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Thread: Glass walls and roofs, or When is a window not a window?

  1. #1
    Member Oz_developer's avatar
    Feb 2008
    Sydney, NSW

    Glass walls and roofs, or When is a window not a window?

    Hi all,

    It was with some trepidation that I joined this site, thinking that there would be some antagonism to a developer posting on a site for planners by planners, but I must say that everyone has been very friendly. You are a credit to your industry, and I assume your wisdom and intelligence are exceeded only your good looks and charm.

    I finally have something to ask that is directly related to planning.

    First some backround to this discussion.

    The harbourside suburbs of Sydney are characterised by steeply sloping topography and, for the last generation at least, dwellings oriented for maximum views of the harbour, rather than for consideration of solar access and dwelling separation. As a result of the lack of sunlight falling on blocks, a desire to capture maximum views, and the general affluence of the area glass has been extensively utilised on modern homes not just as a window, but as walls and roofs (albeit not usually in a visullay permeable form).

    Due to some laxity in the past by local councils, they ar now much more stringent in applying their development controls. One of these controls that is common to most of the harbourside councils is that new development must not materially overshadow windows on neighbouring properties.

    However, as indicated above, some of these "windows" are actually walls and roofs, and would not allow for solar access were they constructed of a traditional material.

    Have you had an issue with this in your experience? Do you have any specific controls for what constitutes a window? Are there controls for the amount of building material that is solar permeable?

    This could become a bigger issue in the future due to the falling cost of semi-transparent solar panels that can be used as both roofing and wall material.

    Interested to know your thoughts!

  2. #2
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
    Feb 1998
    Greensburg, Kansas
    If a community wants to protect residential views and solar access, it should not throw in the word "window". There is no way of knowing where a future window/solar panel might be.

    Taking this route, however, could severely restrict placement of new structures. I feel this issue has much to do with current home owners wanting to protect themselves from future neighbors rather than a well conceived program for protection of solar access and views.

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