Dennis Sumner, MD of Force 8, investigates the October 2010 Building Regulations door bombshell…
For more than 12 months all the talk has been ‘Are you ready with your windows?’ It has been constantly drilled into us by spacer bar and glazing companies via the trade press that time is running out and how little time we have left to prepare ourselves for the new Building Regulations for October 2010.
After all the hype, the October 2010 Building Regulations state that to comply, a window must achieve a ‘C’ energy rating (or better) or a U value of 1.6 or less. Dennis Sumner explains, ‘As long as we can prove that the window frame and glazing has a U value of less than 1.6, we have complied with the regulations and there is no mandatory requirement to be a BFRC member.’ Dennis continues ‘Now, what took everyone by surprise and indeed some people are still not aware, is that there is also a requirement being introduced with the October 2010 Building Regulations, that any door must achieve a U value of 1.8 or less. Again, it will be up to individual companies to prove this.’ There is no alternative and the BFRC does not currently have any DER’s in place for doors and is unlikely to do so until next year.
So, how will this affect our doors? What is the U Value of a plastic panel? This will depend on its construction, is it 20mm, 24mm or 28mm thick?, is it reinforced?, is it glazed and if so what type of glass has been used? It seems very unlikely that PVC panels, as are being supplied today, will comply. Similarly, it seems unlikely that timber, aluminium or steel doors will fair any better and they will struggle to achieve the required U value. There is also the question of fully glazed single, French and patio Bi Folding Doors. Dennis explains ‘Again as far as I understand, these products will still have to come within the 1.8 U value requirement, which means that all companies, whether a BFRC registered or not, will have to show this figure is calculated and achieved.’
Previously, if a door was less than 50% glass, there was no requirement to register with FENSA. Of course from the 1st October 2010, all doors will have to be registered with FENSA no matter what type, style or percentage of glazing including Fire Doors. It is logical therefore that at some point the BBA inspectors working on behalf of FENSA will have to question whether these doors comply and will require proof of the figures and how they have been calculated. The implication therefore is that if a door cannot be proved to be compliant, it may have to be changed for one that can be shown to meet the Building Regulations.
Surely there must be an answer to this situation, a product that offers choice, style, security, durability and guaranteed compliance? Dennis believes the 44mm thick Force 8 composite doors stand a great chance of success. ‘Ignoring the frame for the moment, a solid composite door generally has a U value of 1 or less and even if you add in a standard double glazed unit (with a U value as high as 2.8), representing approximately 25% of the composite door area on a typical twin glazed design, this would still achieve a U value of 1.4, well within the October 2010 regulations. Our frames also offer superior thermal efficiency with the use of PVC reinforcing.’