FENSA, Building Regulations, double glazing, replacement windows

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FENSA and Building Regulations. (UPDATE)

This page sets out all or most of what you need to know about what is involved in the 2002 revision that came into effect April 2002. There is still quite a bit off confusion about what these new regulations will really mean. This article will hopefully help. (Note however that you should be aware of our disclaimer as displayed at bottom of this page.)

The Facts:

1. Generation of the energy we use to heat, light and cool our buildings accounts for almost HALF of the carbon dioxide emissions in the UK.
2. More energy efficient buildings will help reduce pollution that damages the ozone layer and conserve dwindling natural fuels for future generations.
3. The changes to the Building Regulations will require the use of more energy efficient building products (i.e. those used in walls, windows, floors and roofs) and building services (such as lighting, heating and ventilation). This is not just about windows!
4. The changes will apply to all new buildings - that is domestic dwellings, offices and public buildings. More than that, this new document goes further by addressing work on existing housing such as replacement windows installed as a home improvement.
5. Listed properties and buildings in conservation areas may be exempt, together with some display windows and shop entrance doors - for the time being.

click here for a free brochureAlthough the ramifications as well as opportunities are great for the industry and the public/consumer, only those with a dogmatic approach against change would have us stand still when the technologies are available to embrace for us to conserve energy further, an take us on to this next step forward.

As for windows and doors, yes it is true, all makes will now have to 'toe the line' and many will have to make some fundamental improvements as a minimum standard to meet these regulations next year. It is interesting to note that the early information we have indicates that the maximum air gap for sealed units is likely to be recommended at 16mm (24mm overall), and not the 20mm (28mm overall) that many double glazing salesmen would like you to believe is a 'must have'.

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Sealed Unit manufacturers will also have to prepare for EN 1279, the more stringent European Standard that will replace the Kite mark BS 5713. This is also on the statute books as of April 2002, but there will then be a lead-in period of 18 months for companies to comply.

Part L and EN 1279 are both mandatory, which means they can be legally enforced.
Changes to Part F will also affect everyone in the glazing industry, because when replacing windows from April 2002 adequate background ventilation of a minimum 8,000 mm2 must be provided for all habitable rooms, and 4,000mm2 for bathrooms, etc. The intention is to save us from ourselves by mandatory ventilation, and this aims at reducing the likelihood of us living in an environment where formation of condensation would have been produced together with an unhealthy indoor atmosphere.

News as of September 2002

Feed back from double glazing companies indicate that actual Fensa inspections, carried out by the BBA on their behalf, have on site encompassed more than just doc L, i.e. not just low e glass etc., but have also paid attention to all relevant BSI's, not just Doc. L.

This applies to England only, and this is a further update on the subject:

Front doors with less than 50% glass are exempt, i.e. doors with insulated feature panels will not normally need low e glass, particularly as the overall U value will meet the requirements.

When fitting doors or windows to an unheated area that is not part of the house, i.e. garage or outbuildings, Building regulations do not apply.

We quote from FENSA: "The Building Regulations Approved Documents N (Safety Glazing) and L (Thermal Insulation) are prime requirements for replacement windows and doors. Other elements of the Building Regulations A (Structure), F (Ventilation), B (Means of escape), J (Combustion Appliances and Fuel Storage Systems), M (Disabled Access) must not be compromised by the replacement installation".

As far as the glazing trade is concerned this means you must not only comply with the regulations but that you must not make these things worse than they were before when you fit your replacements.

As for Bay Windows, these are now being checked by Fensa during installation, particularly for load bearing metal poles that MUST go through the cill, with structural bearing header and spreading plates, that is, above and below. Bay windows must now be registered as the number of windows/facets, so a 5 light bay is registered as 5 windows.

Entrance doors are being checked for threshold height, access for the disabled. The real ramifications of this seem to indicate that ONLY a threshold that is not higher than the indoor floor height will be acceptable, almost.

Also, most heat loss through windows occurs as a result of homeowners choosing to have a window open for ventilation "fresh air fiends", it begs the question: will the government be making legislation against this?

In some cases lock ajar (when you can lock in a partially open position) will qualify as trickle ventilation, but compliance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations of 1998 is essential.

Having addressed energy efficiency to some degree in the April 1st changes with the introduction of Building Regulations Doc L in England, its believed the Government will next look at the impact of ventilation within the home. This will also be in relation to noise, which is seen as a main cause of irritation to householders; and also air quality, which all might form the new part E in the near-ish future.

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Disclaimer - this is our most recent interpretation of the rules. We would point out that there is still some confusion and in our opinion many double glazing companies have yet to fully understand the full impact of the changes. In all cases - check with your supplier / local council to make sure your installation fully complies. Be aware that when selling property in future enquiries will include whether you have fully complied and failure may lead to problems with selling.

The material contained in this web site is provided for general information purposes only. The material is believed to be accurate although no representation or warranty is given (express or implied) as to its accuracy completeness or correctness. Quotatis Ltd and the authors accepts no liability or responsibility whatsoever for any loss suffered by any use of the information contained on this web site. By continuing to use this web site you are deemed to accept the above terms and conditions.

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