Building Regulations and Planning Permissions

What building regulations do I need to consider for architectural glazing?

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What Building Regulations do I need to consider for architectural glazing?

When building a new house or residential design in the UK, you need to ensure it complies with all Building Regulations and rules of construction within the UK. This includes building regulations in architectural glazing to ensure a safe and energy efficient build.

Please note that England, Scotland and Wales all have slightly different versions of building regulations, so ensure you are looking at the correct information.

As always, it is the responsibility of the principal designer, architect or client to instruct an architectural glazier as to the specific performance requirements your glazing needs to achieve. These are determined in conjunction with various other elements of the build outside of the glazing package including site and location, such as building on National parks or in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Read on below for our helpful overview of some of the most important parts of Building Regulations in the UK and how they relate to architectural glazing.

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What Building Regulations must my glazing comply with?

Any building in the UK must comply with all areas of Building Regulations. Some of the most pertinent to architectural glazing are:

In addition to the regulations, BS and EN regulations apply to structural glazing elements such as load bearing glass.

architectural glazing into timber home

Does toughened glass comply with Building Regs?

Tempered glass or toughened glass can be used as safety glass dependent upon its application and whether it can pass as safety glass. To be called Safety Glass, glass elevations must pass stringent tests to determine that an impact or collision will not cause the glass to break into uneven dangerous shards.

Read our technical article about toughened glass in architectural glazing.

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Building Regulations Approved Document Part K for glazing

Approved Document K of the Building Regulations outlines the requirements for protection within buildings from falling, collision, and impact. Requirement K4 within the Approved Document covers protection against impact with glazing and all glazing must comply with this. It is this area of building regulations that stipulates where ‘safety glass’ such as toughened glass must be used within a build.

Read the full technical overview of Approved Document K for Glazing.

thermal performance of replacement glazing

Which thermal performance values must my glazing project have?

Building Regulations Approved Document L dictates the thermal performance requirements for all glazing on a building project. The requirements for thermal insulation for glazing differ depending on the type of project and are dependent on wide elements of the build.

You can read our technical overviews of Approved Document L in the links below to find out more about how to determine your glazing thermal performance requirements.

If your building is a new build dwelling, read our technical article about the thermal performance requirements for windows to new build homes.

If your building is a renovation to an existing dwelling, read out technical article about how to determine what insulation your windows need here.

If you are designing a non-residential building, please refer to our sister website IQ Projects for an overview of Approved Document L as it applies to non-dwellings.

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Recent updates to Building Regulations for glazing

Part L was most recently updated in 2022 with increased the requirements for energy consumption and insulation of homes with higher performance values required from the glazing for C02 emission, thermal efficiency, heating and waste management.

Read the latest changes here

What security performances do I require on my glazing project?

The level of security required from architectural glazing is dependent on the build, location and other factors. i.e., Enhanced security is required predominantly on ground floors where the potential for uninvited access is greater and easier to access.

Building Regulations Part Q for glazing lays out the security performance required for windows and doors that are easily accessible.

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What do I need to know about fire ratings in glazing?

Building Regulations: Approved Document B, Volume 1 for Glazing lays out the rules for fire safety within dwellings. IQ’s fire rated glazing can reach up to E120. Where fire rated glazing is required will be determined by Building Control or the principal designer and depends on multiple elements of the build.

thermally efficient glazing for new build coastal home

Why did the government scrap The Code for Sustainable Homes?

In 2014, the government announced plans to consolidate housing regulations and standards, including the scrapping of the Code for Sustainable Homes, with its same performance standards being integrated into the Building Regulations as many had complained it was difficult to read.

Despite The Code for Sustainable homes in the UK is no longer mandatory, some architects often use elements of this environmental assessment as a foundation to resolve both design and construction challenges.

IQ Glass Balustrade Regs silver house

When would I need to install glass balustrades to comply with Building Regulations?

Balustrades in residential builds are required when the difference in floor level is greater than 600mm. The height of a glass balustrade and the strength required of that balustrade will differ depending on the location of the balustrade and the use of the space. Read the full technical article below for an overview of all elements of building regulations and how they relate to glass balustrades.

Regulations and Building Practice for Glass Balustrades

structural glass roof in a barn extension (1)

SAP Calculations and Glazing

All residential new builds and extensions (where the building is open to the extension) in the UK are required to have a SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) Calculation if the glazing guidelines for Building Regulations are exceeded.


Security Ratings

There are various standards and testing methods that are used in order to categorise the security protection that different glass specifications and products can provide. EN 356 tests and classifies glass in a building situation by its resistance to manual attack such as forced entry (burglary). The test specimen (the glass panel) is secured in a licenced testing facility such as the Rosenheim Institute in Germany. Learn more...


Slip Resistant Options for Walk on Glass

Glass is a slippery material, especially when wet. Therefore, when you are using a glass unit as a walk on surface and additional finish should be applied to the glass in order to achieve a slip resistance.

If you are working on a project with a requirement for walk on glass, you may find our article detailing the options for walk on glass.

ravendson-street-side infill extension

Will I need Planning Permission?

Some extensions and renovations can be made to houses without planning permission in what is referred to as Permitted Development. For an extension to be classed as 'Permitted Development' there are a few stipulations to consider.

If you are completing work to a barn conversion they may be able to be conducted under Class Q in Permitted Developments.


What Additional Safety Considerations do I need to make for glass roofs?

Glass roofs form part of the fabric of a building and must perform as an intrinsic part of the overall structure. With safety being paramount to any building work, specification of the glazing at the design stage is essential. More tips are available on our ‘Design in safety for your roof glazing’ which covers categories of structural roof glazing, windloading requirements, and how varying types of structural roof glazing are tested.

Whether your project is a new build, extension or restoration, the IQ team can help you deliver an exceptional glazing package which meets all building regulation requirements and exceeds in performance specification.

Contact us to discuss your project requirements. Tel: 01494 722 880

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Or book a CPD with one of technical glazing experts today!

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Getting advice on your project

If planning permission is needed, it is useful to get pre-application advice from your local authority to highlight any potential issues with your application. The Royal Town Planning Institute recommends discussing any plans with neighbours and to check the previous planning applications made on the property, as this could give you some useful insight into what may be rejected and the reasons why.

Elements of frameless glass and frameless assemblies are usually favoured due to the transparent nature of glass, as there is minimal overshadowing to neighbouring properties and using glass as a building material maintains the original design of the building.

Any project designed by an architect will have a much greater chance of gaining planning permission, if it is needed, while also carrying the advantage of having access to expert advice as to what designs would be more sympathetic to the surrounding buildings.

Get in touch with us today for expert advice on your renovation project.

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