Using architectural glazing to create a Paragraph 79 House

new build home with frameless glazing

How to build a new home in the countryside – a guide to glazing design under Paragraph 79

Self-building a home to meet the stringent P79 criteria requires both a great deal of careful planning, as well as hunting for exceptionally performing materials and products. This article explores some of the key aspects to consider when choosing architectural glazing to complement a Paragraph 79 house project.

What is Paragraph 79?

Minimal glass windows to coastal home
Credit: Watershedd & Evie Johnstone

Paragraph 79 refers to the exemption clause in the National Planning Policy Framework, which paves the way for new build properties in the countryside and green belt locations. Planning laws have historically deterred people from putting forward projects for new-build homes in rural locations. However, Paragraph 79 is the most recent update to the exemption clause (formerly known as Para 55 and PPS 7) that allows planning permission constraints to be lifted, if the project meets certain criteria.

What are the criteria?

The standards that a P79 project needs to meet are not easily quantifiable and can be influenced by a whole host of changeable factors. These can range from whether the property is sufficiently isolated, to the type of landscape surrounding the plot in question, to whether there was previously a derelict building on the site (this often works in the self-builder’s favour).

Broadly, a home under Para 79 must:

  1. “be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas”
  2. “reflect the highest standards in architecture”
  3. “significantly enhance its immediate setting”
  4. “be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area”

While these criteria are largely subjective to the views of the councils and individuals involved in evaluating each individual case for approval, the goal of Para 79 is to ensure that new builds in areas of natural beauty are highly unique and sensitively designed.


Glazed box extension to coastal home

Using bespoke glazing to create a Para 79 house

frameless up and over glass windowWith barely 100 homes approved since the introduction of the clause 15 years ago, it follows that self-builders must tread very carefully while considering each aspect of the design. One key factor in the approval process is the building materials to be used on their project – hopeful projects must opt for high-performance materials which offer the flexibility to push architectural boundaries in the pursuit of exceptional homes.

This flexibility is particularly important given the changeable nature of these projects. With a whole team of engineers, architects and designers working together to create a design that has a chance of being granted permission, the whole nature of the house is likely to radically change throughout the approval process.

As such, choosing carefully engineered glazing that can both adapt to adventurous projects while also contributing high-performance values is vitally important. As the UK leaders in specialist architectural glazing, IQ have worked on hundreds of highly technical projects and are experts in pioneering glass technology.

minimal casement window used in an iq glass project

Invisio structural glazing

The Invisio system is the only thermally broken structural glazing system in the UK. With exceptional thermal ratings that outperform every other structural glass system on the market, it is the number one choice for use in the kinds of innovative projects demanded by Paragraph 79.

structural glass picture windowInvisio structural glazing is a truly bespoke system, with limitless design potential for unique shapes and designs, as well as oversized configurations to match nearly any size required. The system is completely frameless so can be used to create elegantly minimal glass walls, picture windows, oversized glazed elevations, curved glass, glass box extensions and gable end windows, among others.

Structural glass can also be used to create fixed frameless glass roofs. Depending on the project requirements, frameless glass beams can be used to support the roof.

Frameless glazed elevations are a tasteful, sensitive material to incorporate into P79 home designs. The glass captures reflections of the surrounding sky and landscape as they evolve throughout the years, helping the building to seamlessly integrate into its local surroundings.


frameless internal structural glazing

Glass Rooflights

Roof glazing can be used to create highly unique, light-filled homes. IQ Glass supply and install a variety of rooflight systems, from lantern structures and frameless strip rooflights to fixed, auto sliding rooflights and auto venting rooflights.

MARS is the latest product in cutting edge rooflight design, engineered and manufactured by the in-house team at IQ. The system is a fully custom built, automated sliding rooflight which has no maximum size and can be used to create complex, oversized sliding glass roofs that provide seamless roof access or easily adjustable ventilation.

Both the frame and sliding sash are fully thermally broken to ensure the glass remains condensation free and to reduce heat loss during the winter months, while the glass is structurally bonded to the frame to create an extremely secure, minimalistic appearance.

Opting for innovative roof glazing products such as MARS is a great way to demonstrate that a project meets the outstanding architectural standards required for a Paragraph 79 project.


interior glass floor

Technical Glass – Bird protection coating

IQ specialise in a wide range of technical glass solutions, including privacy glass, low maintenance coatings, heated glass and solar control glass. However, one solution that is particularly relevant to the P79 criteria is specialist bird protection glass.

This glazing product uses a coating that reflects UV rays, making it visible to birds and other wildlife while remaining almost invisible to the human eye. This is an important option to consider for homes that feature large glazed facades or frameless glass elevations on the upper floors, that birds are more likely to fly into, as it demonstrates sensitivity for the local surroundings by helping to preserve and cause minimal disruption to the local wildlife.

floor to ceiling windows leading onto an external balcony with a frameless glass balustrade

Get in touch

While gaining approval for a Paragraph 79 new-build can be a complicated process, selecting the best glazing products doesn’t need to be. From highly bespoke structural glass designs to minimally framed, environmentally friendly aluminium casement windows and roof lights, the team at IQ are on hand to provide specialist advice on the best architectural glazing products to suit your project. Get in touch with us at to discuss your Paragraph 79 project requirements.


Modern new build home with structural glazing

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Lucy Thompson

Lucy is a member of the Marketing team at IQ Glass. She spends most of her time working on the company's website and SEO strategy. She also enjoys dabbling in photography and putting together other creative content.