Do I need planning approval to install a Velux window?

In Dublin City Council’s jurisdiction, if the proposed window is to the rear, it is exempt

Velux windows: rules can vary from authority to authority

Velux windows: rules can vary from authority to authority

 

QUESTION

I live in an unprotected period house in Dublin city centre and wish to put a Velux window on the rear-facing aspect of the roof. It won’t overlook the neighbours as there is a flat roof beyond it – will the planning authority mind? There are conflicting internet reports of some councils requiring planning and others not.

ADVICE

I agree that there is some conflicting direction from different local authorities on this matter. Exemptions from planning permission are outlined in Schedule 2 of SI No 600/2001 – Planning and Development Regulations 2001. This divides the exemptions into various classes. There is a total of 57 classes of exemption, some examples are:

Class 1: Extension of a house

Class 2: Provision of a heating system or renewable energy systems,

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Class 3: Provision of a tent, shed, glasshouse

The legislation gives very specific guidance on the requirement of any extension so that it can be defined as exempt development, such as not to exceed 40sq m. None of these classes of exemptions mention a specific exemption for a Velux window or roof light. However, some local authorities’ websites confirm Velux windows are exempt to various elevations and other do not. The reason for this is that a specific local authority, through their development plan has decided to provide an exemption for a Velux window to a specific elevation.

In relation to your specific example, under Dublin City Council’s frequently asked questions, it states:

If I build an attic conversion do I need permission?

Normally no. However, if work involves dormer windows, permission is needed. If Velux windows proposed to the rear, it is exempt. If Velux windows proposed to the side/front elevation it is not exempt.

This should be enough comfort to confirm that you can proceed with your proposal without planning permission in your locality. However, if, for example, you were in another local authority where such definitive direction was not available, the only option would be to check their specific development plan for any guidance or submit a Section 5 Declaration. This is a request for the local authority to confirm if works are exempt from planning or not. This would cost €80 and take four weeks to process.

  • Kevin Hollingsworth is a chartered building surveyor and member of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, scsi.ie
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