In the first of a new series, Quickslide’s Adrian Barraclough offers an at-a-glance list of the UK regs for windows and doors.
The Government has created Competent Person Schemes for certain trades. An individual or company registered under a Competent Person Scheme is able to self-certify that their work is in compliance with the Building Regulations 2010.
If a company or individual wishes to join a Competent Person Scheme for their particular profession, they will need to meet the specific requirements set out by each scheme. Whilst the conditions of membership will differ between schemes, these are usually based on the qualifications held by the individual to demonstrate competency in their trade.
For replacement windows and doors in existing dwellings the schemes are:
Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA) [0207 645 3700] fensa.org.uk
Certification and Self-Assessment Limited (CERTASS) [0845 094 8025] certass.co.uk
BM TRADA [01494 569 700] bmtrada.com
British Standards Institute (BSI) [0208 996 9001] bsigroup.com
Failure to comply with these rules can mean a whole lot of pain, not least for the homeowner of course, when they come to sell their house. And frankly, non-compliance is the domain of the cowboy in this day and age and cowboys don’t read Professional Builder!
At the heart of the Building Regulations relating to window performance is PART L – Conservation of fuel and power – Windows and doors must have a minimum U Value of 1.6 W/m2k or lower, or a ‘C’ Energy Rating or better. Often new builds will require lower U Values such as 1.4 W/m2k, in order to achieve the overall energy performance requirement for the dwelling.
Other rules include:
DOC Q – This is the newest of the Building Regs, and it can catch people out. It states that windows and doors supplied for a new build must have a security standard that has been shown by test to meet the security requirements of British Standards PAS 24:2016 or better.
You must also consider PART B – Means of escape – replacement windows must achieve a minimum clear un-obstructed opening of no less than the existing window that is going to be removed. Or in the case of new dwellings, the window much achieve a minimum un-obstructed opening of no less than 0.33m2 with a minimum clear opening of 450mm in both width and height.
PART F – Means of ventilation – In terms of windows/doors, this relates to the inclusion of trickle vents, in order to allow constant airflow through the property without the need to open the windows/doors; and PART K (also known as Super K, due to the recent amalgamation of Part K and Part N – Toughened Glass – The requirement is for all doors to include toughened safety glass, along with any window that is positioned within 1m of a door, or below 800mm from the internal floor level. Also, look at Part K of the Building Regs: ‘Protection against impact with glazing’, where people are likely to come into contact with glazing whilst moving in or about the building.
But don’t worry! Buy windows from a reputable manufacturer and you can be assured you won’t get caught out. There’s no need to cut corners as every new window and door should meet these standards easily. And with Document Q a reputable manufacturer will offer all of this within the standard price of their windows and doors – and offer free advice to reassure you.