Skylights are a popular addition to many UK homes, offering natural light and ventilation. However, if you're considering installing skylights, it's important to be aware of the building regulations that apply. These regulations are in place to ensure that skylights are safe and meet certain standards.
Building Regulations for Skylights Building regulations in the UK apply to all new buildings, extensions, and material changes to existing buildings. If you're installing a new skylight or making a significant change to an existing one, you'll need to comply with the building regulations.
There are two sets of building regulations that apply to skylights: Part L (Conservation of Fuel and Power) and Part K (Protection from Falling, Collision and Impact). Part L covers the energy efficiency of skylights, while Part K covers their safety.
Energy Efficiency (Part L) Part L of the building regulations covers the energy efficiency of skylights. The aim is to reduce heat loss through the skylight and improve the energy efficiency of the building. To comply with Part L, skylights must have a certain level of thermal insulation and an appropriate level of air permeability.
If you're replacing an existing skylight, you'll need to ensure that the new one meets the same or better energy efficiency standards.
Safety (Part K) Part K of the building regulations covers the safety of skylights. The aim is to protect people from falling through or being struck by the skylight. To comply with Part K, skylights must be designed and installed in a way that minimises the risk of falling or impact.
The requirements for safety depend on the location of the skylight. For example, if the skylight is in a roof slope that is steeper than 70 degrees, it must be fitted with guards or barriers to prevent falls. Similarly, if the skylight is at floor level, it must be made of safety glass or have some other form of protection to prevent someone from falling through.
Building Regulations for Flat Roofs If you're installing a skylight on a flat roof, there are additional building regulations that apply. In addition to Parts L and K, you'll need to comply with Part B (Fire Safety) and Part M (Access to and Use of Buildings). Part B covers the fire safety of the building, while Part M covers accessibility.
For example, if your flat roof is part of a multi-storey building, you'll need to ensure that the skylight provides a means of escape in the event of a fire. Similarly, you'll need to ensure that the skylight is designed and installed in a way that provides safe access for maintenance.
In most cases, you won't need planning permission to install a skylight. However, if you live in a listed building, conservation area or other designated area, you may need to apply for planning permission before making any changes to the exterior of the building.
When choosing the right skylight, it's important to choose one that meets the Building Regulations. Look for skylights that have been tested and certified to meet the relevant standards. You should also choose a skylight that is appropriate for the location and use of the room.
Installation Skylights must be installed by a competent installer who is familiar with the building regulations. This will ensure that the skylight is installed correctly and safely. You should also ensure that the skylight is properly maintained and inspected regularly.
In conclusion, building regulations in the UK are in place to ensure that skylights are safe and energy-efficient. It's important to choose a skylight that meets these regulations and to have it installed by a competent installer. If you have a flat roof, you should also be aware of additional building regulations that apply, such as the requirement for a fall protection system.
If you're considering installing skylights in your home, it's a good idea to consult with a professional to ensure that you comply with all relevant regulations. Contact Cambridge Skylights for more information and to browse our range of high-quality skylights that are designed to meet UK building regulations.