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You do not normally need to apply for planning permission to re-roof your house or to insert roof lights or skylights.

The permitted development rules allow for roof alterations without the need for planning permission, subject to the following limits and conditions:

Building Regulations

There are two sets of building regulations for roofs:

Work to an existing roof (including re-roofing) & Constructing a new roof (e.g. for an extension)

Flat Roofs

Some repairs to flats roofs will not require an application for approval under the Building Regulations. However, if the roof with integral insulation is to be replaced then you may be required to upgrade this 'thermal element' of the structure and reduce the amount of heat that was originally lost, by upgrading the insulation.

Pitch Roof

If the existing roof covering is to be replaced with a different material to its original for example, slate to tiles, then approval under the Building Regulations is likely to be needed to ensure the roof will be adequate in terms of structural stability (applicable where the replacement tile will be significantly heavier or lighter than the existing), and also meets requirements in respect of fire safety and energy efficiency (see above). 

If the new roof covering is significantly heavier or lighter than the existing one, the roof structure may need modifying and/or strengthening, and you are advised to check with a structural engineer or surveyor before commencing with works.

Energy Efficiency

As a roof is defined as a thermal element, the work to re-cover a roof should also include for improving the thermal insulation properties of the roof.


A rooflight is a window that is installed within a pitched roof or flat roof normally to give more light to rooms or spaces within the home.  Approval under the Building Regulations will generally be needed for the installation of a new rooflight for the following reasons:


To install a rooflight in a roof generally entails cutting part of one or more of the roof's rafters or joists away. The cut ends of the rafter/joist will need to have new support introduced - usually achieved by fixing two pieces of timber together which span across the new opening on either side. These double timbers are called 'trimmers'.

The adjacent rafters or joists to which these trimmers are fixed may also need to be strengthened as they will be supporting the load transferred from the cut rafters or joists.  This strengthening can be achieved by fixing a new rafter or joist to them which must also run the full length.

Weather Proofing

Once a rooflight is installed the edges (where the rooflight meets the roof) will require weather proofing as well as the glass of the rooflight itself.  This is commonly carried out by using lead flashing or with proprietary kits supplied with the rooflight.  Manufacturers of rooflights may be able to advise on how this can be carried out.


A room that the rooflight is to serve will need to be ventilated.  Ventilation can be achieved by using the rooflight for both rapid and background venting.

Ventilation of the existing roof void(s) will have to be considered as air must still be allowed to flow from one to another.


The materials used to cover the roof should be durable and capable of resisting the elements of the weather.  With a pitched roof the type of tile or slate you wish to use will be partly governed by how steep or shallow the slope is.  If the roof is close to a boundary, which is often the case, the roof should also have properties to limit the risk from fire spreading across the boundary.


Not all roofs need to be ventilated. Ventilation is not required to a warm roof system, which is where the insulation is placed above the joists or rafters.   Otherwise ventilation is required and this is known as a 'cold roof system'.

When ventilating a roof the air should be able to enter at one end and travel through to the other end where it can exit.

Thermal resistance (Insulation)

There are two ways to insulate a roof:

Warm Deck – this is where the insulation is placed on top of the rafters/joists and the roof covering is then placed over the insulation. No ventilation is required for these types of roofs.

Cold Deck – this is where the insulation is placed between the joists/rafters or in between the ceiling joists in the case of a pitch roof. Ventilation is required for these roofs.

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Pitch Roof

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