It is wiser to install legal energy saving safe windows that risk fitting “cheap” non compliant double glazing

UK Building Regulations exist for a reason, and whilst complying with them might cost property owners a pretty penny, it is money well spent. There is the temptation to save money and ignore them, but nowadays home owners do this at their peril, both legally and for health and safety reasons.

The additional requirements set out in the new Building Regulations that came into effect on 1st October 2010 might seem onerous, but they are in our best interests. Indeed, why would anyone not want the safest, best possible living environment for themselves, their family and work colleagues? Why indeed would any property owner not want highly thermally efficient windows?

At Hazlemere Window Company we do get lots of requests to lessen ventilation in replacement windows, as often property owners wish to have nice looking windows with equal sight lines, or simply because trickle vents and opening vents cost more than fixed windows. Given the health problems condensation might cause and the lack of adequate ventilation can cause, why on earth would any property owner want to lessen ventilation? If in doubt, find out the facts about condensation

Yes, one appreciates the more opening vents each window has the more each window costs, but weigh this against good health and its a no brainer. We come across similar issues with fire escape hinges, which under Building regulations must be fitted to all first floor and above bedrooms if a) you are replacing existing windows or b) building an extension. Some folk don’t like the way the design of certain bedroom windows need to be to provide adequate means of escape. Often the objection is that aesthetically they don’t like the effect, but sometimes it is because they are trying to keep costs down. This is madness, as in the case of a fire, I am sure they would soon change their mind if they were trapped in a burning bedroom.

All windows to habitable rooms (but not kitchens, utility rooms, dressing rooms, bathrooms, toilets or shower rooms) at floors above ground level are required to be suitable for escape in fire. In addition, rooms at ground floor level whose only escape route is via another room must be provided with suitable escape windows.

A suitable escape window is defined as “a window whose unobstructed openable area is at least 0.33m2 and at least 450mm high and 450mm wide (a 450mm wide opening will need to be 735mm high). The bottom of the openable area should be no more than 1100mm above the floor. Any key required to open the window should be readily available.”

If your existing windows have trickle vents, any replacement frames should have then. The area of opening windows (i.e. opening vents) must not be less than that which was originally provided. The bottom line is that one should not lessen ventilation below the criteria set out in the Building Regulations that is based on the floor area of each particular room. Likewise, if there is insufficient ventilation, property owners are required to provide this if replacing windows or building and extension etc.

To find out more about ventilation under the new Building Regulations download Document F on ventilation

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