If you’re among the many UK householders who’ve decided to enhance their home’s value with new windows, you may well be wondering whether you need planning permission to do this.

The short answer is that the vast majority of properties don’t need planning permission to have new windows fitted. However, should you be lucky enough to live in a listed building, or a property in a conservation area, planning controls may apply, particularly if the replacement windows you’ve chosen don’t match the original models.

We all know that double-glazed, modern products will almost certainly be more energy efficient and lower maintenance than their more-traditional counterparts. However, traditional windows are among the features thought to enhance a property’s character.

So, in such cases, it would always be worth checking with the relevant local authority’s planning department to find out whether any permission is needed – before any work begins.

If your neighbours have had new windows put in, unfortunately, you cannot take this to mean that it’s fine for you to do exactly the same. In fact, perhaps surprisingly, there is no requirement for a planning authority to adopt a consistent approach, and the council also clearly has the discretion to carry out any enforcement action it deems appropriate.

What’s more, any enforcement action must be taken within four years of the work being carried out. This means that the council may have been unaware of the windows of a neighbouring property when they were replaced, but, if that was four years ago or longer, the authority would be powerless to act.

Equally, if unauthorised works are completed, without the right permission having been obtained, the planning authority can take enforcement action against the current owner of a property, even if the work had been done by a former owner.

Ultimately, you could be forced to replace your windows with one more sympathetic to the area’s character. And if you don’t comply, the penalties mean you’d almost certainly face a hefty fine.

Of course, as we said, in most cases you are very unlikely to find yourself in this situation.

At Isis Windows, supply double glazed windows across Oxford and beyond, we offer a great line-up of uPVC, sliding sash, aluminium and uPVC timber products. We also have extensive experience in dealing with local planning authorities, and so are ideally placed to offer you expert advice on whether or not you need planning permission for your home improvement project.

And if you do need to apply for planning permission, we can help ensure that you succeed the first time. Speak to a member of the professional, helpful team today about enhancing your home, and ask for a free quote.