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How secure are rooflights?

One of the questions we often get asked when architects and their clients are looking to specify glass rooflights for a project is ‘how secure are the rooflights?’

Of course, this is not a simple question to answer, as it will depend on a wide range of factors including the materials used, the design, glass specification, locking mechanisms, accessibility of the rooflight, location of the building, local crime rates, building use etc.

Fortunately Building Regulations have tried to address this, and if you look at our blog you will see we have recently talked in some detail about the changes to Building Regulations Part Q – Security of Dwellings and how rooflight manufacturers will need to independently test their products to comply.

This can sometimes be confusing due to the various standards involved and how vast the scope is, but organisations exist to make this process easier.

Secured by Design

Secured by Design (SBD) was established in 1989 and is the official UK Police flagship security initiative, which combines the principals of ‘designing out crime’ through physical security and layout across all realms of the built environment. SBD works with industry houses to create and test high level security standards in response to trends in crime.

Where a product manufacturer has successfully passed relevant security testing to an approved standard, it can then apply to have that product marked with the SBD logo.

Although a product may in principal be secure and good enough to pass these standards, unless it has been tested and certificated it cannot use the Secured by Design mark and will not be supported by the Police.

This scheme is set up to make it easy for clients to recognise individual products prior to purchase and offer peace of mind that those products have been tested to a national standard that is recognised by Building Control.

Part Q – Building Regulation Compliance for Rooflights

Building Regulation Part Q does not apply in all circumstances and there is a set of criteria in place to guide specifiers on its application referring to ‘easily accessible rooflights’ described in the document 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.

Flat roof glass rooflights are commonly installed in single storey extensions and as such are more likely to fall into the criteria set out in Part Q above than a roof window. Although less likely, there are still circumstances where it will apply to a roof window.

Our recent posts use video demonstrations to show the Part Q security testing process for both fixed rooflights and opening glass rooflights.

Remember it is up to you; the specifier needs to ensure that the product you are selecting for use complies with Building Regulation.

Why take the risk with rooflight security?

There is no requirement for manufacturers to test their products to these standards, however this would preclude their use in easily accessible locations. If the chosen location falls outside of Building Regulation criteria above, you would not need a product that is Part Q compliant.

But why take the risk? Products with the Secured by Design mark offer increased peace of mind and the knowledge that the manufacturer has taken the time and considerable expense to put their product to the test, in order to maximise the safety and security of their customers.

The benefits of Secured by Design for architects and their clients can be summarised below:

    1. Compliance with Building Regulation Part Q – Security in Dwellings where applicable
    1. More secure product than standard toughened glass
    1. In event of breakage no internal damage to furnishings and finishes
    1. Reduced risk of injury as laminated pane holds fractured glass fragments together
    1. Reduced insurance premiums with SBD products

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.