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Building Regs Boost For New Homes

1 October 2015

New house buyers will enjoy improved security and greater peace of mind in their homes thanks to upcoming additions to the Building Regulations, says, Ian Kernaghan, Product Manager of Eurocell, the UK’s leading supplier of PVC-U window, door, conservatory and roofline systems.

These new rules concern “unauthorised access” – i.e. burglaries – to homes, and apply to any door that provides entry into the main property so it covers residential patio, French, bi-fold, communal and garage doors where there is an interconnecting door into the property. The rules also extend to ground floor windows and other easily accessible windows such as rooflights.

Ian says: “We whole-heartedly welcome this because it raises standards of security for doors and ground floor windows across the whole industry, effectively making sub-standard products illegal for new houses. As reputable system supplier who sees thousands of our products go into new homes every year, we recognise the importance of these high standards – and are grateful that everyone buying a house in the future will enjoy this benefit”.

On October 1st any manufacturers holding a ‘Secured by Design’ (SBD) licence for their products will already comply with this document as, in effect, this means the system has been tested to a standard known as PAS 24, while those seeking to supply products that do not meet PAS 24 (or other cited documents) into the housebuilding sector will be breaking the law. SBD is a not for profit organization owned by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) that promotes the principles of ‘designing out crime’ through physical security and processes.

Examples of how these new regulations will ‘target harden’ homes are a requirement that letter plates can measure no greater than 26cm x 4cm at most and must have a means of stopping thieves removing keys by hand or with a stick and hook. Front and other main doors must have either a chain or ‘limiter’ and, unless there is clear glass within the door or a window next to it, they must be fitted with a door viewer.

The new regulations mean that doors and relevant windows must be manufactured to a design that has been shown – by testing – to meet the security requirements of standards that are specified in the new Part Q of the Building Regulations. The security tests include manual intervention, mechanical loading and hard and soft body impact. The testing is intense: the mechanical loading tests subject windows and door sets to roughly 45 times the pressure you would use to tighten a car wheel nut.

The PAS 24 standard was developed by the British Standards Institution (BSI) as a security measure that would resist the levels and methods of attack experienced in the UK and normally associated with the casual or opportunist burglar who would avoid noise and unnecessary risk. As a result this standard does not address entry by deliberate breaking of the glass, lock picking using tools only available to a locksmith or by attack on the frame’s fixings. 

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