From 1st October, the Building Regulations' Approved Document Q (Part Q), Security – Dwellings, comes into force.
Its aim is to prevent people breaking into a home through lower-level doors and windows. In the case of flats, it covers any part of a building from which there is access to the flats.
Patio, French, bi-fold and communal doors; where there is an interconnecting door between the garage and the property then either the garage doors or the interconnecting door must meet the new standards.
The 'main' door (usually the front one) should have a viewer, unless it has a clear glass panel, or there is a window by the door. It must also have a door chain or limiter; exceptions to this rule include properties where carers or wardens need to enter when measures such as audio-visual door entry systems can be used.
Letter boxes must be 260mm x 40mm or smaller and designed with a flap or other barrier to prevent thieves reaching inside with a hand or stick. And Part Q says that any glazing which, if broken, would allow someone to get a hand in to release the lock must be a minimum class P1A in accordance with BS EN 356:2000 (Double- or triple-glazed units only need one pass of class-P1A glass).
Part Q also makes the point that where doorsets are installed into lightweight framed walls, the walls should include a resilient layer such as 9mm-thick timber or expanded metal, to the full height of the door and 600mm either side of the doorset.
Part Q says that both main doors and others should be fitted with a multipoint locking system, and lists the standards to which the various locking system must meet. If a multipoint system is not practical or desirable, it says a mortice lock should be used. Hinges accessible from outside should incorporate hinge bolts.
Secure doorsets and windows should be manufactured to a design that has been tested to prove that it meets the security requirements of PAS 24:2012; or in the case of bespoke timber secure doorsets in accordance with Appendix B of Part Q. Doorsets and windows that meet similar or better standards than PAS 24 are also accepted. These include standards from Certisecure, Warrington Certification Limited and the Loss Prevention Certification Board which are listed in Part Q.
PAS 24 is a Publicly Available Specification, published by BSI (British Standard Institute). It's rather snappy title is Enhanced security performance requirements for doorsets and windows in the UK. External doorsets and windows intended to offer a level of security suitable for dwellings and other buildings exposed to comparable risk. PASs are developed by industry, so in theory they should be reasonable and logical. They often form the basis for regulation. PAS 24 provides a method for testing and assessing doors and windows in relation to security.
The new rules do not apply to work started before 1 October 2015, or work where a building notice, full plans application or initial notice has been submitted before that date, as long as work starts on site before 1 October 2016.
Some door and window suppliers may already have certified their products to PAS 24, so can already demonstrate that they meet Part Q requirements. Any firm with 'Secured By Design' (SBD) New Homes 2014 certification is also covered. Smaller fabricators may wish to call on their suppliers for help. Eurocell, for example, has tested a number of its windows and doors to PAS 24 so that these can be used from the 1 October with the knowledge that they are fully compliant.