Part Q and security testing for glass rooflights

From the 1st October 2015, Building Regulations have been updated to include Security of Dwellings under Approved Document Q, which has implications for the specification of rooflights.

The changes do not apply to work started before 1st October 2015, work subject to a building notice or for planning submitted before that date provided work commences before 1st October 2016.

This document covers door and windows in the main part but there are specific references to ‘easily accessible’ rooflights.

The document explains the term ‘easily accessible’ as either:

  • 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.

Rooflight security for flat roof single story extensions

In real terms this means that most roof windows installed in plane on a typical pitched roof in a two storey building remain unaffected by the guidelines, whereas glass rooflights designed for flat roof applications are more likely to be affected due to their more accessible locations, often being found on single storey extensions.

Design of secure windows

Approved Document Q goes on to state that Windows should be made to a design that has been shown by test to meet the security requirements of British Standards publication PAS 24:2012.

Windows satisfying other standards that provide similar or better performance are also acceptable, including:

STS 204 Issue 3:2012

LPS 1175 Issue 7:2010 security rating I

LPS 2081 Issue 1:2015 security rating A

Most of these standards were originally intended to test the security of vertically installed windows and doorsets.

PAS 24:2012

BSI standard last updated in 2012 this PAS supersedes PAS 24:2007+A2:2011 and BS 7950:1997. It provides a method for testing and assessing the enhanced security performance requirements of external doorsets and window types intended to resist the levels and methods of attack experienced in the UK and normally associated with the casual or opportunist burglar.

The standard was originally intended to test doorsets and windows including any locking hardware and glass. Samples are required to be supported and installed vertically so this standard is not suited to testing glass rooflights, particularly for flat roof applications.

STS202 Issue 3:2011

Issued by Warrington Certification Ltd. In March 2011, Security Technical Specification STS202 covers requirements for burglary resistance of construction products including hinged pivoted, folding or sliding doorsets, windows, curtain walling, security grilles, garage doors and shutters. It does not specifically refer to rooflights or roof windows. However, as there is no specific requirement to test vertically it is appropriate for rooflights.

There are six resistance classes with a variety of times and tool kits BR1 and BR2 addressing the level of attack normally associated with casual or opportunist burglars being loosely based on low risk domestic properties.

BR3 and BR4 address the level of attack associated with more practiced burglars prepared to make noise and take risks, these tests are based on medium risk commercial properties.

BR5 and BR6 covers professional type burglars with planned attacks using power tools and no regard to noise levels, these classes are designed to address high risk, high security properties.

STS204 Issue 3:2012

Issued by Warrington Certification Ltd STS204 refers to enhanced security performance of windows for domestic applications to BS7950: 1997 which are defined as casement: side hung (open-out and open-in) top hung (open-out) bottom hung (open-in) tilt/turn and turn/tilt, fixed light and dummy vent, top swing and vertical sliding. This is specifically a test for windows.

Again, we find no specific reference to roof lights or skylights so this test is not really applicable to glass rooflights for flat roof applications. BS7950 was in itself replaced by PAS24: 2012 referred to earlier in this post.

LPS 1175 Issue 7:2010 security rating I

Loss Prevention Standard LPS1175 is issued by BRE Global Ltd and describes tests for classifying the intruder resistance of building components, strongpoints, security enclosures and freestanding barriers.

The tests cover a large variety of products and systems including specific reference to roof lights and skylights, where these products comprise of an opening element and frame they are tested as a combination, locked accordingly.

It does not cover the classification of individual components such as glass, infill materials or locks in their own right, other than as part of the products tested.

The test also includes installation and fixing methods in accordance with the manufacturers specification and assumes that the substrate onto which the product installed provides at least an equivalent level of resistance to attack as the product itself.

As with STS202 the security rating is based on several different classes, which range from domestic risks (class 1 and 2), commercial risks (class 2, 3 and 4), high security risks (class 5 and 6) and extremely high security risk (class 7 and 8) these involve a number of differing toolsets and attack times.

For part Q there is only a requirement to test to domestic risk (class 1)

LPS 2081 Issue 1:2015 security rating A

LPS 2081 is the latest standard to be published, this standard is based on similar methodology to LPS1175 but differs due to the attacks being based on resistance to manual attack by an opportunist intruder attempting to use a combination of physical bodily force, stealth and a selection of tools that are easily concealed about the person in order to gain entry.

This makes it more suitable for testing rooflights that are commonly found in domestic and residential applications where an offender will go to greater lengths to avoid excessive noise that may draw attention to them.

Glazing Vision are pleased to announce that they have just released their new ‘secure and secure+’ range of Secured by Design rooflights, all of which are part Q compliant.

In our next post we will cover a typical test carried out to LPS 2081 Issue 1:2015 in more detail.