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Safety Glazing

Safety glazing regulations and standards

For safety glazing, the likely locations for impacts which could lead to cutting and piecing injuries are in doors and door side-panels and at a low level in walls and partitions.

For safety, the following locations may be considered “critical”:

which is wholly or partially within 1500mm from the floor level glazing adjacent to doors which is wholly or partially within 300mm of the edge of a door.  Which is also wholly or partially within 1500mm from floor level Low-level glazing not covered by (1) or (2). Glazing which is wholly or partially within 800mm from floor level.

Reducing the risk consideration:

Glazing in critical locations should either:

Break safely if it breaks

Be robust or in a small panel

Be permanently protected

Safe breakage, which in practical terms is concerned with the performance of laminated and toughened glass. This standard is defined in BS6206:1981. When it comes to safe breakage, a glazing material suitable for installation in a critical location would need to satisfy the test requirements of class C of BS6206. Alternatively, if it installed in a door or in a door side panel and has a pane width exceeding 900mm, the test requirements of Class B of BS6206.

Glazing (Safety and Compliance) Audit

All existing buildings, components and fitments should be surveyed to identify whether they meet the regulations. Injury caused by non-compliant glazing will be the responsibility of the ‘Duty Holder’.

The Audit Regulation 14 of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992 lays down a duty to ensure that the safety of building users is not put at risk by the breakage of glazing materials so that such materials either if they break, break safely, or are not by their nature

Ventilation

Windows and doors provide ventilation to rooms within a dwelling and rules apply to how much ventilation. The type and extent of ventilation will be dependent on the use and size of the room. For example, rooms where steam will be produced (kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms etc) should be provided with higher levels of ventilation (normally mechanical fans and windows) than other rooms where suitably sized window openings and background (“trickle”) ventilators may suffice.

Fitness for Human Habitation 

As of 20 March 2019, the Fitness for Human Habitation Act is in force for tenancies in England. This legislation amended the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 so that landlords must ensure their property is fit for human habitation at the start of the tenancy and then maintain this standard throughout rest of the time the tenant lives in the property.

Safety glazing should be provided to any glass in a critical area. Below is a list giving general view as to when safety glazing is required:

  1. Any glazed area within a window below 800mm from floor level.
  2. Any glazed area within a window that is 300mm or less from a door and up to 1500mm from floor level.

Since 1 April 2002 building regulations have applied to all replacement glazing. The regulations apply to thermal performance and other areas such as safety, air supply, means of escape and ventilation.

An external window or door is a “controlled fitting” under the Building Regulations and because of this classification, these Regulations set out certain standards to be met when such a window or door is replaced.

General guidance on the performance expected of materials and building work to comply with the building regulations and practical examples and solutions on how to achieve compliance for some of the more common building situations can be found in the approved documents section.

You could use an installer registered with the relevant competent person scheme. A registered installer will be approved to carry out the work to comply with building regulations without involving local authority building control. When work is complete you will receive a certificate showing the work was done by a registered installer. More information about Competent Person Schemes can be found on the Gov.uk website.

Alternatively, you could use an unregistered installer or DIY, in which case approval can be sought from the relevant Building Control Body – either at your Local Authority or an Approved Inspector. They will check the replacement window(s) or door(s) for compliance and, if satisfied, issue a certificate of compliance.

Glazing Thermal Heat Loss

Dwellings are required to be energy efficient.  A method of achieving greater energy efficiency is to take steps to reduce the amount of heat that is lost through the glazing in both windows and doors.

If you are to install windows and doors you should be aware that they need to comply with the requirements of the Building Regulations in relation to the amount of heat that can pass through the glass and framework, which is measured as a U-Value.  This U-value should not be exceeded.  For information on the maximum U-Value allowed please refer to Approved Document L-1B, Table 1.

Safety glazing

Safety glazing should be provided to any glass in a critical area.  Below is a list giving general view as to when safety glazing is required:

  • Any glazed area within a window below 800mm from floor level
  • Any glazed area within a window that is 300mm or less from a door and up to 1500mm from floor level
  • Within any glazed door up to 1500mm from floor level.

See diagram 5.1 in Approved Document K for more information.

Ventilation

Windows and doors provide ventilation to rooms within a dwelling and rules apply to how much ventilation. The type and extent of ventilation will be dependent on the use and size of the room.  For example, rooms where steam will be produced (kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms etc) should be provided with higher levels of ventilation (normally mechanical fans and windows) than other rooms where suitably sized window openings and background (“trickle”) ventilators may suffice.

Fire Safety

There are two aspects to be considered:

  • Fire spread between properties through “unprotected areas”
  • Means of escape in case of fire.

Unprotected areas

External doors and windows may need to have fire resistance and (in the case of doors) be self-closing or (in the case of windows) be fixed shut to limit the risk of fire spread between adjacent properties. The area of walls, doors and windows permitted to have reduced or undetermined fire resistance (known as “unprotected areas”) will be dependent on how close these elements are to the boundary.

Means of escape

When replacing any window, the opening should be sized to provide at least the same potential for escape as the window it replaces. If the original window that is being replaced was larger than necessary for the purpose of escape, then the new window opening could be reduced to the minimum as specified in the criteria below.

The means of escape should be considered for any new window installed to an extension or existing dwelling.  If an escape window is required, then criteria set out below should be followed.  It is also generally a good practise replacing any window on the first floor that is not used as an escape window with an escape window.

See below for the general criteria for egress windows:

  • Width and Height – Either of these is not to be any less than 450mm
  • Clear Openable Area – No less than 0.33m²
  • Cill height – The bottom of the openable area should be no more than 1100mm above the floor area.

Only one window per room is generally required.

Access to buildings

When replacing main entrance doors in a dwelling unit that has been constructed since 1999, it is important to ensure that the threshold remains level otherwise the works will not comply with the Building Regulations as it would be making the threshold worse than it was when constructed.  This is to enable people, including those with disabilities, to have continued access to the dwelling.

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