Quickslide: How to prepare for the Future Homes Standard

Quickslide: How to prepare for the Future Homes Standard

Adrian Barraclough, Chairman of Quickslide, continues his Onsite with Ade series. This month he asks: what impact will the Future Homes Standard have on installers? Quickslide’s Ade explains all.  

There is much discussion amongst my colleagues and friends in the window and door industry about the Future Homes Standard (FHS for short) which, if you’d bothered to check – and you will have to at some point or another – is a posh name for the next round of Building Regs for new homes. But it’s not due until 2025 and, according to some that seem to know, probably not until late that year or even into the following year. 

Here in the window and door industry there’s been a lot of fuss about needing triple glazing if we are to get anywhere near the U values for windows that will be written into FHS; lots has been written in our industry’s trade mags claiming compliance with the new U values for windows and indeed, doors too….but here’s a thing: nobody knows what those U values will be, because not even the government knows, or at least they’re not telling anybody yet, though that might have changed by the time you read this. 

The process behind the publication of any Building Regulations includes what the government big wigs call ‘a period of consultation’ which, if you are a tad cynical like me, means that everyone has a chance to comment on the proposed new regulations before they get approved…and then they go ahead and publish what they had already decided anyway. And we are not there yet for the FHS as I tap away and may not be until early next year.  

© The Residence Door Collecton by Apeer. Residential doors with profiles as deep as 120mm currently achieve U values as low as 0.71 W m²K

Nonetheless, a number of window and door manufacturers have claimed ‘Future Homes Compliant’ for their products when they, like everyone else, is guessing! So, what is the reality? 

First, FHS only covers new build, not RMI – Repairs Maintenance Improvement – which those in the know say will come much later. So, if you build new homes then it will again change the way you do things, although you will already have an idea what to expect. And whilst we do not know what the U values will be for windows, our industry experts do tend to concur that triple glazing is likely to be the way forward. However, there is some dispute over that, with vacuum glazing cited as one alternative to three panes of glass, and other tricks such as the use of RCM (recycled composite material) for reinforcement in PVC-U profiles, instead of steel. 

The window industry is divided with many claiming that the additional weight of triple glazing windows will make them costly and unwieldy to manufacture, transport and fit, whilst others believe that it is a golden opportunity to offer superior insulation in addition to security and noise control. However, in my view, triple will become the solution for windows to improve on the 0.80 W/(m2K) that those with the clearest crystal balls are predicting. And not least the experts for the people that produce the profiles, who stand to benefit the most perhaps. 

Double – OK for RMI in the future, say pundits

The values for entrance doors too, are predicted to improve, with the result that a front to back profile of at least 70mm is likely to become the minimum requirement, with at least one producer already offering a 100mm door slab in a 120mm frame. U values for that hover just around 0.70 W/(m2K), a performance that is pretty much assured to beat the requirement for FHS.  

So, where does this leave extensions and improvements? Again, nobody knows for certain. But whilst since 2002 home improvements have been covered under the Building Regulations, this will now change. At a recent glazing industry conference, the same experts that predicted triple glazing would be the way forward for new build, also suggested that when Building Regs caught up for other building work, nothing would change for replacing windows and doors. In other words, if you don’t build houses then you’ve nowt to worry about. If you do, then you’d better be prepared for some big changes. But you’ll already know that, won’t you, just not how big yet (and don’t let anyone tell you different!).  

We will be ready whatever they come up with, that’s for sure.  

For further information on Quickslide visit Window & Door Suppliers West Yorkshire | Double Glazing Manufacturers (quickslide.co.uk).

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