Planning Permission for Green Roofs
In general, a replacement roof or retrofit does not need planning permission before it can be carried out and installed. Having said that it is always a good idea to check with your local council before you go ahead and carry out any major external renovation, particularly if you live in a conservation area or own a listed building. It might also be polite to run your plans by your neighbours if you are on good terms with them.
Incorporating a green roof into the plans for any new build can nowadays ease the approval process as it is seen as desirable aspect for many councils.
Before you plan your green roof you might want to contact your local council or a reputable installer to find out:
- If you need planning permission for a green roof.
- If you need building regulations approval.
- Whether there are any specific planning policies/guides relating to green roofs (An example is this set of guidelines from Manchester City Council).
It’s not just your council that needs to be contacted, you will probably need to get in touch with both your mortgage and insurance companies to check if there are any issues.
New Builds and Green Roofs
If you are building a new office block or putting up your own house, including a green roof can actually help you with gaining planning permission. Indeed, some areas such as the Cotswolds, specify its desirability in their regulations. Green roofs can also get you valuable BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) credits.
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Building Regulation Approval
Whilst there are no specific building regulations relating to green roofs, there may be issues concerning load capacity, fire prevention or the disposal of water from the surface of the installation. Building regulation approval is needed under a wide range of circumstances including:
- When you construct a new building.
- When you extend or alter an existing building (this may well be the issue where a green roof is most pertinent).
- If you convert a loft space or replace windows.
- Installing services and fittings into a building such as hot water cylinders or fuel burning appliances.
If you are building a green roof then you may need to fill in a Building Regulation Approval Notice application which means someone approved by the council will need to inspect your property to make sure it is suitable for a green roof. If your installer is on board with the Green Roof Code then they will be able to talk you through the process.
Insurance and Green Roofs
You will need to contact your buildings insurer if you are having a green roof installed as they may want to review your premium or make sure that the construction meets the right standards and has passed all the appropriate planning permission and building regulation approval conditions that may be in place. It might, in certain circumstances, lead to an increase in your premiums, though it is interesting to note that in the rest of Europe at the moment insurance costs can come down with the installation of a green roof because of the reduced fire risk.
Whilst it is usually not a problem as long as all the right steps have been followed, you should also check with your mortgage provider to see if there are any objections to the construction of a green roof.
It’s Better to be Safe than Sorry with Planning Permissions
When it comes to planning permission on green roofs it is always better to be safe than sorry. Your installer should know all the current issues relating to putting in a construction of this type, and they should be competent to assess whether there are likely to be problems such as whether your roof can cope with the extra load. But that doesn’t stop you doing the initial work and checking with your local council.
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