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External Doors and Building Regulations: What you need to know

When doing house renovations, it’s all well and good making your exterior look pretty. 

But, does it follow Building Regulations? 

To get your plans approved, it’s vital all work carried out on your home adheres to the guidelines set out in the Building Regulations.

Building Regulations for external doors are a great place to start. If the design that you’re after doesn’t fall under the regulations, then you need to change your ideas. Minimum door height is specified in the Building Regulations. 

Does your door reach that requirement? Although this can be stressful, the benefits that you’ll receive from following these rules are enormous.

Building Regulations for UK doors help to reduce heat loss. The type of material that you use, the thickness of the material, and the type of glazed glass help reduce your energy bills.

Not only do Building Regulations improve carbon footprint, but they also help you save money in the long-run.

What Are Building Regulations?

Building Regulations are rules that apply to the construction and design of properties. Health and safety is the number one concern, and the main reason why Building Regulations were put in place.

Building Regulations often get confused with planning permission. They are pretty similar, however planning permission is usually on external constructions such as adding an extension to the back of your house. Or, installing windows where there haven’t been any before. Building Regulations are typically to help improve the surrounding, such as reducing heat loss, ensuring there is wheelchair access in new builds, and specifying requirements for a fire escape.

Building Regulations can be a pain for owners of older buildings. If your building is older than 2002, it may be that it doesn’t follow Building Regulations for the doors and windows. When it comes time to sell the property, you might have to fork out a hefty sum to have your external windows and doors replaced.

What are Building Regulations for Doors?

In short, Building Regulations for doors cover the thermal efficiency of the door - this includes heat loss, safety glazing, fire safety, ventilation, and access to the building. We’ll talk about this in more detail in the section below.

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Building Regulations and External Doors

Building Regulations for external doors help to reduce your energy consumption. Although this may mean that your budget is extended slightly, you’ll wreak the benefits of it over time. 

In 2002, Building Regulations were put in place for replacement windows and doors. This meant that any property owners wanting to replace their external door or windows from this date would need to ensure that the glass used complies with the new thermal performance standards. 

As mentioned earlier, if you are looking to sell your home, and are aware that the external windows and doors in your home haven’t been updated since before 2002, you may need to have these upgraded. A surveyor will examine the property and will ask for a certificate proving that the windows and doors have been approved under the Building Regulations. To save yourself time, get it sorted as soon as you’re able to. If you’re unable to provide a certificate, this may impact the sale of your home.

Building Regulations for External Doors

When it comes to Building Regulations and French doors, thermal heat loss and glazing are two of the main concerns. French doors are one of the main issues for properties not passing the Building Regulations. French doors have been around for years. They’re very common in older properties, meaning they’re more likely to not meet the regulatory standards.

Building Regulations for French doors state that thermal heat loss is measured in U-values. They test this by measuring the amount of heat that’s lost through the glass, the door, and the framework. If the measurement exceeds the maximum U-value rating, your door won’t be energy efficient and will need to be replaced. Although the Building Regulations for bifold doors are the same, bifold doors are a modern creation - they’ll rarely fall beneath the regulatory standard.

Building Regulations also state the size of doors that are required. Building Regulations advise that the height of external doors be 80-inches with a width of at least 36-inches. The glazed glass will need to be less than 400mm in width between the frames.

Building Regulations for External Fire Doors

External fire doors and windows have been talked about a lot this year. Many homeowners have been improving or installing their external fire safety doors and windows. The Building Regulations state that a fire door or window should have an unobstructable area. This area needs to be at least 0.33m2 and at least 450mm high and wide.

For access doors, to comply with Building Regulations, must have a step no greater than 15mm and have a clear opening of 775mm. There are other factors to consider too. The design and frame size are also listed in Building Regulations.

Do I Need a FENSA Certificate for External Doors?

What is FENSA? 

FENSA, or Fenestration Self Assessment Scheme, is a registered company and authoritative organisation. For Building Regulations, you need a certificate. FENSA is a Local Authority Building Control representative that can issue these certificates.

Do I need a FENSA certificate for a replacement door?

If your new external door is made up of 50% glass or more then you will need to obtain a FENSA certificate.

If your window or door leads into a porch, and an external door is used to separate the house and porch, you do not need a FENSA certificate.

What doors need a FENSA certificate?

All external doors need a FENSA certificate if they were installed after the 1st of April 2002. If your home is a new build, you will not need a FENSA certificate for your doors. Likewise, if you have an extension, external porch, or conservatory, you will not need a FENSA certificate for those doors either.

Building Regulations, Wheelchair Access & Door Width

Building Regulations state that all public buildings must have wheelchair access. If the access doesn’t fall within the Regulations, business and building owners can have legal action taken against them. In most cases, they are fined.

Building Regulations for disabled access states the door width should be 32-inches. A standard doorway is measured between 23 and 27-inches. Following the Building Regulations, a wheelchair user will be able to comfortably fit through any public doorway.

Whether you’re renovating a property or improving the exterior of a public building, Building Regulations must be followed. The rules outlined are for health and safety, but over time, they’ll save you money in energy bills. 

All our external doors and windows meet Building Regulations standards. What’s more, they’re aesthetically pleasing, too. Have a browse through our selection of external doors. Or, if you want to find out more about improving energy efficiency, take a read through our energy-efficient exterior doors article.

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If you have a question which isn't covered by one of our handy guides, why not drop us an email and we'll be happy to assist.

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