In response to new Building Regulations that came into force in June 2022, requiring all window replacement installations to include trickle vents, a Government petition has been launched with the aim of reviewing these regulations.

“Go back to original regulations”

The petition, launched at the start of the year, aims to bounce the Government into rolling back the regulations they spent more than two years deliberating and consulting on.

This is the full description of the petition on the Government website:

Change the regulation of mandatory trickle vents and go back to the original regulations but with better education for consumers and window companies so people can advise and install them where necessary. But the choice should be the consumers and not mandatory by the government.

It’s completely unfair to half the population of competent companies + consumers who know how to use a window properly. The consumer should have a choice. If the company surveying the job is FENSA / Certass registered then they should be able to advise properly. Bad landlords + poor housing, resulting in condensation/mould problems are not going to be solved with trickle vents. Why should responsible homeowners lose their right to say yes or no to trickle vents being installed.

At the time of writing, there are 324 signatories on this petition. According to the rules of Government petitions, a threshold of 10,000 signatories is required to prompt a Government response. A larger threshold of 100,000 signatories is required before the Government will consider debating the issue in Parliament. It is worth noting that even if the 100,000 threshold is reached, there is no guarantee that the Government will put forward the petition to be debated. It is within the remit of the Government to debate petitions on a case-by-case basis.

You can view the petition on trickle vents here:

Unlikely to succeed

One of my biggest criticisms of the whole process around the new revisions to Building Regulations was the apathy shown by the sector towards the changes during the consultation phase. To put it bluntly, barely anyone cared.

The sector only became motivated when it was clear that certain regulations would begin to have a direct impact on it. Namely, trickle vents. But at that point, it is too late to become involved in the discussion. That is why the Government launches consultation periods, in order for representatives within sectors to voice their concerns and thoughts with a view to shaping opinions and potential final decisions.

But in true fenestration sector style, we gave it very little attention, showing the powers that be that we were not motivated enough to care at the beginning of the process. So will this petition succeed in bringing the concerns of the sector around trickle vents to the door of the Government?

Based on our previous performance in coalescing around causes and concerns, I will hedge my bets and say no. We won’t get the numbers.

There are around 14,000 companies within the entire UK fenestration sector, give or take. To get to the first threshold of a Government response, we will need at least one person from 10,000 companies to sign. Or at least get as many people from fewer companies than that to put their name to this.

At the moment, there are 324 names on the petition, which is open until July. It is going to require a gargantuan effort to even reach the first threshold. Our sector does not have a history of being able to mobilise in mass.

Whilst I understand that there remain many that are frustrated with the new trickle vent regulations, and there will be a can of worms that can never be unopened when it comes to enforcement of these new rules, the horse has very much bolted on this particular issue.

The time to act and talk was two years ago. We didn’t. The Government is now very much focused on Future Building Standard in 2025, where further revisions lower of minimum U-Values on new-build homes is expected. If we want to shape the outcome of those particular decisions then it would be best if the sector could rally around this cause, rather than roll the previous revisions back. Something which I believe there is no precedent for.

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