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Building Regulations for Security

Secured by Design welcomed the introduction in 2015 of a security element within the Building Regulation in England as we have been campaigning for this for many years. Approved Document Q (Security – Dwellings) goes some way to improving security in the residential built environment, but does not include many of the elements that have contributed to the sometimes staggering improvements in security that Secured by Design has delivered in communities around the country.

What does Approved Document Q ask for & where?

ADQ applies to all new dwellings, including those resulting from a change in use of an existing building, such as commercial premises, warehouses and barns undergoing conversions into dwellings. It also applies within Conservation Areas.

ADQ creates security requirements in relation to doors at the entrance to a building, including garage doors where there is a connecting door to the dwelling; ground floor, basement and other easily accessible windows; and any easily accessible roof-lights. The requirement is that the product must be shown to have been manufactured to a design that has been tested to an acceptable security standard.

How SBD helps to get to the front of the ‘Q’

For many years SBD has required that doors and windows are not only tested by the product manufacturer, but that independent third-party certification from a United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) authority is in place. This requirement exceeds the requirements of ADQ.

Independent certification is important to ensure continuity of production through ongoing auditing, which ensures production and the delivery on site of a more secure and reliable product. SBD attributes the use of products that are independently certificated to recognised security standards as having been responsible for the consistently high reductions in crime that have been achieved, as verified by numerous independent academic research studies.

The SBD Award has now been expanded to include Gold, Silver and Bronze levels. In order to achieve the Gold Award, the property has to achieve the requirements of ADQ and also show that the development layout and some ancillary security requirements, such as lighting and cycle storage, have been met. The Silver Award fully discharges the requirements of ADQ and, in addition, requires certification from independent third-party certification bodies. SBD Bronze is primarily for the refurbishment market but, where issued in respect of a new home with ‘bespoke’ products, it can also satisfy the requirements of ADQ.

SBD has also introduced a scheme called SBD National Building Approval (SBD NBA). This award makes achieving a SBD Award much easier for those embarking on building projects.

For more information, please contact us at   or download our ADQ Brochure.

United Kingdom Building Regulations

Building regulations dictate the minimum standards for design, construction and alterations to buildings. They are developed by governments and approved by Parliaments. England, Scotland and Wales all have a regulation detailing the need for security in new homes. Currently Northern Ireland does not have such a regulation.

The regulations apply to all new residential buildings and also those buildings where a change of use enables them to become residencies, i.e. an old mill becoming apartments. In England and Wales the regulation is called Approved Document Q: Security – Dwellings (often referred to simply as Part Q), and in Scotland it is identified as Building Standard 4.13. The full documents can be found here:

In all cases the regulation requires that a reasonable provision must be made to resist unauthorised access to any dwelling, and any part of a building from which access can be gained to a flat within the building. The regulations go on to list appropriate security standards for doors and windows that should be met in order to discharge the obligation imposed.

SBD is explicitly referred to as a source of further guidance in all publications and it is accepted that an SBD approved door or window meets the requirements of all three regulations. This is achieved as a consequence of products being subjected to scrutiny by external independent test and certification bodies who will perform appropriate testing and ongoing auditing of production. When successfully completed they will then acknowledge that a security standard has been met. This enables SBD to grant Police Preferred Specification status which in turn identifies that the product meets the needs of all the aforementioned building regulations. It is also seen by many fabricators and developers as an effective way of gaining advantage over competitors, benefiting from the marketing opportunities associated with the SBD brand and most importantly, demonstrating that crime prevention has been a serious consideration in their approach to business.

For more information about the individual building regulations mentioned, please click each region below:

Part Q and SBD - What do you need to know?

When did Part Q take effect?

It came into effect on 1 October 2015. It does not apply to work started before 1 October, or work subject to a building notice, full plans application or initial notice before that date, providing work is started on site before 1 October 2016.

What products fall within the scope of Part Q?

The following falls within the scope of Part Q:

  • All dwelling entrance doorsets
  • All easily accessible windows, roof windows and skylights
  • Communal entrance doorsets (flats/apartments)
  • Emergency egress doorsets allowing access into the common areas of the building (flats/apartments)
  • Other doors that may allow access into common areas of the building (flats/apartments), such as drying rooms, cycle stores and refuse areas
  • If there is a connecting doorset between the garage and the dwelling, then either the main vehicular doorsets, together with any pedestrian doorsets, will fall within the scope of the regulation, or alternatively the connecting doorset
Does Part Q apply to all homes?

No, the new Building Regulation applies to new homes and existing buildings that are being converted into new homes only (such as a warehouse, barn, etc). Existing homes are currently not required to meet the security requirements within Part Q.

Does Part Q apply to all extensions

No, extensions currently fall outside the scope of Part Q.

Are replacement windows incorporated within the requirements of Part Q?

No, replacement windows are not currently required to comply with Part Q.

Does the new building regulation apply to key worker or student accomodation?

If the accommodation provided is clustered into groups of bedrooms served by a shared front entrance doorset (similar to that of an apartment) then Part Q is applicable.

However, if the bedrooms are located off a shared/common hallway then such developments fall outside the scope of Part Q.

Are the requirements of Part Q and SBD the same?

No, whilst the technical standards within Approved Document Q and SBD are the same, the SBD requirements call for all door and window products to be fully certificated. This ensures that the company fabricating the doors or windows has been subject to factory production controls protocols and regular product and test audits by the certifying authority to ensure the continued quality and security needs are met. Part Q asks for testing only.

I would like to use products that meet the European Security Standard (EN 1627) Does this meet part Q?

No, the National Forward for the UK version of the European Standard (BS EN 1627) makes it clear that PAS 24 is the preferred route to compliance. This is for good reason: the European standard fails to address some important areas of security which would render such products vulnerable if utilised within the UK.

Is part Q Applicable to doorsets leading to a balcony?

Yes. Doorsets providing access to a balcony are required to be secure.

Which Building regulation takes precedence for appartment/flat entrance doorsets - Part B or Part Q?

Neither. Both have equal weighting within the Building Regulations. It is imperative that fire doorsets are tested in exactly the same configuration as they were tested for security. You cannot add any additional or alternative features to an apartment/flat doorset without ensuring that the doorset meets the requirements for both fire and security. Some examples of areas that need careful consideration are as follows:

  • Glazing – you must ensure that all fire rated glazing either meets the requirements of BS EN 356 grade P1A (min) or is supplemented by additional security glazing meeting the same standards
  • Locks – the locks must be the same for both fire and security testing
  • Letter plates – if letter plates are required, the manufacturer must demonstrate compliance with both the requirements for fire and security
  • Concealed door closers – some types of concealed door closers can substantially increase the risk of a security test failure when installed in particular types of door materials. Concealed door closers should therefore be installed within the doorset when it is security tested to ensure compliance