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Can You Replace Windows in a Listed Building?

Can You Replace Windows in a Listed Building?

Renovating a listed building, placed in a conservation area, is not an easy task. Generally speaking, it all has to do with a number of building restrictions. Any investor wishing to renew or repair a listed building must obtain special planning permission from local authorities. In the article below, we discuss whether it’s possible to replace the window frames in a listed building – and how to attempt it.

Penalties for renovation without consent

Some people try to circumvent the restrictions and renovate listed buildings without consent. The bottom line is, however, that if you do that, you’ll most likely face a hefty fine if you restore even a small part of the building illegally. What’s more, an architectural change made without permission may have to be dismantled, which can obviously generate additional costs. Why is the authorities’ approach so restrictive? Well, it’s all about protecting the architectural heritage. It is easy to imagine that arbitrary arrangements could quickly lead to the creation of aesthetic chaos.

The regulations apply not only to the landmarks themselves but to all buildings located in the so-called conservation area, including private houses and residential buildings. That’s why it is so challenging to make any alterations – for instance, to replace windows.

Any renovation plans must comprise proposals that harmonize with the surroundings in terms of colors, ornaments, and style. This may also mean that the used materials have to be the same as in the neighboring buildings. For example, if the surrounding houses have wooden windows and doors, you might be under an obligation to install similar ones yourself. Each developer must adapt details such as sizes, shapes, and style of windows and doors to the requirements of the conservation officer from the given area. In other words, it is essential (and required by law) to maintain architectural continuity.

Conservation area – windows replacement in London

Yet another problematic issue for the residents of conservation areas is that in historic buildings, it is inadvisable to replace a single window or door, as that would interfere with architectural and stylistic continuity. Even if you’re planning on replacing just one or two windows, you will most probably end up changing all of them. There is no rule of thumb here to make this process easier, even though such scenarios unfold quite often.

Timber windows are particularly popular in conservation areas of London and other big cities. They are solid, airtight, weather-resistant and at the same time can be designed to look as if they were made decades ago, thanks to classic handles, glazing bars, and decorative frames.

All of these regulations and the work of conservation officers make it possible for historic buildings to retain their unique character. Generally speaking, it is possible to replace timber windows in a conservation area. From the investors’ perspective, this may involve some formal difficulties and generate additional costs. However, such is the charm of owning a property within a lovely area with a history that spans centuries.

Where to commission wooden windows for conservation areas

Who should you contact if you need to change a set of windows or doors in a building situated in a conservation area? By far the most sensible option is to contact a manufacturer specializing in woodwork for historic buildings. The classic British architecture leads to numerous commissions for conservation windows and doors. When looking for a good manufacturer of bespoke wooden windows and doors, contact the companies based in London, such as Sash Factory.

Wooden conservation windows of top quality

Whenever you need windows or doors for your building placed in a conservation area, you have no other option than to place an individual order. Non-standard opening sizes and the need to perfectly match the ornamentation of neighboring historic buildings are only some reasons why mass production is no solution in this case. Primarily, bespoke conservation windows are the only option.

If you’re in doubt whether it’s worth going through all the formalities just to replace the windows, remember that it will result in better acoustic, ventilation, and thermal insulation. Bespoke conservation windows are also a great way to enjoy the advantages of modern woodwork and the unique ornamentation of historic architecture.

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