building. Contact us for help, advice, or to discuss your project, we look forward to hearing from you.

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