Whether you are building a new conservatory or simply replacing the windows or doors in your home, it is important to understand the new rules and regulations surrounding the types of glass that you can use. These days we all need to think about how the glass will work to keep your home warm and cool and also whether it is safe enough for all the family.
Since 2002, building regulations have applied to all new installations of glazing – no matter where on your home it is used. These types of installations are known as Controlled Fittings and this means that they must reach certain standards. These include:
Your home needs to be energy efficient and glazing can be the worst culprit when it comes to heat escaping from your home. Your new glazing needs to adhere to a maximum level U-value as set by your local building regulations team. The U-value refers to the amount of heat that can pass through the glass.
If your windows are below 800mm from floor level, are less than 300mm from a door and up to 1500mm from the floor or they are within a glazed door that is less than 1500mm from the floor, you will need to provide safety glazing. This means that the glass will not easily shatter. The reasons for this are mostly safety related, but in the case of doors, there is also a security element.
Your windows may require trickle vents, easy openings or they may need to be of a certain size to allow good ventilation. This will depend on the size and use of the room. This will prevent damage to your home from condensation that can lead to mould (this can be hazardous to your health).
Your doors and windows will need to ensure an easy means of escape in the case of fire and will be expected to prevent the travel of fire through your home. Your external window and doors may need to be fireproof or be self-closing depending on how close they are to the boundary of your home. Any replacement window will need to meet the same means of escape requirement of that it has replaced.
The new door threshold on any building that been constructed since 1999 needs to be level to allow easy access.
For the vast majority of us, these requirements are met if we buy our glazing from a reputable supplier – but understanding the rules is always a good idea.
If you use an approved supplier, your windows, doors or conservatory will be already approved, however, if you choose the DIY route, you will need to get the people from your local building control to come and take a look to ensure it meets the minimum standards.