Nowadays, many people choose to extend their properties upwards and outwards to increase the living space available in their homes. This is often in preference to moving home, not least because of the difficult housing market and all the upheaval that selling and buying a new property entails. Demand for skylights for flat roof installation is therefore on the rise.
Flat roof skylights are a great way to introduce natural light into a new extension without taking up valuable wall space. Aesthetically, they are pleasing too, and overall, can contribute value to a property. But is it just a simple matter of cutting a hole into a flat roof and glazing over it? Not so. Flat roofs bring issues of their own. An improperly fitted flat skylight can damage the integrity of your property by causing a build-up of standing rainwater that can damage the roof and leak through into the rooms below. And then, there are planning regulations to take into account. Contravening these can result in fines and even the enforced removal of the alteration. So what kinds of factors must be taken into account before you commission a company to fit a skylight on a flat roof? In essence, if you are contemplating any project that may alter the use or appearance of your property to a significant degree, you will need to establish whether planning permission is needed. Doing so at the outset can save a good deal of stress and heartache, not to mention expense, further down the line.
A good company offering skylights for flat roof properties will be able to advise from their own experience in most cases; but as the property owner, it is your responsibility to ensure all the relevant permissions are explored and obtained if necessary before work begins. So why might fitting a skylight require planning permission? Well, as noted above, a skylight must be fitted in such a way that it prevents rainwater from either entering the property or pooling on the roof’s surface. This usually involves mounting the window on an upstand, to fix it securely and to raise it above roof level. It must also be installed at a pitch, to ensure rainwater runs off without gathering into troublesome puddles. In terms of planning, the regulations state that new flat roof lights must not project any more than 150mm above the current plane of the roof; and that any alteration must not stand higher than the existing roof. It is highly likely that your skylight, when mounted at a pitch on a sufficiently high upstand to prevent future water damage, will go beyond the maximum height permitted. It’s therefore worthwhile discussing the options with your skylight provider in terms of complying with planning regulations, as well as ensuring their product meets your own requirements.
Whenever you are carrying out significant work on your property, such as fitting one or more skylights for flat roof surfaces, it’s strongly advised that you approach the local authority’s planning department well in advance. Permission may well not be needed, but it’s a lot better to be safe than sorry after the event!