Do I Need Building Regulations Approval?

Understand Building Regulations for Windows and DoorsWhether you want to install new windows in your property or wish to replace existing ones with double or triple glazing there are a handful of aspects you will need to consider. Choosing the right type of window is of course important in your decision. But whether you go for casement windows, bay windows, triple glazing or a fantastic coloured choice the gritty details such as building regulations and planning permissions are essential.

This week Crystal Clear would like to highlight a series of considerations when making changes to your home with regards to new windows and replacements. Follow our simple guidelines below to help you on your way:

Building Regulations or Planning Permission?

Many of us may confuse ourselves with the details of building regulations and planning permission, and it’s easily done. But it is really rather simple.

Building regulations are a set of standards concerning the construction and design of buildings to ensure the health and safety for people in those buildings. Planning permission however has been put in place to guide the way our towns, cities and country sides develop. This includes the use of land and buildings, the appearance of buildings and landscaping considerations for example.

Whilst these are both very different, they are both equally important and in some cases you may need to acquire both planning permission and building regulations approval.

So do I need Planning Permission?

On the whole you won’t need planning permission for repairs, maintenance and minor improvements such as painting frames for your windows. The same is said for the insertion of new windows, and doors, that are of a similar appearance to those used in the original construction of the house.

If you wanted to insert a new roof light or a skylight perhaps, you will again not generally require an application for planning permission. There are however a few rules to follow in this case. They must not protrude more than 150mm beyond the plane of the roof slope; they are no higher than the highest part of the roof; if they are in side elevation roof slope they must be obscure-glazed and either non opening or more than 1.7 metres above the floor level.

You need to remember that if you have a listed building you will need listed building consent for any significant works whether internal or external.

So, what else do I need to consider?

Since 1st April 2002 mandatory building regulations have applied to all replacement glazing which must take in to consideration guidelines such as thermal performance, safety, air supply, means of escape, and ventilation.

An external window is classified as a ‘control fitting’ under Building Regulations and as a result of this classification there are certain standards to be met when such a window or door is replaced.

Thermal Heat Loss – Windows (and doors) must comply with regulations in relation to the amount of heat that can pass through and therefore required to be energy efficient.

Safety Glazing – This should be provided to any glass in a critical area.

Ventilation – Windows and doors should provide ventilation to the rooms; rules also apply to how much ventilation is acceptable. The type and extent of ventilation will be dependent on the use and size of the room where kitchens and bathrooms for example require higher levels.

Fire Safety – An extremely important aspect of any window installation is fire safety where there are 2 main aspects to consider

  • Fire can spread between properties through unprotected areas. External windows and doors may need to have fire resistance or be fixed shut to limit the risk of fire spread between adjacent properties.
  • There needs to be a sufficient means of escape where the opening should be sized to provide at least the same potential escape as the window it replaces. The width and height of the window should be no less than 450mm; there needs to be a clear openable area no less than 0.33m²; sill height must be no less than 800mm and no more than 1100mm from the floor.

Why not take a look at the full Building Regulations which covers a ranger of alterations for projects such as bathroom installation with plumbing, installing or replacing a heating system and replacing windows and doors?

Don’t forget that if you don’t comply with building regulations, the person doing the work could be prosecuted. Without approval you won’t have the certified of compliance you may need when you want to sell your home and your local authority could make you pay for faulty work to be fixed.

Crystal Clear are Members of DGCOS and BM Trada Certification.

At Crystal Clear we are founding members of the DGCOS scheme which provides comprehensive two way protection for homeowners and installers. Since 2002 mandatory regulations state that anyone who installs replacement windows or doors has to certify compliance with these regulations.

The DGCOS Ombudsman Scheme for the double glazing industry offers consumers safeguards and protection such as accredited installers; deposit protection; and 10 year guarantee.

BM Trada certification allows its monitored members to issues building compliance certification on each installation of doors and windows that ensures you as the home owner comply with building regulations and have nothing more to worry about as Crystal Clear ensure you are fully compliant.

More Help and Advice

You must always check if you need approval before you construct or change building in certain ways. You don’t necessarily need to get approval yourself if you use someone like Crystal Clear. For more help and advice when looking for new windows, doors or in fact a conservatory give the team at Crystal Clear a call on 0117 9717 880