Speak up on regulations

Paul Kennington
Paul Kennington

By Paul Kennington, technical director, Veka.

Building regulations are causing confusion for many in the UK fenestration world, and Veka is urging the industry to speak up regarding further changes that are due to be imposed in 2025.

U-Values and differing calculation methods are already causing a headache for many, but with more planned updates in the pipeline, the industry needs to act quickly to ensure that it is heard.

Currently, the U-Value for windows in new dwellings is 1.2 W/m2K in England. In Scotland new regulations from December will also require a 1.2 U-Value, whilst in Wales it will be 1.3 from November.

Recent changes are the first step in the government’s drive to net zero emissions. A consultation next year will decide the next steps and it has been suggested that a U-Value of 0.80 will be recommended.

In England, there are four different methods of calculating U-Values, whilst Scotland has one, and Wales has three. These different test methods all present different results. Also, fabricators that sell products in all three countries are finding the varying calculation methods add complexity to their operations.

To calculate thermal efficiency, the actual values of all the products used in a building are compared with ‘notional values’, and if necessary, adjustments can be made. It is these notional values the government will consult on.

Rather than using the exact specification of a window, the values are very often calculated on a standard configuration, meaning that the windows will not perform as expected.

Figure fiddling

Currently, if a window does not hit a U-Value through one calculation, it is possible to use another method that may hit the mark.

It can be comparable to weighing yourself on three sets of bathroom scales to see the result you want. With the exception of the exact size and configuration, current methods are not comparable, truthful, or viable.

As an industry, we need to call for one method across all three countries that aligns with the accepted calculation methods across in Europe.

It’s important that our industry is heard. A recent consultation only had around 750 responses from the building sector, with just 50 or 60 from construction and an even smaller number from fenestration.

We need more people of influence to talk about this if we are going to influence legislation.

The DLUHC (Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities), plans to begin its consultation next year, with likely implementation in 2025. If you would like to register for a notification of the consultation, then please email marketing@veka.com