New windows bring several great benefits to any home, like helping you to save well on your energy bills and enhancing the comfort of your house.

One of the most crucial things you must do when altering or setting up new double glazing is to be sure you adhere to double glazing Building Regulations.

Whether you seek building regulations acceptance yourself or not, it’s worth knowing what Building Regulations are and how they apply to your windows.

What are Building Regulations?

Building regulations are a set of design and construction requirements that a lot of buildings need to meet. Their goal is to ensure the health and safety of everybody around these structures. They’re also designed to make sure that buildings are relatively energy efficient, and meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Do Building Regulations apply to windows?

Building Regulations do apply to windows. Your windows need to meet certain requirements in 4 different areas:

1. Heat Loss

New window glazing and frames need to be good heat insulators. This will reduce the amount of heat that escapes out of your home and lower your energy bills. If you want to install new windows, they have to be at or below a certain degree of energy efficiency, which is assessed as a U-level. To find out more on this maximum U-level, have a look at Approved Document L-1B, Table 1, of the Building Regulations.

2. Safety Glazing

Double glazing in particular regions of your home need to be fitted with safety glazing. Included in these are any windows that are:

  • Below 80cm from floor level
  • 30cm or less from a hinged door and up to 150cm from floor level
  • Within any glazed door up to 150cm from floor level

So any new windows you install have to be safety glazed in these specific areas.

3. Ventilation

All available rooms in a house should have sufficient ventilation, and windows are part of ensuring this. In some rooms smaller windows and trickle vents are enough. However in rooms where huge amounts of steam are produced, like bathrooms and kitchens, a certain size and amount of windows and extractor fans are required.

4. Fire Safety

You can find 2 ways in which windows have to promote fire safety. Some windows close to other properties need to have fire resistance and be fixed shut in order to avoid the potential spread of fire between buildings. Which windows these are depends on how close your property is to another building.

New windows also have to be looked at as fire exits. If you’re replacing a window that is big enough to be a means of escape, then the new window also has to be big enough for this, even if it might actually be a little smaller than the original window. Escape windows must have:

  • A width and height of at least 45cm
  • A clear openable section of at least 33cm square
  • A cill no higher than 110cm from the floor

You do not normally need more than one get away window per room.

How may I adhere to Building Regulations?

You have 2 options when it comes to making sure that you comply with Building Regulations and trying to get approval if required. You can:

1. Hire a ‘competent person’

If you hire a contractor who’s on the Competent Persons Register, they’ll make sure than any double glazing work they are doing complies with Building Regulations. They have the capacity to self-certify their work, and can contact your neighborhood authority if acceptance is needed. When the ongoing work is complete, they will offer you a certificate to state all the ongoing work complies with Building Regulations.

2. Make use of a building control body

If you don’t hire a ‘competent person’, you can use a building control body. Building control bodies (BCBs) can be either run by your local authority or privately. If you are using a BCB they will check if your prepared window work complies with Building Regulations, and apply for authorisation for you if necessary. When your window work is finished, they’ll provide you with a certificate which proves it’s all in line with Building Regulations. To find either a local authority or private BCB you can use the government’s Planning Portal website.

As with anything you don’t want to fall foul of the statutory law. With windows, if you neglect to stick to Building Regulations then you risk needing to remove the full set up, which nobody wants. So to be on the safe side, you should make sure you use one of both options above.

To find out more about rules that may apply to your double glazing work, have a look at our information on planning permission. Or to discover possible double glazing options, see our information on uPVC, aluminium and wood frames.