Window and door specifications explained

How do you know that the windows and doors that you buy are up to the job? The best way is to choose products that are certified or guaranteed to comply with quality standards. There are a number of relevant specifications for windows and doors to meet, including compulsory building regulations as well as optional BSI quality standards. We’ve put together this mini guide to explain the relevant window specifications in more detail.

What are BSI standards?Window specifications

When choosing new windows or doors, you can get peace of mind by checking that your chosen products meet BSI standards. The BSI is the British Standards Institution, and it’s the body that publishes technical standards for a range of products, including windows and doors. These are voluntary standards and specifications, so manufacturers don’t have to comply with them – but doing so is a sign of quality.

There are many BSI window and door specifications that govern every aspect of manufacture. We’ll focus on some of the most important below.

Building regulations for windows and doors

In addition to the voluntary BSI standards, several building regulations cover the production of new windows and doors. These are compulsory window specifications that all replacement glazing, whether in a window or a door, must meet. We’ll explore some of these below, and you can read about the specifications in more detail on the Planning Portal website.

Security specifications

Security is really important in doors and windows – they protect your home from the outside world so they need to be robust and secure.

  • The main requirement to check is compliance with PAS 24 (formerly known as BS7950). This covers security standards for external door sets and windows. A specification that covers the whole door (or window) set rather than its individual components, doors and windows should comply with this basic minimum security standard.

Acoustic performance

Good acoustic performance means that noise from the street stays outside. The specifications relevant to your doors and windows will depend on the material they are made from, and could include:

Thermal performance

Windows and doors with poor thermal performance can create a draughty house and high heating bills. To ensure that your windows and doors are thermally efficient, check the BSI standards above for timber, aluminium and UPVC windows and doors. You should also be aware of window energy ratings that grade thermal performance from A to G.

Fire safety

Doors and windows are important safety features in case of fire; they can stop fires from spreading quickly, and they also provide a means of escape.

  • In houses with more than two storeys (including loft conversions), fire doors must be installed. Fire doors are certified – FD30 doors are fire resistant for 30 minutes, for example, and FD60 doors for 60 minutes.
  • Building regulations dictate that on upper floors lower than 4.5 metres, all buildings must have at least one ‘escape window’ per floor. In order to be suitable it needs to be larger than 450mm in each dimension, able to be opened wide enough to get out of, and situated low enough so that escapees can climb out of it.

FENSA – a sign of qualityFENSA logo: Window specifications

You don’t have to check every single product you consider to see if it is BSI or building regulations compliant. FENSA registered companies like Just Windows and Doors comply with all building regulations and BSI window specifications as standard – so that’s one less thing for you to worry about.

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