Press Release

Bluesky Certification has extended its UKAS accreditation to include a new certification scheme for the Installation of Fire Resistant Windows and Glazed Screens. The new scheme has been developed to provide installers of fire resistant windows and fire resistant glazed screens with the means to demonstrate that their standard of installation will be appropriate, so that the fire resistant properties of the window or glazed screen will be retained during installation.

The scheme is similar to Bluesky’s existing schemes for fire door installation, inspection and maintenance in that the installation company must nominate a supervisor who takes responsibility for a number of operatives. The scheme applies to the installation of internal and external fire resistant windows and glazed screens manufactured from timber, PVCU, aluminium, steel or composite materials. It also applies to the fitment of replacement glazing to existing fire resistant windows and screens.

Companies wishing to join the scheme must undergo an initial audit at a site where they are fitting fire resistant windows and / or glazed screens. As well as showing that the products have been fitted correctly, the company will need to demonstrate that appropriate training and monitoring procedures are in place. Further site audits are required on a six monthly basis to maintain the certification.

“The process for extending our UKAS accreditation was particularly onerous, involving a detailed review of our procedures and site audits by UKAS. We believe that this accreditation is vital for a scheme’s credibility, and as such, all of our schemes involving fire resistance are reviewed by UKAS before we launch them. This new scheme compliments the already accredited schemes for fire door installation, inspection, maintenance and firestopping installation” said Simon Beer, Managing Director at Bluesky Certification.

press releaseFor further information on Bluesky schemes contact Simon Beer on or telephone 01753 303828 or visit #maintenance #windows #glazing #buildings #fireresistance #firedoors #glazedscreens #certification

Bluesky is 5 years old!

5 years ago Bluesky Certification started, to fulfil a need in the market for a credible certification body which offered high levels of service to its customers. The first few years of any new business are often exciting, and this was no exception for Bluesky. We achieved accreditation with UKAS for various schemes for doors, windows, glass and fire resistant products, then attracted high calibre customers to our scheme. We are experiencing increasingly strong growth, with a particular focus over the past year on our schemes for the manufacture, installation, inspection and maintenance of fire resistant products. As well as having schemes for doors and windows to meet Secured by Design requirements, and the only UKAS accredited fire door inspection scheme, we start this year with UKAS accredited certification for the installation of various fire stopping products (penetration seals, structural steel protection, fire / smoke curtains, cavity barriers etc) having managed to extend our accreditation scope last year despite the pandemic!

UKAS Reassessment completed

Bluesky Certification has recently completed its’ UKAS reassessment. In addition to the normal annual surveillance visit program, every 4 years we have to go through a complete re-assessment of everything we hold accreditation for. This has taken several days of auditing to complete, with 3 separate UKAS assessors reviewing our files in considerable detail, followed by additional UKAS assessors carrying out a check of the audits they had done.

Office procedures and site audits were reviewed to confirm continued compliance with ISO/IEC 17065, with the process for any certification activity or audit visit we have conducted over the past four years being potentially selected for scrutiny. The accreditation process is particularly onerous, giving real credibility to the certification that accredited certification bodies such as Bluesky provide.

Firestopping installation scheme accredited by UKAS

Bluesky Certification has extended its UKAS accreditation to include the recently launched fire stopping installation scheme. This important achievement demonstrates the credibility of the scheme to both customers and specifiers.

Although 3rd party certification is not a legal requirement for the installation of firestopping seals, recent fires such as those at Lakanal House and Grenfell Tower have clearly shown that fire compartmentation must be robust. Any services which run through the fire resistant wall have the potential to breach the compartmentation if not done properly. UKAS accredited certification schemes for installers such as that provided by Bluesky will help to ensure that firestopping penetration seals are fitted as intended by the seal manufacturers, to ensure that the fire resistance of the compartment wall is maintained.

“In order to achieve this accreditation we had our scheme rules and procedures reviewed by UKAS, before one of their auditors witnessed us conducting a site audit at one of our customer’s sites. Independent checks were then made by other experts within UKAS before the extension was granted. It was a particularly onerous process, but given the importance of this work, I am pleased that we have had the scheme so thoroughly vetted by UKAS” said Simon Beer, Managing Director at Bluesky Certification.

Randalls Contractors extends certification

Randalls Contractors Ltd, has extended its certification to include the recently launched Bluesky Firestopping Installation Scheme and the Bluesky Fire Door Inspection scheme. This makes them the first company to have certification with Bluesky to cover fire door installation, fire door inspection, fire door maintenance and firestopping installation.

“This important achievement demonstrates the credibility of the services that we offer to our customers, while giving us the peace of mind that an independent expert body is regularly checking our work”, says Trevor Randall, of Randalls Contractors Ltd.

Trevor continues, “Overall health and safety is something we should all have at the forefront of our minds. Where fire precautions are concerned it is important to establish a high level of working standards within the fire protection industry. Having the stringent monitoring from an expert body such as Bluesky certification helps us to achieve the high standards that we are aiming for. We have also benefited from the level of knowledge that the Bluesky team has, which has given us confidence in our work”

Simon Beer, Managing Director, Bluesky Certification commented “Credible 3rd party certification schemes for the installation inspection and maintenance of fire-resistant products are recognised in the Building Regulations as a means to ensure that fire compartmentation is maintained. Whilst membership of such schemes isn’t mandatory, we are seeing an increase in the specification by those responsible for buildings as they understand the importance of having this work done competently”.

Firestopping installation scheme launched

Bluesky Certification has launched a new certification scheme for the Installation of Firestopping Seals. The Scheme has been developed to provide confidence to fire stopping installers, building owners, specifiers and Responsible Persons that fire stopping products are fitted correctly, so that the fire resistance of compartment lines is preserved.

The fire stopping installation scheme is similar to Bluesky’s existing schemes for fire door installation, inspection and maintenance schemes in that the installation company must nominate a supervisor who takes responsibility for a number of operatives. The installer must obtain appropriate data sheets from fire stopping product manufacturers, then fit their products correctly, in line with both the manufacturers’ instructions and fire test evidence.

Installations that have been carried out under the scheme will be easily identifiable by a label, placed next to each installation to confirm that it meets the requirements of the scheme. The work is also registered with Bluesky, so that a certificate can be e-mailed to the Responsible Person.

Companies wishing to join the scheme must undergo an initial audit at a site where they are fitting fire stopping seals. As well as showing that the firestopping seals have been fitted correctly, the company will need to demonstrate that appropriate training and monitoring procedures are in place. Further site audits are required on a six monthly basis to maintain the certification.

Correct fire stopping is critical in maintaining the fire resistance of compartment lines in buildings. Electrical, communications, water and gas services which pass through compartment walls must be appropriately fire stopped to ensure that the fire integrity is not breached.

For further information on Bluesky schemes contact Simon Beer on or telephone 01753 303828 or visit

Bereco and Bluesky Talk Acoustics & Health at Fit Show 2019

Bereco’s Director Nicola Harrison along with Simon Beer, Managing Director of Bluesky Certification presented a live seminar at the Fit Show 2019.

The 40 minute seminar discussed the role that noise plays in our overall health and wellbeing, the impact it can have on us and answered the question can windows and doors really improve our long term health?

Nicola Harrison said “Unfortunately the impact of our choices even today, when it comes to new or replacement windows and doors is not really being considered. Even though the world is now waking up to our reliance on single use plastics; the importance of recycling and the factors that affect global warming, there are other factors that are really not being considered yet that affect us as people in our daily lives such as noise. Our 24 hour society is a major source of unwanted noise and this can be seriously damaging to our health causing issues such as stroke, dementia and heart disease and certified noise rated windows and doors can help mitigate that. I am excited to be able to discuss this subject, share our research, findings and solutions in collaboration with Bluesky Certification at this year’s Fit Show.”

Click here to discover more


Tradesmith Invests in Acoustic Certified Windows to Combat Noise Pollution

Unwanted noise is a blight on people’s lives and more than one in ten house moves is reported to be to escape unbearable noise.

For this reason, Tradesmith has worked with VEKA Halo, Warmcore aluminium and Deceuninck to engineer a range of windows which block out excessive sound. Tradesmith’s range has been independently certified through Bluesky and is available to installers, builders and developers across the South East, where a high proportion of homes and businesses are impacted by noise from Heathrow and Gatwick airports, road traffic, noisy neighbours and even from the sound of the seagulls.

For more information see

Bereco Achieve Bluesky Noise Reducing Window Certification For New Ambient Range

A recent World Health Organisation study states that three in one hundred deaths in the UK are caused by exposure to noise. Noise is now ranked second amongst all environmental threats to public health. In response, Bereco has launched its Ambient Timber Window & Door Range to deliver a reliable noise reducing solution. The range is certified through Bluesky’s Noise Reduction Window certification. Whereas many windows and doors on the market might achieve a C, D or E rating, Bereco’s sash window achieves a Bluesky A-rated noise reduction level. Fitting an A-rated product will greatly reduce noise levels in your building compared to a standard window.

For more information see

Washington and Riley Extends its Certification with Bluesky

Washington & Riley has added Bluesky’s Fire Door Maintenance Scheme to its scope of certification. The Staffordshire based company wanted to stand out from others in the marketplace, and Bluesky’s certification has helped them to do this. Word of Bluesky’s Fire Door Maintenance Scheme has spread within facility management circles, leading to an expansion in Washington & Riley’s customer-base.

Time to make a noise about acoustic performance?

An Englishman’s home is his castle is a phrase that has been around for centuries. It means that English people believe that they should be able to control what happens in their own homes, and that no one else should tell them what to do there. Nowadays we have the ability to control much of what happens in our own homes from our smart phones, with apps available to control central heating, lighting, hot water, entertainment systems, security systems etc. But if someone starts making a racket outside, or your house happens to be near a busy road or under a flight path, are the only options really to either put up with the noise or move?

Improvements in windows and doors have played a big part in helping to make homes warmer and more secure over recent years, with initiatives like Secured by Design and energy rating schemes allowing manufacturers and installers to demonstrate the performance of their products in a way that is easy for purchasers to understand. Both security and energy performance took a while to take off as selling points, but once the industry cottoned on to them, everyone started to get in on the action. Consequently, we are now at the point where selling windows and doors without proven energy or security performance would be difficult.

As with security and energy, doors and windows can be a significant weak point for acoustic performance. Noise reducing windows doors can therefore make a huge difference to the amount of external noise that enters the building – yet few manufacturers and installers currently even mention this when they are selling their products.

When I have been speaking to manufacturers and installers about acoustics, two main objections are raised:

1 No-one is asking for it

This argument was regularly given several years ago when I was talking to manufacturers and installers about security and energy performance. The reason people aren’t asking for noise reduction performance is because few companies are actively selling it, not because people aren’t bothered by noise. You don’t have to do much research to see that noise complaints to councils have been steadily increasing over the past few decades. Noise pollution isn’t just annoying though, numerous studies have demonstrated a link between noise disturbance and serious health problems.

Those living near busy roads or airports would be right to be concerned about their long-term health, as there is plenty of research linking traffic noise to health issues that include cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and dementia. They may not realise it, but their sleep is likely to be disturbed, as the noise level that causes sleep disturbance is relatively low (around 40 dB according to the World Health Organisation), well below that which would be generated by a road. Sleep disturbance like this over a prolonged period can cause problems, even when the person is not consciously aware of it.

2 Acoustics values are confusing, and it is difficult to sell

This was also the case with energy performance, and to some extent, security. Both of these were dealt with through logos which were easy to recognise. I accept that selling based on acoustic values alone is difficult (although some manufacturers and installers are now doing that) and selling on the basis of a 30 page test report is not going to be feasible with a consumer. However, noise ratings are now available which provide a benchmark comparison between different window systems in a format that is easy for consumers to understand.

In order to achieve a noise rating, you will need to obtain test evidence that demonstrates the performance of the complete window or doorset, complete with the glazing. Some system suppliers have already obtained this, so it would be worth asking them first, but if you do need to carry out your own testing, it doesn’t need to be as expensive as you might think.

Once the acoustic performance of your product has been proven, you won’t have to look too hard to find houses on a busy road, under a flight path, near a train line, or in another location that is affected by noise.  Offering your acoustic products in these areas could persuade someone to buy and by installing these products in their home, you may also have a positive impact on their long-term health.


This article appeared in Windows Active and Fenestration news.

West Port puts fire safety first with help from certification experts Bluesky

When fast-growing West Port’s full-time head of certification left the business, the company had a problem.

Always priding itself on an uncompromising commitment to excellence across the board, the firm was suddenly left without someone to oversee a crucial aspect of its business at a time when fenestration firms were under the spotlight more than ever before.

West Port quickly set about finding a replacement. But before long, thoughts turned to a more convenient and cost-competitive solution.

Enter up-and-coming third-party certification providers Bluesky. Bluesky offer a comprehensive certification service which independently verifies that a company’s windows and doors are manufactured exactly in line with the desired specification.

By focusing on the manufacturing process, rather than on paperwork, Bluesky requires its customers to achieve a high level of consistency in the quality of the manufactured product.

West Port Operations Director Andy Tyas takes up the story on why his firm is now adopting Bluesky’s fire door scheme.

“The Grenfell disaster was a much-needed wake-up call for everyone in UK construction. For years, we’ve been warning about the shockingly poor fire safety standards we’ve repeatedly seen across fenestration and other related sectors – but, tragically, it’s only now that many in our sector are starting to take the issue seriously.

“At West Port, fire safety has always been one of our highest priorities -subjected to rigorous testing by both Cambridge Fire Research and BRE, our FD30 door managed to withstand temperatures in excess of 900 degrees Celsius for 42, or 40% longer than the required BS Standards.

“But now we’ve decided to take that commitment even further. When it comes to saving people’s lives, compromise isn’t an option. We need to know that every door we ship is going to meet our exacting quality standards, not just for the first six months of production, or the first year, but for the entire time that the product is produced.

“That’s meant that Bluesky’s approach is the perfect fit for our business. They not only help us to ensure that every product we manufacture is of the highest quality possible – they’ve actually saved us money too.

“Thanks to the technical information that we now have, and because of the way Bluesky manage our certification, we haven’t needed to recruit a replacement for our internal manager. The burden of administrating certification has largely passed to Bluesky.

“At the same time, sufficient separation exists between us and Bluesky to ensure that their certification process remains independent and rigorous. This means that West Port can have confidence that the product warranty it passes onto its customer really means something.”

Phil Jones of Bluesky comments: “West Port’s primary business is fenestration not certification, but certification is a key part of the offering to the purchaser.

“With this in mind, we used our expertise to create a managed service for West Port. This means that we now hold West Port’s certification records and are able to notify them of updates and respond to technical questions regarding certification requirements.

“We’re delighted to be working with one of the UK’s leading timber manufacturers and look forward to continuing to build our relationship with them in the future!”

Combining time-honoured craftsmanship with cutting-edge manufacturing technology, Cumbria’s West Port offers something unique in UK glazing. Today, the firm employs more than 180 craftsmen and technicians, and operates from a 175,000-square foot factory kitted out with state-of-the-art equipment, the result of a far-sighted attitude that’s seen it invest extensively in boosting efficiency, improving quality and helping it continue to stand out from the crowd.

Guardian: “how noise pollution kills thousands each year”

Noise is increasingly becoming an issue in urban areas, and research is increasingly linking noise disturbance to serious mental and physical health issues, as highlighted by this article. Fitting noise reducing windows can make a huge difference, as the windows and doors are usually the main weak point in the building’s fabric for acoustics.

Bereco joins Bluesky Certification

Independent certification and testing is extremely important to Bereco, supplier of high quality, high specification windows and doors, and after a recent switch, it’s Bluesky Certification who is delivering the complete package.

“We do a lot of product testing to give customers complete peace of mind,” says Nicola Harrison, General Manager at Bereco. “Timber windows have been maligned over the years, so we tackle the misconceptions about the quality and longevity for timber windows and doors with certification. That’s why we test all our products to a much higher level than other timber window and door manufacturers. We like the unequivocal proof that comes with the independent testing and certification. Our windows and doors provide low maintenance and an impressive 60-year life span. “With Bluesky Certification we have joined the schemes for General Performance Windows and Doors, and Enhanced Security Windows and Doors to meet the requirement for Secured by Design. Also, we have certification for our advanced coating systems, to provide independent verification of the quality of our finish.

“We like to have everything backed up. Whether it’s for commercial customers or trade, we are always looking for ways to make our high-performance windows and doors stand out. The next one to be added is Bluesky’s acoustic scheme. We are launching it alongside a white paper on acoustics which includes information on links to health and wellbeing.

“We rely on our certification provider,” adds Nicola. “We need fast response times and one to one support from a company we trust. We already knew Simon Beer and how he works, so when Bereco was looking to get a more comprehensive service from its certification provider, it was an easy decision to switch to the team at Bluesky Certification.”

A Swift switchover to Bluesky

Swift Joinery Manufacturers Ltd has switched to the Bluesky Certification General Performance Windows and Doors, and Enhanced Security Windows and Doors that meet the requirement for the Secured by Design Scheme. “Switching to Bluesky Certification is really easy,” says Louisa Roberts, Sales Coordinator at Swift Joinery Manufacturers, manufacturers of timber windows and external doors.

“A lot of the work we do is for commercial projects, so having all the relevant certification in place is important for our customers. The switchover process was a paperwork exercise which Simon Beer and the team at Bluesky Certification made painless. They managed the whole process for us.

“We were looking to change as our previous provider wasn’t giving us the support we needed. Bluesky was recommended to us, and I recognised Simon Beer’s name. After a conversation with him, we were able to get our certification switched over very quickly.”

2018 has started well for the Yorkshire-based joiners. Swift Joinery Manufacturers has recently expanded its premises to give extra capacity and there is lots in the pipeline. The work Swift Joinery Manufacturers does is varied – as well as working on large-scale new build and heritage projects, the team work very closely with architects over the UK on some very grand homes. More recently, Swift Joinery Manufacturers has been working on some interesting industrial units in Leeds, as part of an extensive refurbishment to create city centre flats.

“It’s important that as part of the service to customers we have the back up and support from our certification provider,” adds Louisa. “And we are already pleased with our switch to Bluesky Certification.”

Fire door training from Bluesky Certification at Cambridge Fire Research

With all the publicity surrounding fire doors, Bluesky Certification is offering a one-day training course about fire doors at Cambridge Fire Research on Tuesday 13 March 2018. “The aim of the day is to give delegates an insight into what is important when specifying, manufacturing or installing fire doors, including what can go wrong,” explains Simon Beer, Managing Director at Bluesky Certification.

The day will focus on a fire test demonstration, which will show what is involved in testing, as well as demonstrating the impact of typical issues that are commonly found on site. In addition to the live demonstration there will be sessions on regulations and how they relate to fire doors. Simon adds: “We will also consider how a fire door is made up and the role of its components. After we have covered manufacturing issues, we will then look at installation, handover documentation and maintenance.

“Since Grenfell Tower, and before that Lakanal House, fire doors are under increased scrutiny. Subtle changes to the

specification of a doorset can have a substantial effect on its fire resistance, and it is important that those involved in fire doors understand how the various components work together. “We are aware that a large number of fire doorsets are currently being replaced following the Grenfell Tower fire, but if these new doorsets are not manufactured, installed and maintained correctly, their replacement will not improve safety. This informative day is designed to cover the relevant topics pertinent to the manufacture, installation and maintenance of fire doors.” Dr Eric Southern, Managing Director at Cambridge Fire Research, adds that the training day will make people more aware of how fire doors perform: “Cambridge Fire Research is hosting Bluesky’s fire door training day because we want to make people more aware of the ways in which fire doors work in a fire. The day will look at why doors fail, how to make sure fire doors provide the right protection and to educate people on the role of different types of intumescent. It’s all about improving people’s knowledge of how fire doors behave.”

The training will be held at Cambridge Fire Research’s site in Pampisford, and places are available for the course on Tuesday 13 March 2018. It’s open to anyone with an interest in the manufacture, installation, maintenance or specification of fire doors. For more information please contact Bluesky Certification on 01753 303828 or

R and M Windows joins the Bluesky Certified Installer scheme

Bracknell based R and M Windows and Conservatories Ltd has joined the Bluesky Certified Installer scheme for both windows and doors, and conservatories. The family-orientated business has been installing windows, doors and conservatories for more than 30 years.

The scheme, run by Bluesky Certification, is the latest addition for installers looking to differentiate themselves from competitors. Managing Director at Blue Sky Certification Simon Beer has years of experience delivering schemes for installation companies. Simon says: “I wanted to create something that gave companies a real advantage by signing up to the scheme. We keep ahead of the market and that means we keep scheme members ahead too.”

Mark Page, Director at R and M Windows, says: “I’ve known Simon Beer for many years and I trust him so it was very easy to choose the Bluesky Certified Installer Scheme. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, and the new scheme gives us exactly what we need to give customers confidence that they’re dealing with a reputable company. We are members of the installer scheme for external windows and doors scheme as well as the scheme for conservatory installation.”

Westport Achieves Certification

Westport has achieved certification with Bluesky for the manufacture of timber windows and doorsets to BS644 and PAS 24 to meet the requirements for Secured by Design. Sean Parnaby, Westport’s Managing Director said “Today’s market is complex and constantly changing. It is important that our certification body can work with us so that we can adapt quickly to changing requirements and legislation. We felt that Bluesky Certification meets our needs for today’s market, and their expertise has already proven invaluable.”

Simon Beer, Bluesky Certification’s Managing Director commented “We are pleased that Westport have decided to join the Bluesky Certification scheme. Working with a manufacturer such as this demonstrates our credentials as a major player in the certification industry. We have also enjoyed demonstrating to Westport that credible certification can be provided together with a high level of customer service.”

Bluesky Certification adds Fire Door and Panic Exit Door Notified Body status


Bluesky Certification, the fire, security and acoustics certification experts, adds Notified Body status for product certification for panic exit doorsets and fire resistant doorsets. The latest addition means Bluesky can offer CE Marking certification for products that need the involvement of a Notified Body.

“The number of bodies certifying these products is very limited in the UK and we could see that there was a requirement to give companies an alternative,” says Bluesky Certification’s Managing Director Simon Beer. “There are many occasions when it’s a better option to use a Notified Body. For example, a company looking to achieve Secured By Design for windows and doors is likely to need the additional service if they’re manufacturing entrance doorsets in a block of flats that have a requirement for both PAS 24 and fire resistance.

“Customers will get the benefits of this new certification immediately and while CE Marking isn’t a legal requirement for fire doors at the moment, third party certification is recommended in the Building Regulations. CE Marking for fire doors offers an excellent standard for companies and when it comes into UK law, companies will be ahead of their competitors.

“Rather than just a box-ticking exercise, we like to think about certification in a rounded way, that’s why we look at how businesses can gain commercial advantage from it.

“Acceptance from the European Commission is the last stage in a lengthy process to become a Notified Body and it’s a brilliant achievement for Bluesky Certification.”

Bluesky Survey and Installation Scheme Accepted by Secured by Design

Secured by Design have recently reviewed and accepted our Survey and Installation scheme for windows and doors as meeting their requirements. Installers can therefore now achieve full Secured by Design membership in their own right by joining the Bluesky Installer scheme when they supply Secured by Design accredited products.

You can find out more about the scheme by visiting us at the FIT show – stand K52.

Important Fire Safety Considerations for Window and Doorset Installers

Over recent years, the awareness of various important safety aspects of window and door installations has increased. It is now unlikely that an installer would be unaware of the requirement to fit safety glass in low level glazing, however, there are some important fire safety aspects that can easily be overlooked when replacing doors and windows, both for commercial and domestic situations. When speaking to installers, I often find that knowledge in this area could be improved.

Examples of some key areas that need to be considered are as follows:

Fire spread in cavity walls:

Removal of a timber window or door and replacement with a PVCU product may inadvertently increase the building’s fire risk. Installers are usually aware that a timber window can provide structural support, but what is often not appreciated is that it can also act as a barrier to prevent fire from entering the cavity wall. If fire enters a cavity wall, it can spread to other parts of the property, or in the case of terraced houses, other neighbouring properties. In order to prevent fire spread, the Building Regulations requires fire resistant cavity barriers to be fitted to all openings in the cavity. Various materials including steel or timber may be placed over the cavity to provide this function, but PVCU (with the exception of specifically tested products) is not one of those materials. A timber window or door that closes the cavity should therefore not be replaced with a PVCU product unless an insulating fire resistant cavity closer is fitted to close the cavity.

Installation of fire resistant doorsets:

To achieve fire resistance performance, the doorset is tested in a furnace at flashover fire temperatures (roughly 950 degrees Celsius) and must contain the fire for the duration of the declared performance (e.g. 30 minutes for an FD30 doorset). This is a particularly onerous test and it is impressive to see a product that passes. Once the test is complete, the specification of the product that was tested must be replicated in the manufactured doorset, with any variations being covered by an assessment report.

In order to retain its fire resistant performance, a fire resistant doorset will need to need to be installed differently to that of a normal door. For example, the void between the frame and surrounding brickwork will need to be backfilled with a non-combustible material that is capable of the required fire resistance in the configuration in which it is being used (e.g. mineral fibre and / orintumescent mastic) and the door gaps of less than 4mm will usually be required. The doorset manufacturer should provide instructions for fitting, or if they are not available, BS8214 or other relevant industry accepted standards should be used to ensure that the fire resistant performance is retained.

Having worked for a fire test laboratory, I am well aware that common installation defects can reduce the performance of a 30 or 60 minute doorset to as little as 7 or 8 minutes, effectively turning the fire doorset into a standard doorset and removing the fire protection. I would therefore advise that installers of fire resistant products are specifically trained for this, or preferably 3rd party certified.

Specification of fire resistant doorsets that also need PAS 24 security performance:

Where an external doorset requires both fire resistance and security performance, it is important that the specification of the doorset supplied meets both criteria. The test standards for fire and security are different, and it can be difficult for a manufacturer to achieve both on the same doorset. If the specification of a fire resistant doorset is modified to achieve the security performance, it is likely that the resulting product may not pass either test. Therefore, when purchasing such a product, the manufacturer’s scope of certification should be checked to confirm that the product supplied meets both criteria. If you are supplying to a Secured by Design site and haven’t confirmed this, as well as having a product that may not perform as inspected, the product is likely to be rejected.

Buildings in close proximity and windows / doors near fire escapes:

Finally, when a window or doorset is being replaced on the face of a building that is in close proximity to another building or near to an external fire escape staircase, the Building Regulations should be checked as it may be that a fire resistant doorset or window should be fitted. Fire resistant doorsets or windows should be proven through test evidence for the whole doorset / window from a UKAS accredited laboratory, and windows should also be non-opening.

Company overview for Calibso:

Calibso provides a wide range of support services to the fenestration and fire resistant industries, including project management, assistance with development of new services, inspection and auditing services. For more details visit or contact us via or 01753 303828.

This article was originally published in windows active in August 2016

Lakanal House

Many installers would look at an apartment block requiring replacement windows as a dream contract. However, that dream could quickly become a nightmare, if the Building Regulations specific to these types of buildings are not properly considered and understood. An inadvertent mistake could cause multiple deaths and / or injuries, with you being held accountable.

I recently attended a site where windows were being replaced in a block of flats due to fire damage. The external windows in two flats were being replaced, the first being where the fire had actually started, the second was the window in the flat above, with the window having been damaged by the fire below. Replacement glazed screen systems were being fitted, which included fixed panes, opening casements and a door (leading onto the balcony). The bottom part of both screens had PVCU panels. The installation rang alarm bells, as it reminded me of the Lakanal House fire that occurred in July 2009. The fire ravaged a 1950’s tower block and is widely regarded as the UK’s worst tower block fire. Six lives were lost, including those of three very young children.

During the inquest into the Lakanal House fire considerable attention was given to alterations that had been made to the building since it was built, including the replacement of the window system roughly 3 years prior to the fire. The replacement glazing systems that had been fitted to the external walls of the flats formed windows, doors and wall panels. The fire had spread both up and down the outside of the building and was found to have been exacerbated by the incorrect specification of the replacement wall panels, where combustible panels had been installed in place of the non-combustible ones.

The regulations for buildings such as this are completely different to that of normal domestic dwellings. The guidance that should be followed for a block of flats is that given in Approved Document B volume 2 (non- dwelling houses), whereas Volume 1 applies to dwelling houses. Approved Document B volume 2 is extremely complex and difficult to understand, even for the experts and is currently being reviewed with a view to making the guidance clearer. These regulations require a number of fire performance requirements, including the installation of fire resistant windows near to escape routes (which should be non-opening, with a proven performance for the whole window), fire resistant doorsets on escape routes, and reaction to fire performance for windows or doors on the external face of the building to prevent the spread of fire. If you are not fully conversant with these complex Building Regulations, there is a high possibility that you could inadvertently remove an important safety aspect of the building, with severe consequences.

It should also be noted that the installation of any fire resistant window or doorset will also require a different method of fitting in order to retain its fire resistance performance. If you install such a product in the same way as for a normal external window or doorset, you are likely to reduce the fire resistance to a matter of minutes.

Competent person scheme membership usually only covers dwelling houses, with separate approval being required to install into buildings other than dwelling houses. However, because competent persons schemes require registration of installations by the installer through a computer system, it is likely that non-dwelling house could be incorrectly registered through these schemes. If you register such a building without this approval, your certification won’t cover it, which effectively will mean that the installation is illegal. If you are considering undertaking work on non-dwelling houses, you need to ensure that both your surveyors and installers are appropriately trained. I would also suggest that installations such as these should be registered with Local Authority Building Control, rather than a competent person scheme. It may cost slightly more, but you would have peace of mind that each installation will have been inspected by a person with appropriate knowledge of the regulations.

Originally published in Windows Active June 2016

Tradesmith Achieves Certification with Bluesky

Tradesmith has achieved certification with Bluesky for the manufacture of windows and doorsets to BS7412 and PAS 24, to meet Secured by Design requirements.

Mark Hutchinson, Managing Director of Tradesmith said “Bluesky Certification clearly care about providing a quality service to its customers. This is demonstrated throughout the process of achieving certification, from the way the initial enquiry is taken through to the presentation of the certificate. The audit process is thorough, with a focus on the aspects of production that really matter. I was particularly impressed with the appearance of our certificate and logos, which have been professionally designed to reflect the achievement of meeting the certification requirements. I’m proud to be associated with Bluesky Certification as we both share the same ethos of high quality, professional service and understanding of our customer’s needs and expectations”.

Mark went on to say, “I believe the best way to build a good relationship between customers and suppliers is to make the whole process of working together, simple and straightforward which is exactly what I found working with Bluesky”.

Simon Beer, Managing Director of Bluesky Certification says: “As a newly accredited body, we are aware of the sense of achievement that obtaining recognition by a third party can bring. We believe that the quality of the certificate, logos and listing on the website should reflect this. When designing our certificates we wanted to produce something that reflected the high standard that we seek to achieve in every aspect of our business, as well as looking the part in the showroom of a professional manufacturer such as Tradesmith. Feedback from our customers has clearly shown that this is something that is highly appreciated.

To find out more about Tradesmith’s range, please contact Tradesmith on T: 01323 84912, E:, W:

Have you reviewed your certification provider this year?

The turn of a year is a good time to review your ongoing contracts, to verify that you are getting a good deal. In today’s market, 3rd party certification for doors, windows, glass and fire resistant products is increasingly becoming a requirement. If you already have certification, it is likely that your annual renewal is due to happen shortly, and therefore now is the time to review what you are getting. As with other products and services, it is important to not just review the headline price, but the overall service that you are receiving.

It is worth noting that the market for 3rd party certification has become very competitive over the past few years, particularly for schemes catering for Secured By Design requirements. Several new players have entered the market and the level of service offered by the different certification bodies can vary substantially. Allowing the renewal to go ahead unchecked may leave you with an unnecessarily high bill, and a service level that is far worse than you could have achieved elsewhere.

Bluesky Certification has been talking to manufacturers and installers over the past few months, to determine what they consider to be important features of a certification scheme, so that these can be included within the service provided. Some of the key points that come up regularly are as follows:

Customer service – it is important to be able to reach the right person for any queries regarding the certification.
Speed of response – if a change is needed to the certification scope, this needs to be dealt with promptly. This is particularly important if the change is needed to comply with a tender – a slow response could cost far more than the certification fees.
Pragmatic approach – providing credible certification doesn’t necessarily prevent the certification body from being realistic about the demands placed on its customers. The balance between achieving credibility and understanding the commercial realities that customers face is tricky, and some bodies manage this better than others.
Auditing approach – when your certification body comes to audit, does it feel like they are working with you to achieve compliance, or does it seem like a battle to find something that they can say is wrong? A good certification scheme will focus on the issues that make a difference, which will add value to your operation.
Communication of updates regarding changes to standards and regulations, for example, manufacturers of doors and windows needing to transition from PAS 24:2012 to PAS 24:2016. The certification body will need to keep itself up to date, but how (or whether) they communicate this information to their customers is important.
Value for money – certification is rarely cheap. However, if you feel that you have achieved value from the process, the expense won’t be a grudge purchase.
If you are considering purchasing certification, or are already involved in a scheme, you should determine what you require from the scheme. If your existing certification body doesn’t meet that requirement, shop around, as it may be that another body will.

If you do decide that another certification body is likely to better serve your requirement, the transfer process may not be as difficult as you think. Most UKAS accredited bodies will transfer your certification from another UKAS accredited body as a desktop exercise, reviewing what has been done by the previous certification body. The transfer process is likely to be free, meaning that all you need to do is apply and then provide up to date paperwork to show that there are no issues with your certification.

It is worth looking at your certification to ensure that it is still suitable for your business and the perfect time to do it is before your annual renewal. There are real differences in terms of service, response speed and approach, so finding the most appropriate certification body will benefit you financially and allow you to achieve a better service.

Glazerite turns to Bluesky for Certification and More


The Glazerite UK Group Ltd has joined the newly-established Bluesky Certification scheme in partnership with the Network VEKA ACE initiative which provides many additional benefits.
The company is the largest PVC-U trade fabricator so far to sign up to Bluesky since the specialist certification body was launched last September. Glazerite Director Jason Thompson said “This is an organisation with a fresh, modern approach that is committed to giving us far more than just a certificate to put on the wall.

“Among many other advantages, working with this partnership allows us to cascade data from VEKA and Halo products without the need for type testing, which means any change of hardware is quick and easy.

“The cascading allows us to certificate a far wider range of hardware, providing us with enhanced flexibility on our product choice.

“There are many very real advantages with Bluesky Certification, all of which will be shared with our installer partners across the country, these namely being improved efficiencies and service, which can only benefit us all.”

The move also means that all three of the newly-expanded Group’s manufacturing sites will operate under the same scheme, which further streamlines the operation as a whole.

Simon Beer of Bluesky Certification said: “We are pleased that Glazerite have decided to work with Bluesky Certification as their certification body of choice. It is a great start to the business to have a major player such as Glazerite join as one of the founding members. Our aim is to provide the industry with credible certification and a high level of service at a competitive price and we have enjoyed demonstrating this approach when working with Glazerite.”

Before setting up Bluesky, Simon has over 16 years’ experience in developing and running certification schemes, having worked for BM TRADA Certification. During his time at BM TRADA, Simon developed and operated the majority of the BM TRADA Q-Mark door, window and glass schemes, as well as implementing services such as IGU testing and training.

The Glazerite UK Group Ltd is VEKA’s largest trade fabricator in the UK and a long-standing Network VEKA member. It offers a fully nationwide service based on manufacturing units in Northants, Peterborough and Greater Manchester as well as its South West distribution hub in Bristol serving South Wales and The West of England.

Prepared on behalf of the The Glazerite UK Group Ltd by VAST PR. For further information, contact Beth Maliszewska; 0845 0945 775; or visit Feb 2017.

Everglade Windows Achieves Certification

Everglade Windows has achieved certification with Bluesky for the manufacture of windows and doorsets to PAS 24. Managing Director Yogesh Gopal said “We were looking to start working with a new partner for our certification that was flexible and understood our business. We had worked with Simon Beer previously and therefore knew what we might expect from Bluesky. The approach of Bluesky is very refreshing and we look forward to working closely together.”

Sailesh Chudasama, HSEQ Manager also commented “As part of the free transfer process the Bluesky team worked through our test documentation to ensure that we had appropriate evidence for our scope of certification. They then worked with the system suppliers on our behalf to resolve any discrepancies. The work that went into this process gives us real confidence in the certification.”

Bluesky Certification recognised by Secured By Design

Bluesky Certification has achieved recognition by Secured By Design for its certification for its Enhanced Security Door and Window schemes to PAS 24. This follows Bluesky Certification achieving accreditation for product certification to ISO/IEC 17065:2012 with the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
“Our aim is to provide a one stop shop for companies manufacturing or installing doors, windows, glass and fire resistant products. Acceptance by Secured By Design is crucial for a certification body operating in the door and window industry and therefore achieving this recognition was key.”

Could your windows reduce the harm done by traffic?

The link between living near busy roads and the effect on health has now made the national news following the study released by The Lancet, with analysis of a major study suggesting that 7-11% of dementia cases within 50m of a major road could be caused by traffic. More research is needed to understand the link, but the suggestion is that noise and air pollution may be involved.

Lots of research is available linking traffic noise to cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and dementia, with people living near airports having an increased risk. Sleep deprivation over a prolonged period can also cause problems, even when the person is not consciously aware of it. The noise level that causes sleep disturbance is relatively low (around 40 dB), which is below the noise that would be generated by a road. The studies that have been carried out clearly show that continued exposure to excessive noise levels is not good for long term health.

Those living near busy roads are likely to be increasingly concerned about the associated health risks. The window and door industry might not be able to do much about the air pollution, but could provide a solution to deal with the traffic noise, by offering an acoustic specification.

The amount of noise that passes through a window or door will normally be a substantial contributor to the noise that enters the building. This is because the main fabric of a building for typical constructions will usually achieve around 50 to 60 dB Rw, whereas most windows and doors sold into the UK market achieve around 25dB Rw. When fitting windows or doorsets, for both new build or replacement, this gives the opportunity to substantially decrease the external noise levels by choosing a window or door that has been designed to reduce noise.

Fabricators and installers who work around airports and in major cities will already be familiar with the value of installing acoustic glass, but the potential for such installations is likely to be far greater going forward.

Manufacturers who are considering offering an acoustic window or doorset should have the performance of their complete product tested. The specification of glass fitted to the product will have a huge effect on its acoustic performance, but this is only part of the equation, with the profiles, seals, ventilators, other components and the method of manufacture all playing vital a part in the overall performance. Once the acoustic performance of your product has been proven, you won’t have to look too hard to find houses on a busy road, under a flight path, near a train line, or in another location that is affected by noise. Offering your acoustic products in these areas could persuade someone to buy, and may well have a positive impact on their long-term health.

Could noise reducing windows improve your customers’ health?

I have recently been reading various studies that have been carried out to investigate the effect of noise on health. These studies show a clear link between exposure to excessive noise levels and long term health issues. Governments recognise the impact of this and are increasingly developing policies to reduce noise levels at their source. It is estimated that 54% of the UK population is exposed to daytime noise pollution greater than recommended levels, which given the potential health impacts, is concerning.

Our hearing is complex and quite amazing. We have the ability to filter out background noise, yet subconsciously our brain’s fight-or-flight mechanism is prepared in response to noise that might be considered a threat, to prepare us for action. This can happen while we sleep without us actually being aware of it.

However, our 24 hour society threatens this delicately balanced mechanism, particularly at night. If our fight or flight mechanism is repeatedly triggered in vain, it is not good for us. Laboratory studies have shown that the body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline in response to acute noise. This happens in response to high sound levels in the day, but relatively low levels when sleep or relaxation is disturbed.

Sleep allows our bodies to restore themselves and is very important to maintain good health. The amount of sleep we get matters, but the quality of sleep is also important. Repeated interruptions slow the body’s restoration process, whether or not we are woken. It is suggested that excessive noise levels at night are likely to have a far greater impact on long term health than noise that occurs during the day and the noise level at which sleep is disturbed is relatively low. The World Health Organisation suggests a maximum level of 55dBA, but recommends less than 40 dBA as a long term goal.

Lots of research is available linking traffic noise to health issues such as cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke and dementia, with people living near airports having an increased risk. Other reports identified increased hospital admissions for respiratory diseases and pneumonia in young children exposed to road traffic noise as well as hyperactivity and inattention for children who are exposed to higher noise levels, particularly if this happens at night. Studies suggest that the risk of heart disease is increased if affected by road noise between 50 and 60 dBA, with an increased risk of stroke for the elderly.

Experiments have been carried out to determine the effects of aircraft noise at night on healthy people of various ages. The experiments showed that people who were subjected to aircraft noise whilst sleeping had a stiffening of their artery walls, with those exposed to more severe noise having less flexible blood vessels. Tests also found a significant increase in adrenaline for those participating in the experiments. All ages were affected, including young, healthy adults. The researchers concluded that reducing aircraft noise at night would help prevent heart and circulatory problems for those living near airports.

So what relevance does this have for those manufacturing or installing windows and doors?

Before planning permission is given, housing developments that are proposed to be constructed in noisy areas need to demonstrate that the noise levels within the finished buildings will be acceptable. When acoustic consultants are involved in the design of these buildings, a key area that they focus on is the specification of the windows and doors. Most wall constructions achieve between 50 and 60 dB Rw, whilst a standard double glazed window or door will achieve roughly 20 to 25 dB Rw. That means that the window or door is the weak point in the construction.

It therefore follows that whether you are installing in a new development, or replacing existing windows, fitting noise reducing products will make a substantial difference to the noise levels inside the building. I have seen (or rather heard) the difference that replacing standard windows with an enhanced acoustic specification makes – it resulted in a noticeable reduction in the noise levels inside the building. There are other areas that need to be addressed, but in comparison to dealing with the windows and doors, these are pretty minor.

The ability of windows and doors to keep burglars and the prevent the loss of heat has already been well promoted and used to sell products. I believe the industry now has the opportunity to design and then sell products that reduce noise. By doing this, we will not only make people more comfortable, but improve their health and maybe even save lives.

Bluesky Certification Launched

Simon Beer has launched Bluesky Certification, specialising in the certification of doors, windows, glass and fire resistant products.
“Our conversations with customers have identified a need for credible certification, which is coupled with a higher level of customer support to that which is normally offered” said Simon.

Simon is already well known in the industry and has over 16 years’ experience in developing and running certification schemes, having worked for BM TRADA Certification as Product Certification Manager. During his time at BM TRADA, Simon developed and operated the majority of the BM TRADA Q-Mark door, window and glass schemes, as well as implementing services such as IGU testing and training.

“I have established a successful certification offering before, having taken the BM TRADA Q-Mark from a fledgling service, then achieving recognition and acceptance in the market. I am looking forward to progressing my own company, with the benefit of the knowledge, experience, contacts and reputation that I now have.” commented Simon.

One of the key selling points of Bluesky Certification is the ability to work with customers to enable them to use their certification to progress their business. Simon is used to working closely with customers, and as such has a very good working knowledge of how the industry works, as well as having a high level of technical and regulatory knowledge.

This article is also published at Fenestration news.

Bluesky Certification Achieves UKAS Accreditation

Bluesky Certification is now a UKAS accredited certification body, No. 9413.
UKAS accreditation is a requirement for acceptance by bodies such as Secured By Design and the NHBC, as it demonstrates the impartiality, independence and credibility of the certification.

Bluesky Certification offers schemes to cater for manufacturers, installers and maintainers of doors, windows, glass, and fire resistant products. Please visit contact us

Sound advice for acoustic windows

Simon Beer of Calibso considers the benefits of acoustic windows and doors, sharing his experience of them being installed.

A typical urban housing estate will be subject to a wide variety of external sound sources, including planes, cars, lawnmowers, motorbikes and scooters and barking dogs – the list is seemingly endless. Whether sound is a nuisance really depends on the person who is hearing it, and when they hear it. For example, the person who constantly whistles their way around the garden might think that they are making a tuneful noise, but the neighbour who is trying to work inside might have other ideas. Or what about the noise from the lawnmower, circular saw, or party at a time when you were hoping to sleep? Modern housing policy requires people to live closer together. If you want to have easy access to travel, you will need to be situated close to transportation networks, which means that you will have flight paths, train lines and roads nearby. Couple that with the drive to use brownfield sites where possible, and the density of people occupying a space is dramatically increased.

Sleep disturbance
Then you have the 24-hour society. People come and go at all times of the night, with many shops and clubs staying open through the night to cater for them. It isn’t unusual for someone to leave their house at 3 or 4 in the morning. If this happens in the winter they will probably leave their car running for several minutes while scraping frost off the windows, causing sleep disturbance for others. Even the countryside is not immune to noise disturbance. Towards the end of the summer, you are likely to be kept awake by farmers using machinery through the night, so that they can reap the harvest in time. Roughly ½ million complaints are made to the council about noise every year, with less than 1% resulting in action being taken. That means that more than 99% of people who are sufficiently bothered by noise to complain about it have to carry on living with it, possibly with an acrimonious relationship with their neighbours as a result of the complaint. Complaints to the council are recorded, so when you come to sell your property, you will need to declare that you have had a dispute with your neighbours, which could cause problems with the sale of your house.

Excessive exposure
The potential impacts of excessive exposure to noise are well documented. It can cause a number of medical problems including depression, stress, high blood pressure, sleep deprivation, birth defects, low birth weight, stomach ulcers and changes to the immune system. Hearing gradually degrades as a result of old age, but this degradation is accelerated when you are constantly exposed to a noisy environment. Noise levels that can cause sleep disturbance are relatively low (around 40 dB) and sleep deprivation over a prolonged period can also cause problems. For example, sleep-deprived people tested by using driving simulators or hand- eye coordination tasks have been found to perform as badly as or even worse than those who are intoxicated. Prolonged sleep deprivation is also said to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Taking action
So what can action can someone take if they are regularly disturbed by external noise in their home? Moving house is a drastic step, which will cost a substantial amount of money and won’t even guarantee quiet. I have a friend who lives in a house at the end of a seemingly quiet country lane, surrounded by fields, but has to listen to his neighbour’s dogs continually barking through most of the day and night. You can’t change the location of your house, or in most instances what is happening around it, but it is possible to reduce the amount of noise coming into the building from the outside. Living under a flight path close to Heathrow, I am well aware of the impact that external noise can have, particularly on sleep. My road is used as a rat run during the rush hour, and occasionally as an illegal race track in the middle of the night. I like where I live, but on occasion, it would be nice to block out the external noise. Having been heavily involved in developing services relating to acoustic windows, I have often wondered what the impact of installing acoustic windows would be. So when one of my neighbours was recently choosing replacement windows, I suggested that he consider an acoustic window, and gave him details of a product that has been proven to achieve a weighted sound reduction of just over 40dB. The additional cost was not significant, so he took my advice and ordered the acoustic specification.

A little concerned
Before the installation took place, I have to admit that I was a little concerned. I had persuaded my neighbour to spend more than he would have based on what I had seen in a test lab, without having any practical experience of what the affect would be. Fortunately, my neighbour was extremely pleased with the result, and was keen for me to see, or rather hear the difference. Inside his front room, you can see the cars going past and planes going over the house, but they are now almost completely unheard. Sounds from inside the house are now prominent. The Sky box periodically makes a virtually imperceptible tick and you become aware that the compressor on the fridge is occasionally starting up in the other room. There is no doubt that the acoustic windows have dramatically reduced the noise levels in his home, so much so that another neighbour has now upgraded his windows and followed suit with the same specification. I would suggest that any manufacturer considering offering an acoustic window or doorset should have the performance of their complete product tested. The specification of glass fitted to the product will have a huge effect on its acoustic performance. However, my experience is that the glass is only part of the equation, with the profiles, seals, ventilators and other components all playing vital a part in the overall performance. How they are fitted is also important. Elimination of any air gaps and proper compression of the seals is crucial. I have seen different windows or doorsets fitted with a similar specification of glass having a variation in performance of up to 10 dB. In some tests, the performance of complete window or doorset can actually be better than that of the glass itself.

Completely eliminated
Companies who are considering offering acoustic products have often expressed concern about what the householder might say if noise from outside the building is not completely eliminated. In the same way that the glass is only part of the story with relation to the performance of the complete door or window, there are other areas in the building that will allow the passage of sound. You therefore need to include caveats at the time of the sale, stating that sound will be transmitted through other parts of the building. Examples include airbricks, loft insulation and gaps around pipework, all of which can be dealt with. A common issue with houses from the 1970s is that the walls often include a system whereby tiles are fixed over the top of a timber stud, often with no insulation in between. Details like this will not only affect acoustic performance though, the heat loss through that area will also be significant. If you are concerned about the householder complaining that the noise is still there, you should probably mention these areas as a potential source of heat loss when selling energy efficient products.

Very attractive
Some people may not consider replacing their windows just to cut out the noise, but if they are replacing windows or doorsets already, the additional cost of a product that performs better in reducing the amount of noise that comes into the building may be very attractive. It would be considerably cheaper to improve the specification at the time of ordering, than to retrospectively upgrade the windows at a later stage. You could therefore upsell your noise reducing product, to earn extra income at the time of the sale. Alternatively, you don’t have to look too hard to find houses on a busy road, under a flight path, near a train line, or in another location that is affected by noise – maybe the noise reducing capability of your products could be the argument that persuades someone to buy? Everyone is now selling energy efficient windows and doors, and even the minimum specification required for building regulations compliance is pretty high. If you are looking for the next unique selling point, maybe you should consider acoustic performance?

This article is also published at windows active.

Document Q: the risks of non-compliance

Simon Beer, Managing Director of Calibso discusses the perils of not complying with the new Building Regulations for security in dwellings.
The introduction of a regulation is not new for the glazing industry. When a new requirement is introduced, some will comply fully immediately, some will partially comply and others will ignore it until they are forced to take notice. Approved Document Q (Security – Dwellings) came into effect on 1 October 2015 and like previous new Building Regulations, it is being phased in. Simon Beer, Managing Director of Calibso discusses the possible consequences of non-compliance for developers, manufacturers and installers if they either ignore the regulation, or inadvertently fail to comply. Simon believes there are 3 main scenarios associated with non-compliance, all of which could potentially cost huge sums of money and cause reputational damage.

Non-compliance scenarios

As enforcement officers get up to speed with the regulation, they are increasingly likely to request evidence of compliance for the windows and doors that are fitted to a dwelling. If non-compliant windows or doors have been fitted, the enforcement officer is unlikely to be willing to sign them off without proper evidence.

Scenario 1: – Retrospective test evidence achieved with a pass result: For most products, test evidence will be required to demonstrate compliance with ADQ, so the best case when requiring retrospective test evidence is a delay while the manufacturer proves that the product actually works. If all goes well, the manufacturer will book a test slot, test their product and achieve a pass result. However, even with a first time pass, you would expect lead times of up to 8 weeks to produce the test product (which need to be to the exact specification to that fitted), another 6 weeks for the test slot to be available, followed by a lead time for the report to be written (often at least another 6 weeks from the test date). The result of non-compliance in Scenario 1 is therefore the cost of the test, plus the impact of a 20 weeks’ (or more) delay on handover of the building.

Scenario 2: – Retrospective test evidence attempted with a fail result: Test laboratories would agree that windows and doors often don’t pass first time. If the product is retrospectively tested and doesn’t pass, you have to wait again for the lab to be free for a re-test. Several attempts may be required before a positive result has been achieved, and the enforcement body should then check that the tested specification is the same as that installed in the building. Because some redesign was required to pass the test, the specification will be different, so all of the installed windows and doors will need to be either re-worked or replaced. The result of non-compliance in Scenario 2 is therefore the cost of however many tests are required to achieve a pass, plus the impact of potentially several months’ delay on handover of the building, plus the cost of re-working or replacing all windows and doorsets in the building.

Scenario 3:– Non-compliance discovered after handover: It would be easy to think that once the building has been handed over that is the end of it. However, what would happen if the non-compliance with ADQ was uncovered by an opportunist burglar when they attempt to break in? If an insurance company finds themselves paying claims after a burglar discovers that they can enter the houses on a non-compliant estate, they could request proof of compliance for the windows or doors. Where the security performance has not been proven, there will have been a breach of the Building Regulations which could invalidate a claim. If there is suspicion over the evidence, it wouldn’t be difficult for the insurance company to remove a product from the site and test it, and they would then only need to work out who to go after to cover their losses.

ADQ explained on new site

Time will tell whether these scenarios prove to be realistic, however, it would be wise to avoid being the developer, manufacturer or installer that is involved in any test to see how this unfolds. Calibso believes that Approved Document Q has huge implications for the industry. The Approved Document is complicated and open to interpretation. It would be easy to think that you have complied when you haven’t which could prove very costly. Due to the number of requests for clarification received by Calibso, it has produced a website to give an impartial, easy-to-read interpretation of ADQ, to help developers, manufacturers, and installers to navigate their way through the regulation.

This article is also published in windows active.

Approved Document Q

A new regulation has come into force, changing the way doors and windows need to be certified.
Approved Document Q (AD Q) came into effect on 1 October 2015, meaning that dwellings built in England will now have to include a minimum level of security. This has huge implications on the specification of doors and windows for developers, manufacturers, and installers.

When does Approved Document Q apply?

It applies to all new buildings (even flats), unless the work started before 1st October 2015 or if it was started before 1st October 2016 and either a building notice or the plans were submitted before 1st October 2015.

What are the requirements of Approved Document Q?

It states that “Reasonable provision must be made to resist unauthorised access to any dwelling and any part of a building from which access can be gained to a flat within that building.” In short, if there is any way that someone can gain access to a dwelling via a door or window, that door or window must be reasonable in regard to these regulations.AD Q goes on to explain what reasonable means.

First, it gives a set of absolute standards for doorsets (appendix B). If a manufacturer meets these standards they have complied with Document Q. These are unlikely to be useful for the majority of cases because they apply only to doors of certain sizes shapes and materials.

Secondly, ADQ states that products are considered reasonable as long as a company can provide test evidence for every variation of their product meeting PAS 24:2012 or equivalent standard (STS 201, LPS 1175, STS 202 and LPS 2081 are listed in AD Q) via a UKAS accredited (or equally credible) laboratory. Again this will be prohibitively expensive since every size and variation sold will require its own test.

Finally, AD Q allows for 3rd party certification of products. In this case the certifying body tests key configurations of the product to give them confidence of the manufacturing process.This certification has the same credibility as using test evidence but also gives confidence in the factory production control and audit testing which form part of the certification. It makes sense that the certifying body should be UKAS accredited or similar since UKAS accredited test labs should be used. Due to the reduction of tests necessary, this process ought to be lower in cost and hence make more sense for the majority of manufacturers.

Does AD Q apply to existing buildings?

No, this regulation only applies to new dwellings, and doesn’t include replacement windows or doors, or windows or doors in extensions. However, it would make sense to fit AD Q compliant windows and doorsets in existing buildings for the following reasons:

Existing buildings are as much at risk from burglary as new dwellings
The additional cost of fitting an AD Q complaint window would be minimal if tackled at the point of installation,whereas an upgrade to a compliant specification at a later stage (for example after a burglary) would normally require replacement windows and doorsets to be fitted.
As new housing developments become more secure as a result of AD Q, burglars may divert their attention to other locations – increasing the risk for existing developments.
The option of an enhanced level of security on a product could be used to either gain a competitive advantage or provide an opportunity to upsell to an enhanced product.


Calibso launches new website – “Document Q explained”

Following a number of enquiries from the industry, Calibso has launched a new website to explain how to comply with Approved Document Q. The website is aimed at manufacturers, installers and developers, and is intended to give an independent view of the regulation. Simon Beer, Managing Director of Calibso said “Approved Document Q has huge implications for the industry. The Approved Document is complicated and open to interpretation. We believe that it would be easy to think that you have complied when you haven’t, which could prove very costly if it held up the handover of a site. This website is designed to give an impartial, easy to read interpretation of ADQ, to help developers, manufacturers, and installers to navigate their way through the regulation.

The new website can be accessed via the following address:

This article is also published at Fenestration News.

Simon Beer launches Calibso Limited

Simon Beer has has left BM TRADA to form Calibso Limited.
Simon developed and ran certification schemes relating to doors, windows and fire resistant products for 10 years, before handing over the day to day management of the department in order to focus solely on developing and taking new services to market for a further five years, with experience in launching a new product or service, including initial development, project management, industry consultation, production of contractual and sales documentation, development of website content, staff training, technical presentations, building regulations compliance and certification requirements.Simon Beer has has left BM Trada to form CALIBSO LIMITED.

Calibso also provides inspection and auditing services associated with doors, windows, glass and fire resistant building products and can deal with issues ranging from app development to HR issues, through other industry contacts.
One of the new company’s first initiatives was the launch of a website, Approved Document Q, aimed at helping developers, manufacturers, and installers to navigate their way through the regulation.

This article is also published in the Glazine.