Approved Document F and Its Updated Building Regulations

Approved Document F of the Building Regulations covers Background Ventilation. It’s designed to provide guidance on meeting regulations in this area and states that adequate ventilation must be provided to prevent excess condensation build-up. This, in turn, helps to prevent damage to the structure of a property.

We aim to offer our customers the most up-to-date information, including everything they should know about these changes now that they have come into effect. This overview offers the information needed on the changes made to Building Regulations for England and Wales on June 15th 2022.

What Will the Changes Mean?

The changes to Approved Document F require most replacement windows and doors to be fitted with trickle vents.

What is a Trickle Vent?

A trickle vent is a device that allows air to circulate naturally through a room, allowing for the escape of polluted air. The device creates a small hole in the window or door it is attached to, providing permanent ventilation – even when the window or door in question is closed. This is intended to improve the air quality in a room.

Trickle vents were created in response to the problem of pollutants building up inside a property, as well as condensation and mould caused by these. Pollutants have been more of an issue since UK properties have become better insulated with improved windows and doors, because natural ventilation has been lost.

Ensuring trickle vents are fitted can help to avoid problems associated with poor ventilation by increasing airflow, reducing pollutants, and creating a healthier environment in a home.

What Happens if You Don’t Want Trickle Vents?

The updates to the building regulations mean that trickle vents will be required by law in most circumstances. However, there are some exemptions to this rule, such as listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas. In these cases, you will need to speak to your FENSA-Approved Installer.

If your property isn’t exempt, then the Installer will discuss what is required and needs to be fitted to your replacement windows and doors.

When Do the Changes Come into Effect?

Technically, the changes have already come into effect – as of 15th June 2022 in England and 23rd November 2022 in Wales. Any window or door installation taking place as of those dates onwards must comply with the new regulations.

It’s also important to note that the date on which the contract was signed for a new installation has no bearing on the registration of the work with FENSA. This means that if an installation has taken place from 15th June onwards, then the work will be expected to comply with the new regulations.

It will be the responsibility of the window installation company involved to ensure all replacement windows and doors comply with Approved Document F.

What the Government Says

The UK Government has produced information on ventilation in homes and what’s required under the new building regulations. It can be found in the – Existing Home Ventilation Guide.

Existing Windows with Trickle Vents

For existing windows with trickle vents already installed, there will be no discernible difference. Regulations for these state:

  • Replacement vents cannot be smaller than the ones in the window that is being replaced
  • If the size of the trickle vent in the windows being replaced is not known, then the replacement trickle vent should be sized as follows:
    • Habitable rooms and kitchens – equivalent area of 8000mm2
    • Bathrooms (with or without a toilet) – equivalent area of 4000mm2

The vents in these cases must also be controllable.

When replacing existing windows that don’t have trickle ventilators, the base position is that they should be installed. These should be sized using the same measurements given above.

If the property has “continuous mechanical extract ventilation”, then trickle ventilators with a minimum equivalent area of 4000mm2 should be installed in any replacement windows that are not in wet rooms (such as bathrooms, kitchens, or utility rooms). 

If it can be demonstrated that they comply with the requirements, “other ventilation provisions” may be used.

In any of the cases mentioned above, if it isn’t feasible to adopt the minimum equivalent areas set out, then trickle vents should be installed with the closest possible equivalent area.

Who to Speak to About New Windows and Doors

FENSA-Approved Installers are often the best people to speak to about these changes and what they mean for your property. Fortunately, Sash Windows London Ltd. is a FENSA-Approved Installer. 

If you would like to know more about what these building regulations updates could mean for your property, or if you are interested in having new windows and doors installed for your home, contact us today. We will be glad to assist in any way that we can.