Approved Document 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 and this page is designed to help developers, manufacturers, and installers to understand the new regulation.
What is Approved Document Q
Approved Document Q (AD Q) is a new Building Regulation designed to prevent unauthorised access to dwellings (including flats). AD Q came into effect on 1 October 2015 and applies to new dwellings built in England.
Windows and doorsets fitted to new dwellings will now have to have proven security performance as a result of AD Q.
What is the requirement?
The absolute requirement of AD Q is stated in the box on page 2 of AD Q (shown below). The rest of the document gives guidance as to how this can be met.
In order to provide reasonable provision to resist unauthorised access, AD Q defines the specification of windows and doorsets that can be fitted into a new dwelling.
How to comply with Document Q
What is the suggested method of compliance?
Accessible doors and windows will need to be proven to have security performance so that they can resist physical attack by a casual or opportunist burglar. The manufacturer of the window or door will need to obtain this proof so that they can supply it to the developer. They have 3 different routes to achieve this:
Option 1: Compliance with Appendix B of AD Q
In theory it is possible for the manufacturer to design their product to EXACTLY meet the specification in AD Q, without undertaking any testing. However, the specification is very limited and if a product meets the Appendix B specification, in reality it is not going to be of much use in the UK market.
This option ONLY applies to doorsets, so windows cannot be proven in this way.
Checklist for compliance via Appendix B
Option 2: Compliance via Test Evidence
The manufacturer can provide test reports which EXACTLY match the specification of the product that they supply. Most manufacturers supply a range of products, so they would need test reports to cover all variations of specification manufactured (including sizes). The products would normally be tested to PAS 24:2012, but there are other standards that are deemed to be equivalent (STS 201, LPS 1175, STS 202 and LPS 2081 are listed in AD Q). AD Q suggests using a UKAS accredited laboratory, so if a non accredited laboratory is used, the manufacturer or the developer buying the product must be prepared to demonstrate the labs equivalent credibility if the test is later called into question. Having testing carried out to cover every variation of design and size would be a massive undertaking, so this option is unlikely to be economically feasible for the manufacturer.
Option 3: Compliance via Third party certification
The manufacturer can obtain 3rd party certification for the product, with a scope of approval to include the supplied product. The scope of certification has the same credibility as test evidence, whilst also providing increased confidence in the product, due to the factory production control and audit testing requirements which form part of the certification. As AD Q suggests UKAS accredited test laboratories are used, it follows that the certification body should also be accredited. The certification body will require testing to be carried out, but rather than testing every possible variation, key configurations of the product will normally be chosen, to give the certification body confidence in the complete range of products that is on the scope of certification. This will normally be a more cost efficient means of proving compliance. The 3rd party certification will usually be demonstrated by the manufacturer providing a certificate and scope, and additional verification can be made by visiting the certification body’s members page where details of the manufacturer can be found along with their current scopes of certification. If you are interested in obtaining Third party certification you can enquire here, or take a look at the schemes we offer.
Does AD Q apply to existing buildings?
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.
When Does AD Q apply?
Like other Building Regulations, AD Q will be phased in. The regulation applies to all new building starts, unless:
- The work started before 1st October 2015; or
- A building notice was submitted before 1st October 2015 and the actual work is started prior to 1st October 2016; or
- Full plans were submitted and the actual work is started prior to 1st October 2016.
This means that:
All new dwellings where either the plans or a building notice haven’t been submitted before 1st October 2015 will need to comply with the regulation
All new dwellings where the work starts after 1st October 2016 will need to comply, regardless of when the plans / building notice was submitted.
Security performance of glass
Having taken all security measures with the frames of your windows and doors it is important to consider the glass. There would be little point in having a secure window if a burglar could simply break through the glass and gain entry to the building.
Types of glass
Unprocessed glass or float glass will break easily resulting in large shards of glass. This therefore has no security value. Toughened glass is stronger, but can be broken relatively easily and quietly using a center punch, so this also has no security value. Laminated glass is more difficult to get through as the interlayers in the glass hold it together once broken. However, the security performance of different laminated glasses will vary, so it should be confirmed by testing. Click here for more information on safety glass.
Security testing for glass
The burglary resistance of glass is determined by testing to BS EN 356. This standard has a range of classifications from P1A to P8A and requires the glass to be tested by dropping a 4.11 kg 100mm steel ball onto the glass from heights ranging from 5m to 9m, with an axe attack for the higher classifications (P5A upwards).
Unless float glass is supplied, the manufacturer should etch the relevant standard onto the corner of the glass so that it can be visible when fitted to the window or door. These markings can then be used to identify the type of safety glass fitted. The standards that you should expect to see are as follows:
- Toughened or heat soaked toughened: BS EN 12150 or BS EN 14179
- Laminated: BS EN 14449
- Burglar resistant: BS EN 356 followed by the class (e.g. P1A)
What type of glass is required for compliance with Approved Document Q?
The glass requirement is not directly stated in AD Q. However, AD Q refers to PAS 24, which in turn refers to the SBD (Secured by Design) New Homes document. The SBD New Homes document requires any non-lockable accessible windows and all doors to be fitted with P1A glass.