In October 2015, changes to the Building Regulations meant that anyone wishing to install rooflights in ‘easily accessible areas’ on a building must make sure that the product complies with security requirements, as outlined in Approved Document Q: Security in Dwellings.
In Part Q, doors and windows (including rooflights) installed in ‘easily accessible areas’ are described as:
A window or doorway, any part of which is within 2m vertically of an accessible level surface such as ground or basement level, or an access balcony, or
A window within 2m vertically of a flat or sloping roof (with a pitch of less than 30 degrees) that is within 3.5m of ground level.
But who is responsible for ensuring compliance on site? There are usually several parties involved in the construction process including architects, builders or contractors, building owners and manufacturers. Before embarking on any major building works you should understand where the responsibility lies.
An architect cannot usually be held responsible for compliance as this can only be ascertained as work is signed off by the Building Control Officer (BCO) throughout the life of the project.
However, part of an architect’s process will be to develop a design based on guidelines from the local authority and statutory requirements in order to provide the best chance of gaining planning permission if required whilst also ensuring that the proposed works can be carried out in accordance with the Building Regulations.
Builders and Contractors
If you have employed the services of a builder or contractor their expertise and experience will usually mean that they take on the responsibility of ensuring compliance with the Building Regulations on site, this should be agreed before commencing works.
Ultimately compliance with the Building Regulations always falls to the owner of the building, even if a builder has taken on this responsibility. Failure to comply will result in an enforcement notice being served to the building owner if any works carried out do not comply.
In the case of Approved Document Q those involved in product selection should fully understand the changes in regulations and ensure that any rooflights installed have been tested to an appropriate standard recognised by Building Control.
Use of non-approved products could result in an enforcement notice being issued and an instruction to remove the products from the building and replace them with an approved version.
As there is no Harmonised European Standard (hEN) for rooflights allowing products to be CE marked, there is no mandatory requirement for manufacturers to test their products. Although some may manufacture products using techniques and materials which are theoretically capable of sustaining an attack, unless samples of these products have been submitted and independently tested they cannot be used in easily accessible areas defined under Approved Document Q.
To find out more about the applicable security standards in Building Regulations Part Q, download the ebook.