With the changes to Part L of the Building Regs coming into force from June 2022, there has been a flurry of activity in the fenestration industry, and in the aluminium sector in particular, from system suppliers seeking to demonstrate that their products can meet the new lower U-Values required for windows and doors in both the new build and refurbishment markets.
Mixed messages are being shared across the industry, making it difficult for fabricators to be sure which compliance route suits their business. Should they switch existing systems to triple glazing and incur the costs and manual handling issues associated? Should they follow the limiting values for new build and rely on other sectors to step in and ensure compliance? Or do they follow U-Values or WER/DSERs for refurbishment projects? Complex questions faced by all within the fenestration industry.
With the government making it clear that the direction of travel on U-Values will continue to head significantly downwards over the next three years on the road towards the Future Homes Standard, one aluminium systems house has taken a much more positive and proactive approach to ensure that the correct decisions are made for its customers. Since the changes were announced in December 2021, AluK has implemented a series of product enhancements right across its range which help ensure that its customers have a fully compliant Part L product offering using double glazing as standard.
AluK’s Managing Director, Michael Williams, explained: “As a responsible system supplier, committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products, we’re not recommending the triple glazing option or suggesting that specifiers simply offset higher window and door U-Values against better performing elements in their SAP Calculations. We’re also not introducing a premium range of new products which could effectively impose a Part L surcharge on our customers.
“Instead, we have focused on ‘Excellence in Engineering’ and on upgrading the thermal performance of our existing systems so that they comply with the notional and limiting values which have been set out. We’ve invested substantial sums over the past six months in our most ambitious and fast paced product enhancement programme ever and we now have a full range of Part L compliant windows, sliding doors, bifolds and entrance doors available to specifiers.
“We have also held a series of face-to-face forums across the UK to communicate the requirements of the new Part L to our fabrication partners and outline best practice, and we are ensuring that they can transition smoothly across to our new compliant product offering from June onwards.”
AluK has been at the heart of the fenestration industry’s response to Part L – from giving its feedback to the initial consultations on the proposed changes last year, to having representatives on the key committees within the likes of CAB, the GGF and the CWCT, and hosting events and podcasts to engage with the relevant groups in specification, glazing, inspection, fabrication, and installation.
Michael Williams added: “We’re not shying away from the challenge of the Future Homes standard – rather, we’re embracing it. We know that, as a fully recyclable material with relatively low levels of embedded carbon, both now and for the future, aluminium will have an important contribution to make in terms of reducing emissions from homes, and we’re excited to be able to play our part.”