The Welsh Government is currently consulting on new proposals to update its Building Regulations in several areas related to sustainability.
Launched on 1st March and supported by events in Cardiff and Llandudno hosted by Constructing Excellence in Wales, the proposals include changes to requirements for water efficiency, as well as the introduction of security requirements for new dwellings.
The proposals for security affect new dwellings only, similar to the recently-introduced Approved Document Q in England. Windows and doors that achieve PAS 24 will be considered as satisfying the requirements and glass will need to achieve minimum Class P1A to EN 356.
“As in England,” comments Phil Brown, Technical Advisory Service Manager for Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, “the expectation is that these new requirements will increase opportunities for laminated glass in Wales. Pilkington Optilam™ of 6.8mm thickness will easily meet this level and, in fact, achieves a classification as high as P2A.”
A wide range of doors will be affected by the requirements including primary access (front doors), secondary access (back doors), French doors, patio doors and doors connecting dwelling to garage or conservatory. Easily-accessible ground floor windows will also be covered.
“The proposals do not cover replacement windows and doors in existing dwellings,” explains Phil. “However, the consultation intends to capture views on the practicality of extending the requirements to replacement windows and doors in future. As the replacement domestic market is much larger than new build, this could be hugely significant for our industry.”
The consultation includes specific questions on Life Cycle Analysis, Environmental Product Declarations and responsible sourcing. However, the current position of the Welsh Government is not to regulate on these aspects, but encourage wider adoption of sustainable construction in Wales through voluntary means. There are also no new requirements for resistance to sound, as the view of the Building Regulations division is that the current provisions are adequate.
The consultation closes on 24th May. Depending upon the results of the consultation, new Approved Documents could be published in September 2016 for implementation six months later.
For more details on the Building Regulations Sustainability Review consultation for Wales, please click here.