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The Irish Times - Thursday - Property - - Advice -

QI 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.

AI 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,

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

QI have an old house with bay win­dows and sin­gle glass panes and have a prob­lem with damp­ness. It is re­ally con­fined to the area un­der and above the bay win­dows. I have con­sid­ered dry-lin­ing, but feel I would lose some of the char­ac­ter­is­tics of the rooms such as skirt­ing boards, cov­er­ing etc.

My query is: if, in­stead of in­su­la­tion, I changed the win­dows to dou­ble or triple glaz­ing, would this solve the prob­lem? I want to make the de­ci­sion be­fore an­other damp win­ter comes.

Wa­ter pen­e­tra­tion could be due to poor seals at the win­dow frame/wall junc­tions. PHO­TO­GRAPH:

AThe first ques­tion to con­sider is whether the prob­lem is re­lated to damp­ness, ie wa­ter pen­e­tra­tion, or due to con­den­sa­tion. By damp­ness, this nor­mally means ei­ther wa­ter pen­e­tra­tion from the ex­te­rior through the bay struc­ture or from within due to, say, a plumb­ing leak. As re­gards the ex­te­rior, wa­ter could be com­ing in through the roof to the bay win­dow, or through the walls ei­ther due to de­fec­tive ex­ter­nal fin­ishes or by ris­ing damp­ness. Al­ter­na­tively, wa­ter pen­e­tra­tion could be due to poor seals at the win­dow frame/wall junc­tions.

While re­plac­ing a win­dow would most likely in­volve an im­proved seal at a win­dow frame/wall junc­tion, it would not ac­tu­ally have any ma­te­rial ef­fect on other causes of wa­ter pen­e­tra­tion and you will need to en­sure that there are no ac­tive sources ei­ther from the ex­te­rior or from within.

Con­den­sa­tion, on the other hand, is caused by the “en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions” cre­ated within the prop­erty and, while there are a num­ber of con­trib­u­tory fac­tors, poor in­su­la­tion stan­dards such as that pro­vided by sin­gle-glazed win­dows would clearly give rise to high lev­els of con­den­sa­tion, which could well be con­tribut­ing sig­nif­i­cantly to the damp­ness here.

In such cases, re­plac­ing the win­dows with dou­ble or triple glaze would clearly al­le­vi­ate the prob­lem. The only caveat is that with older prop­er­ties, there is very un­likely to be any in­su­la­tion within the wall and thus there will be a risk of some cold bridg­ing in the walls which can give rise to some con­den­sa­tion/mould growth.

It is, how­ever, our con­sid­ered view that when re­fur­bish­ing prop­er­ties, this is not an ex­act science, and a holis­tic view should

Send your queries to prop­er­tyques­tions@irish­times.com

or to Prop­erty Clinic, The Ir­ish Times, 24-28 Tara Street, Dublin 2. This col­umn is a read­ers’ ser­vice. The con­tent of the Prop­erty Clinic is pro­vided for gen­eral in­for­ma­tion only. It is not in­tended as ad­vice on which read­ers should rely. Pro­fes­sional or spe­cial­ist ad­vice should be ob­tained be­fore per­sons take or re­frain from any ac­tion on the ba­sis of the con­tent. The Ir­ish Times and its con­trib­u­tors will not be li­able for any loss or dam­age aris­ing from reliance on any con­tent. be taken in or­der to get the best com­pro­mise so­lu­tion. It is nec­es­sary to weigh up the pros and cons of com­pletely elim­i­nat­ing a po­ten­tial cold bridge, and the aes­thet­ics/char­ac­ter­is­tics of the room.

In this re­spect, if you were to dry-line or in­su­late the bay win­dow then you will lose the orig­i­nal tim­ber pan­elling/mould­ing. At this stage, we do be­lieve that re­plac­ing the win­dows in iso­la­tion will sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the prob­lem to the point where an ac­cept­able so­lu­tion can be reached with­out hav­ing to lose the orig­i­nal or­nate fea­ture/char­ac­ter­is­tics of the room.

If, in the un­likely event that you still ex­pe­ri­ence some damp­ness or mould growth, a later de­ci­sion can al­ways be taken re­gard­ing the need for in­cor­po­rat­ing any dry-lin­ing sys­tems within the bay win­dow area. Val O’Brien is a char­tered build­ing sur­veyor and mem­ber of the So­ci­ety of Char­tered Sur­vey­ors Ire­land.

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