Document Q is part of a new series of government documents due to come into effect on October 1, 2015. It features a set of guidelines designed to help builders and contractors to meet the legal requirements outlined in the Building Regulations 2010 for England.
Document Q is particularly relevant for the door and window industry, as it’s focused on “easily accessible doors and windows”.
According to Building Regulations 2010 for England, all easily accessible doors and windows should be able to withstand physical attacks from casual or opportunistic burglars. Document Q sets out, in clear and concise terms, how to ensure that every window and door you install is secure to the relevant legal standards.
Here are five steps to take to make sure you’re ready for Document Q.
1. Find Out if Your Project is Applicable
Document Q is due to take effect on October 1, 2015, and will apply to all building work commenced after that date.
It does not apply to work started before October 1, 2015. Nor does it apply to work subject to a building notice, full plans application, or initial notice submitted before October 1 2015 – so long as the work is started before October 1, 2015.
2. Understand Which Areas of Your Project are Applicable
So what exactly does Document Q define as “easily accessible doors and windows”?
As far as windows are concerned, all ground floor windows are applicable, as well as those that can be reached with ease, such as skylights and basement windows.
When it comes to doors, obviously any door that provides access to a dwelling needs to be thoroughly secured, but Document Q also covers such doors as those which allow access from a garage to the interior of a property, and those which allow entry into a block of flats or a hall of residence.
3. Think Like a Burglar
Document Q is thorough, in that it advises you to consider every possible means a burglar might have of forcing entry.
It should go without saying that the back door of a dwelling needs to be just as secure as the front door, seeing as this is where the majority of break-ins occur. But the devil is in the details. Document Q goes so far as to outline the considerations you need to take when it comes to things like locks, hinges, letter plates, and cylinders.
To be fully compliant, you need to be wise to every technique a burglar might deploy. You need hinge bolts, anti-snap locks, and devices that make it impossible for burglars to remove keys through letter plates.
In short, you need to be wise to a burglar’s way of thinking in order to make properties all-but impregnable.
4. Context Matters
Though Document Q aims to offer general tips, it also takes into consideration that some dwellings present their own unique considerations.
For example, one stipulation is that all front doors should provide a means of identifying callers – either with a door viewer, or with clear glass within the door or the side lights. Door chains and limiters are also recommended as an additional means of vetting callers before letting them in.
However, some doors require 24 hour access. For example, wardens and carers often need a round-the-clock means of gaining easy entry to sheltered accommodation. In these instances, Document Q suggests that an alternative means of caller identification should be used, such as electronic AV entry systems.
Before you act to implement Document Q’s guidelines, take some time to consider whether your project will present any similar issues.
5. Get the Right Equipment
Document Q is highly specific when it comes to the sort of equipment you need to install in order to remain compliant. In short, you need doors and windows that have been shown, by test, to meet the security requirements of PAS24:2012.
There are additional requirements for locks, hinges, letter plates, cylinders, and ancillary items. To help you prepare, we’ve produced a handy guide to all the equipment that satisfies the mandated security requirements.
Given that it’s essentially a move to make the information included in the current regulations clearer and more accessible, it’s likely that your practices are already compliant with Document Q.
However, it’s always a good idea to ensure you’re completely up to date when it comes to home security, so it’s still essential that you take some time to familiarise yourself with Document Q.