Do listed buildings and skylight shutters go together?

Historic preservation watch out!

Old and historic buildings have charm – but reconstruction or renovation measures under monument protection are a real challenge. If you want to revive an unused roof truss and create additional living space, you have to consider a few things.

Under the roof, dormers or skylights provide sufficient natural light.

If an old house is not a “listed building” in the sense of the Office for the Protection of Historical Monuments, the focus can be on energy and structural renovation. The taste and style of the building owners decide how old building substances can be used to advantage in combination or contrast with modern materials.

Skylights can be installed cheaply and efficiently and, according to the building regulations of most German states, do not require a permit as long as the building code regulations are observed. As an efficient light source, skylights also provide comfortable ventilation for the newly acquired living space. The matching skylight roller shutter darkens when required, provides sun and heat protection, and should not be missing.

Roof windows in listed buildings

It is not quite so simple in the case of a so-called “listed building”. The respective listed building authority must approve every externally visible change to a listed building. Roof windows for listed buildings are subject to stringent requirements of the heritage protection authorities; the appearance of a building should be changed as little as possible.

Listed buildings authorities preserve the “testimonies” of earlier architecture. Particular attention is paid to the colours, shapes and sizes of the materials used for renovation – after all, restoration should be as true to the original as possible. Skylights speak for themselves, as they can be easily installed with minor loss of the original building substance.

The natural incidence of daylight enormously enhances the rooms. To effectively prevent an unwanted reflection of the windowpane, the skylights should still be shaded with a so-called Z-slat. The roof windows covered in this way are not visible from street level when closed – the classic overall appearance of the main view is preserved. Good preconditions for approval by the heritage protection authority have been created.

Since, in the worst case, costly demolition can be demanded in the event of unauthorised installation, it is inevitable to obtain the approval of the monument protection authority.

FAQ overview