England has around seven thousand conservation areas. The myriad rules and regulations don’t just keep the wide open countryside open. It also affects the housing estates and country houses that dot the land. It doesn’t exactly freeze them into place, but it forces anyone who buys such a home to maintain a similar appearance. This means you can install more energy efficient windows on the property if you stay within the tight guidelines? What are the rules about upvc windows in conservation areas?
Never have work done without permission. You can repaint the inside of your child’s bedroom or fix that broken sink faucet without a permit. However, nearly everything else requires planning permission. You’ll be hit with a fine for any and all unauthorized work. And fines in these areas can be unlimited. That means you could be fined as much as the cost of your new windows or siding as well as ordered to remote it, because you didn’t get planning permission for it first. Always apply for planning permission in advance of work. And don’t do anything until you have permission, in addition to any standard building permits that are required.
Think about the justifications for the change before you apply for them. You can discuss the environmental benefits of more energy efficient windows. Mention increased natural light the new windows will provide and how this will reduce your energy bill. Or discuss the sound dampening effect of the windows and how this improves your quality of life.
The messy mass of rules applied to conservation areas require you to maintain the same look as the original materials. For example, UPVC regulations allow you to put in UPVC windows, if they’re of the same dimensions, color and style as the original. You can replace large wood bay windows with PVC windows of the same color, and you can even have double and triple pane windows put in at the same time. However, you can’t replace the large single pane picture window with a row of sash windows. And once the new windows are in, the plastic should either be the same color as the original windows, or you’ll have to paint it that color.
The Factors You Need to Consider
UPVC windows need to be as close to the original in appearance as possible. This includes the position of the window within the opening, the thickness of rails and glazing bars, the thickness of the glass, and many other dimensions. A standard UPVC window may not meet the dimensions of your historic wood frame windows. This doesn’t mean UPVC windows are not an option. Instead, it may require you to work with a UPVC window manufacturer to make custom window frames that match the various requirements they must meet. In fact, they may have to submit their plans to the planning commission before you can have them installed. You want to work with a window installer familiar with conservation areas, since they aren’UPt allowed to damage the building or make changes to make the windows fit. The worst examples of this are aluminum window frames with visible shims, while the frames themselves extend well past the window opening.