Why most UK windows and doors will soon be obsolete

I don’t know about you, but in an ideal world where money was no object, and it was morally OK to do, I’d always prefer to have the most up-to-date model car of my dreams. The truth is I cannot really afford my mid range car, and was thrilled when I first got it until 4 months later the Government upped the Car Tax on it from £300 to £400 a year, all because it was 6 g/km CO2 emissions over the 225 g/km car tax band limit. If you buy a vehicle with 231 g/km CO2 emissions today, 12 months Road Tax on it is now a staggering £750 a year!

The newest model of my car now has lower emissions than my current car, is more energy efficient and has cruise control as standard, which mine doesn’t. However it also costs more than I can afford, plus I’d be paying higher car tax, so I learnt a long time ago to be content and extremely grateful, and very thankful for my little car as it has yet to break down and gets me from A to B.

It is a very similar to the double glazed windows I had fitted to my Buckinghamshire home. In 1994 Hazlemere Window Company replaced every window and door with Monarch powder coated white aluminium windows and doors. All the sealed units were fitted with the latest (at the time) Pilkington “K” Glass and the bathroom and toilet windows with Pilkington Cotswold obscure glass. At the time these Monarch double glazing products were highly energy efficient for their day, and my wife and I have been thrilled with the high quality of both the products and the installation every since. However, the Part L changes to the Building Regulations that come into effect on 1st October 2010 will make our windows and doors obsolete on 30th September 2010. If we had been planning an extension, so still had windows to replace, we would only have till then to purchase and more importantly, have them installed before this Government deadline.

Obviously in 1994 I had no idea I would end up in the double glazing industry on 1st March 2008, or foreseen the year on year advances in thermally efficient window technology, to the extent that if money was no object and we had no intention of moving home, I would now replace all my windows and doors with the latest Sapa (Monarch) “A” energy rated aluminium windows, simply for the fantastic energy saving performance the most up-to-date double glazing products can now offer in terms of quality of life, security, aesthetics, insulation and heating bills.

The new Part L legislation does not just affect windows and doors, but many other constituent parts of property, something any property owner should now find out about before embarking on any rennovation, extension or new build project. The double glazing industry faces a major challenge, with the new Building Regulations effective making the vast majority of double glazed windows and doors obsolete overnight. Already window and door manufacturers like Hazlemere Windows are running down their stocks of the “old” soon to be discontinued aluminium profiles. Similarly, extruders like Sapa Building Systems are running down their stocks of the soon to be obsolete aluminium profiles, as no double glazing manufacturer or supplier wants to be left with extrusions that can not legally be made into windows and doors installed on or after 1st October 2010. There is one bit of good news, aluminium can be 100% re-cycled, so hopefully all obsolete extrusions will not go to waste!

Although demand for existing double glazing products is expected to be high until 30th September 2010, supply could become a real issue in terms of both availability of the product and indeed the very short time that property owners have to not only order replacement windows (that do not have a WER of “C” or above or have a combined U Value of 1.6 W/m2K), but also to have them surveyed, manufactured and installed before 1st October 2010, when they become non-compliant with the new stricter Building Regulations aimed at ensuring property owners fit the latest most thermally efficient windows and doors.

There is actually nothing wrong with our 1994 Monarch double glazing, in fact, give it a quick rub down with a damp cloth every few years and it looks as good as new. Whilst it complies with the existing Building Regulations, and we can order new matching replacement windows and doors to the same specification and have them fitted up to and including 30th September 2010, no property owner or double glazing installer will be legally allowed to install them after this date. The other factor is that of course the existing windows in our home do not cost so much to produce as the new generation “C”, “B” and “A” energy rated windows, so consequently currently cost less to buy and install, so if you are in the middle of a replacement programme – now is the time to act before it is too late!

Download a PDF Factsheet about the 2010 Part L Building Regulations Changes


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