Regulations for windows

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    • #705172

      My brother in law is currently building a new house. His daughter is disabled and uses a wheelchair all of the time.

      He is keen to ensure that, in the event of an emergency, his daughter can exit through the windows of the house safely. He would therefore like the windows to be placed 600mm above floor level.

      Having consulted a number of window companies he has told that the windows must be at least 800mm above floor level, in order to comply with safety regulations.
      Others have told him that they will supply the windows that he needs, however they will not comply with safety regs.

      He is keen to comply with all regulations, while at the same time ensure his daughter’s safety. I would assume that the regulations should take into account the needs of a disabled person, and that they would allow low level windows if desired.

      Does anyone know the law on this subject ?

    • #717814

      I’m not quite an expert on the new regs and how these things have been changed,
      but a simple change to stronger glass in the windows (below 900mm) used to do the trick.
      This rule doesnt exactly make sense to me…for example why is a patio door with glass to the floor ok and if ithappens tobe called a ‘window’ its not ??

    • #717815

      I haven’t checked them, but do the Regs not mention that the windows should be “guarded” up to a certain height? in that case, is it not possible to put in a lower window and place a guard , which could be as simple as a 30mm diameter steel bar at the regulation height, be it 800mm or whatever. This could be held in two brackets, from which it could be removed in an emergency.

    • #717816

      The Building Regulations (Section B1, Second Schedule) require that “a building shall be so designed and constructed that there are adequate means of escape in case of fire from the building to a place of safety outside the building, capable of being safely and effectively used”.

      The Technical Guidance Documents are merely guidance in how to comply with the requirements of the Regulations. The Introduction to Part B (Fire Safety) clearly states this and goes on to say “the adoption of an approach other than that outlined in the guidance is not precluded provided that the relevant requirements of the Regulations are complied with”
      The TGD ‘B’ also states (1.5.6.b) that “The bottom of the window opening should be not more then 1100mm and not less then 800 above the floor level in the room in which it is situated”.

      In this instance I would assume that the disabled person would be accommodated on the ground floor as it would be unreasonable to assume that she would be able to exit unaided from a first floor window. On the ground floor there is usually no requirement for guarding (which becomes a requirement when the height differential is greater then 600mm). Therefore, ground floor windows can reasonably have the sill below 800mm above floor level. Any glazing below 800mm from floor level would though need to be toughened or laminated.
      On first floor windows there is an obvious requirement for guarding and TGD ‘K’ (2.4) states “Where the window is capable of being opened, special care must be taken to ensure that the guarding must remain in place and effective at all times”. If this provision can be safely met there would appear to be no reason why the bottom of the window cannot extend below 800mm above floor level. In fact the equivalent guidance for England & Wales, Approved Document ‘B’ (2.11.b) states “The window should have an unobstructed openable area that is at least 0.33m ² and at least 450mm high and 450mm wide….The bottom of the openable area should not be more than 1100mm above the floor.”
      This guidance, 2000 edition, is more up to date then the 1997 Irish guidance.

      In other words, as some of the more astute readers may have deduced, you don’t have to follow the TGD literally. A practical application of this from a fenestration perspective is that it will allow the use of windows other then your bog-standard 500x850mm casement window as an escape window – a sliding sash window for example.


    • #717817

      As I recall the diagram in the Technical Guidance Document shows guarding to teh window at 800mm – the sill can be lower than this. The guarding is only required at upper levels.

      Another alternative (if this is a new building) would be a balcony with a patio door.

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