The trickle vents are coming! It’s not as scary as it sounds, despite the opposition from a variety of facets of the fenestration industry.

Indeed, on June 15th, that will be the date as published by Government, where the reality will be all windows will need to be fitted with trickle vents. There’s a tad more nuance than that, something which I will explore in my next post.

One of the biggest gripes with trickle vents is their lack of insulative properties and tendency to let in drafts even when closed. So, when an industry friend approached me to do a quick Twitter poll based on a possible solution, I wanted to see what kind of reaction it would get.

No support for a better trickle vent

As I mentioned, one of the biggest problems our sector wheels out when it comes to trickle vents is that they let out too much heat, they let the cold and air in even when they’re supposed to be closed, and they generally bring down the overall efficiency of the window.

So, to that end, when an industry friend of mine came to me with a question, we put it to a poll on social media to judge what support we could get if the sector could get their hands on a trickle vent with a u-Value of 1.4. The significance is that this is also the new u-Values set in the updated version of Building Regulations.

This is the progress of the poll so far:

As you can see, there is pretty much no support for a trickle vent that could achieve the same newly revised u-Values. This is disappointing, and a continuation of the attitude that when it comes to change, our sector simply sticks its head in the sand and pretends it’s not happening.

I sense that even if the perfect trickle vent came along, one that you couldn’t see, was Passivhaus standard, was built to a high quality, was effective when closed and actually looked good, the industry would still dismiss it. I suspect because it would be called a trickle vent.

Attitude change

I sat in a webinar late this afternoon with a major systems company who was kindly running through the various changes to the various documents within Building Regulations. What became perfectly clear is that these sets of revisions are only the start of a longer process where regulations are going to be changed and made more demanding as the years go on. Culminating in the Future Buildings Standards. More on that in another post. But the long and short of it is this: ventilations requirements will become stricter, overheating considerations will become more important, WERs are going to be pretty pointless and u-Values and energy efficiency will have the same level of importance as ventilation.

Therefore, we are all going to have to have an attitude change towards our work and profession whether we like it or not. The laws are changing and we are going to have to adapt, just as we always have done when it comes to challenges that are presented to us. Just look at what we have had to weather over the last two years with the pandemic.

Ventilation in homes is going to come into a much sharper focus between now and 2025, and windows have a role to play. To those that say other installers who aren’t not bothered about following the new rules will just steal good business away, yes, that is a perfectly reasonable assumption. However, I would say to all the professional companies out there, don’t whine about it. Make it crystal clear to your clients what the new rules are and why they are doing it, and become very vocal about the consequences of using a company that doesn’t conduct their own business as it should. This is not a new concept, we have all had competitors for years and we know what our own USPs are above others.

From now at our own place, we will be making clear to clients what the new rules are, why they are being brought and that companies who do not follow the new guidelines will be installing work that does not follow updated regulations and could pose problems down the line. I have already been using that approach to my own clients over the last few weeks and it hasn’t impeded me from winning orders. If you can set aside your own personal feelings and try to use them as a positive then I would say that is the better angle.

Given our recent history, and the very acute focus on health, ventilation is now a much more integral part of our sector and wider conversation. This is the new normal.

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