Living in a conservation area often seems like you’re keeping the passage of time at bay. The home must maintain the outward appearance and many inward design elements that are authentic to the original construction of the home. However, it doesn’t mean you have to live in a drafty, expensive to heat and cool home. It is possible to install UPVC windows in conservation areas.
What Happens If You Don’t Follow the Rules?
If you don’t ensure that your home renovation – whether it is a home addition or window replacement – you can be fined by the conservation board. In a worst case scenario, they force you to tear down the new construction and build something that is within the historic building guidelines. If the home renovation is within the design guidelines but you don’t have permission ahead of time, you can still be hit with a fine. This is why you want to apply for permission and have the permission slip in hand before you schedule work. And it is much cheaper to get their input to modify the design on the drawing board than modify construction that’s in progress.
Can UPVC Windows Be Approved in a Conservation Area?
The short answer is yes, if you do it right. First, work with a window company that understands historic architectural guidelines. Then you’ll be able to guarantee that the windows that are installed will match the dimensions and aesthetics of the historic windows. The fact that they are made from UPVC and double or triple pane windows doesn’t matter as long as the exterior look is the same as the original windows.
You can also increase the odds of approval by bringing up the benefits to the property. For example, you can get a fire alarm or sprinkler system installed in a historic benefit if you present it as legally necessary or a worthwhile investment in protecting the building. In the case of UPVC windows, you can improve the odds that the project is approved by discussing the benefits of UPVC windows. For example, they’ll dramatically reduce the home’s heating and cooling bills and help the property meet modern energy efficiency guidelines.
Bring up the other benefits of UPVC windows such as the fact that they require relatively little maintenance and enhance the security of the building. Then you don’t have to worry about periodic repainting or rot, problems that mar the appearance of historic wood windows.
How Can You Get UPVC Windows that Meet Historic Conservation Standards?
We already mentioned that the main requirements are aesthetic, not material-based. The new windows need to match the color, dimensions and texture of the windows that are being replaced. That they have double or triple pane glass or argon in between the windows panes is irrelevant. What matters more is the impact on the building. For example, you can’t modify the building shell or have visible
aluminum frames in the new windows. Conversely, UPVC windows can be purchased that resemble old-fashioned wavy glass or complex window panes. And they’re far cheaper than the modern replacement wood and glass window frames.