Building regulations for windows
If you are planning to replace or upgrade your windows you must be aware of and abide by building regulations – find out more here.
It is your responsibility to make sure your windows meet current building regulations, regardless of who installs them; otherwise your local authority could serve an enforcement notice.
What are the current building regulations for windows?
The areas of building regulations which concern windows are detailed below. These change regularly but a professional installer will be able to advise you on this.
- A1 - covers the building structure, which means assessing the stability of the lintel where old windows/doors were.
- B1 - is concerned with the means of escape in a fire; all habitable rooms must have a form of exit, such as through the windows.
- F1 - relates to the means of ventilation. So if your original windows have trickle ventilators incorporated, any replacements should include them too – they should also open to the same degree as the old windows.
- J2 – ensures that combustion appliances and fuel storage systems are adequately ventilated – sometimes through windows.
- K2 – covers protection from falling. So in terms of windows, the sill should be high enough to prevent a person from falling through (this may conflict with B1, which covers the means to escape from a fire).
- L1 – relates to the conservation of fuel and power. This means that windows must meet minimum insulation guidelines, measured by their ‘U-Value’ (the rate at which heat escapes through the glass and window pane). Older windows which used to fulfil these regulations may no longer meet modern standards and should be checked.
- N1 – this regulation specifies that glazing should meet certain standards of durability and thickness.
In short, air supply, ventilation, safety and thermal performance are covered in building regulations for windows. Ask your local council or a window installer for help to comply with specific regulations. It is much easier to rely upon a professional in order to have peace of mind and ensure that your windows meet current building regulations.
How do I adhere to these regulations?
The best way to make sure you comply with current building regulations is to hire a professional contractor or installer who is registered with a recognised scheme like ‘FENSA’, ‘BSI’, or ‘CERTAS’. You should check their registration details are valid before any work is carried out. These professionals can ensure certification and approval from your local authority, saving you the hassle and expense of applying. It should be quick and simple to find installers who are registered with these schemes but make sure get at least three quotes for the work and you check insurance credentials and references before you hire. Installing new windows can be costly, take a few days and may interfere with your day-to-day life, so preparation beforehand such as clearing the work area, is a sensible idea.