Approved Document F – the state of play today

Q&A with Total Installer Magazine, Nov/Dec 2023 edition

The transition period for the updated Building Regulations is now over – since 15 June 2023, compliance has been mandatory. We spoke to John Crittenden, Managing Director of leading independent hardware supplier Carl F Groupco, to consider the state of play in the market when it comes to Document F of the Regulations – Ventilation. 

The transitional arrangement period for Approved Document F in England finished on 15 June this year. What does this mean for installers? 

Quite simply that the regulations are now mandatory with no exception. By far the most economical and practical solution to meet the ventilation requirements of Document F is to use trickle vents and it seems this is the route that most installers are preferring. So much so, that we’ve seen a near 50% rise in sales of trickle vents year-on-year. 

Do you think the revisions to Document F have been adequately addressed by the supply chain?  

Everyone in the supply chain – from manufacturer to end user – has a part to play in navigating the transition. Here at Carl F Groupco, we worked – and continue to work – closely with our own manufacturer suppliers to make the necessary arrangements to supply compliant products. We also published guidance for fabricators and installers way back in March 2022 and we continue to work closely with them, providing all the advice, information and support they need.  

Why is compliance with Document F so important? 

Poor ventilation results in bad air quality that can lead to dampness, rot and mould, as well as contribute to health conditions such as asthma and eczema. Trickle vents can help to combat these issues. Remember too that the need for trickle vents demonstrates the exceptional advances in window technology. We need to introduce ventilation because windows are otherwise too good at insulating a space. 

Anecdotal evidence suggests the importance of Document F isn’t being taken seriously enough by some installers. Why do you think this might be? 

Some installers may still be unaware of the requirements. Consumers may be also reluctant to have trickle vents fitted, whether it’s because of the additional cost or the aesthetic implications, especially on feature-rich or heritage styled products. Everyone in the industry now has a responsibility to raise awareness of the requirements and stand firm – for installers, the implications for non-compliance are fairly serious. 

What are the implications of non-compliance for installers and homeowners?  

Whereas in the past non-compliance with Building Regulations might have been a risk worth taking, that’s no longer the case. Local Authority Building Control (LABC) is now in charge of policing new build projects, requiring confirmation that each building complies. My suspicion is that the increased failure rates we are seeing are due in large part to the fact that LABC is taking its obligation to check compliance seriously. The ultimate responsibility falls with the installer to guarantee an installation complies with regulations. 

What advice and support can you offer installers that may be struggling with the revisions to Document F? 

As a responsible hardware distributor, we know we have an obligation to give our customers as much support as we can. In other words, when it comes to compliance, we offer a wider range of Part F compliant trickle vents to support you, alongside the technical expertise of our team.  

Besides trickle vents, what other Document F-compliant products can Carl F Groupco offer installers? 

Our trickle vent range includes the popular Glazpart Link Vent MK II, as well as options from RW Simon, Yale and Greenwood. For next level sound insulation and ventilation or for projects where aesthetics are particularly important, we also offer the powered AEROPAC Sound Insulated Ventilator and the AEROVITAL Ventilator and Heat Recovery Unit from Siegenia.  

Long-term, do you see compliance with Document F being taken more seriously and having the desired impact on our housing stock? 

The important thing to remember is that the regulations are here to stay, so resistance is futile, as the saying goes. The new Building Regulations are all part of the government’s drive towards net zero. The timescales for achieving net zero might be shifting, but the ultimate goal isn’t. The regulations will only get tighter over time. This can only be good news for our housing stock – and the planet. 

View our article in Total Installer, Nov/Dec 2023 edition


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