PART 1 : BUILDING REGULATIONS… Don’t get caught out!

Whilst most people understand that new build constructions and extensions are subject to regulation under the UK Building Regulations 2010, it is perhaps lesser known that certain small projects, classed under the banner of maintenance or improvements, are also subject to regulatory approval.

If you are carrying out the work yourself you are responsible for obtaining the necessary consents, if a builder is carrying out the work for you the responsibility generally falls to them but that should be discussed from the outset. Ultimately it is the buildings owner that would be served an enforcement notice if the work does not comply with the regulations.

In this series we’ll be looking at minor works that require consent and how to go about securing that.

Under regulation 3 of the Building Regulations 2010, ‘building work’ requiring consent consists of any of the following, this list is not exhaustive, just a sample of most common DIY or home maintenance projects:

  • Replacement windows (and doors)
  • Fuel burning appliances of any type
  • Foul water and rainwater drainage (additional, or alterations to)
  • Additional washing, sanitary & kitchen facilities (not within a new extension)
  • Electrical works
  • Thermal upgrades


Today we’ll be covering replacement windows and how to make sure that you maintain compliance.

Changing or upgrading windows and doors in a property is something that most people will have to do at some point due perhaps to; decayed window frames, blown double glazed units, or the want to improve thermal performance changing from single, to double or even triple glazing, however it is important to understand that the regulation of windows and glazing falls under a number of different sections, within the Building regulations 2010 and the replacement of them therefore requires consent:

  • Part B – Means of Escape & fire spread – windows for escape purposes need to meet certain opening dimensions, and where required be designed to resist the spread of fire
  • Part F – ventilation – must meet the minimum standards for purge and background ventilation
  • Part K – protection from falling, collision & impact – glazing in critical areas to be designed not to break, or to break in such a manner as to not cause injury
  • Part L – conservation of fuel and power – should meet the current standards for the replacement of an existing thermal element
  • Part M – Access – level threshold access should be maintained with any replacement installation

As a stand alone project there are two routes to obtaining building regulation approval for replacement windows and doors.

  1. The first and most employed is to use a supplier & installer who are FENSA registered. FENSA is a government backed scheme that registers and regularly assesses approved installers to ensure their compliance with current building regulations. A FENSA approved installer on completion of the work will provide you with a FENSA certificate, this certificate proves compliance with the building regulations, the energy efficiency of the installation, that it is registered with your local council building control authority, and that any guarantee is insured, it will also be needed if you come to sell the property. The FENSA approved installer route does have conditions namely that the property has to be sited on its original footprint, and that the use and size of the rooms mustn’t be altered, it also doesn’t cover commercial properties, or repairs to windows where the frame is not included.
  2. The second route to compliance would be to use the local building control authority or an approved inspector to check the installation for compliance. This generally is required if the windows are bespoke made by a local joiner, or a window supply company who are not FENSA registered. In this scenario it would be best practice to supply the local authority building control with drawings and a written specification of the proposed replacement windows and doors. This can then be checked for compliance by the building control officer prior to any manufacturing or instalment, to avoid any potential costly rectification work.

For further information you can refer to the national planning portal which offer guidance on planning and building regulation matters;, alternatively if you are considering a building project and would like to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact our team of architects and technologists.

The information above is given as an introductory guide only and is not definitive. It is the homeowners responsibility to ensure compliance for all DIY home improvement projects which can be confirmed by speaking with your local building control authority.

The above guide deals solely with the building regulations, it does not cover planning or listed building consents which may be required prior and in addition to obtaining building regulation approval.