Manufacturers are coming up with new windows and door products all the time. While that’s great news for the industry, it’s always important to ensure safety and fitness-for-purpose.
For over 50 years, the BBA has been the leading certification body for products in the building and construction sector.
To find out more about the whys and hows, click on the icons below.
If someone creates and develops a new product and wants to market that product as best they can, it makes sense to have it checked to make sure it meets national safety standards and is fit for purpose.
The British Board of Agrément is the UK’s leading construction products certification body and has a reputation which is second to none. As such, the BBA is quite simply the best possible stamp of approval manufacturers can get. Association with the BBA significantly strengthens a product brand and helps to build its reputation in the market place.
Since it was established over five decades ago, the BBA has developed a comprehensive range of testing facilities. These are operated by highly experienced, technical experts to make sure products are suitably resistant and meet the correct durability, safety and security requirements.
That means architects and specifiers can choose products like windows, doors, door frames, hinges and lock fittings etc. in the knowledge that they have been properly assured by the BBA to meet industry standards.
BBA Approval also allows you to register your windows and doors with Secured by Design – a leading security approval scheme run by the UK Police to show that products are secure and can meet Approved Document Part Q (security).
In addition, BBA opens doors to more business opportunities in the New Build Market and at NHBC sites.
As well as fenestration, the BBA provides expert certification and assessments for a wide range of products, from building insulation systems, engineering products and road surfacing materials to paints, sealants, adhesives and many more.
Needless to say, expert technical assessments and certification can be a reasonably lengthy process as the emphasis is on technical excellence and making sure every product is subjected to the right test levels. Some tests are quite rigorous, whereas others rely on ageing processes over time.
Here are some overall details of the processes we deploy at the BBA:
A full assessment from start to finish for a new window / door system can take 9 months to a year, however if the system has already been assessed for your system supplier then the process for certification as a fabricator is much quicker, usually 3 months.
To assess a new system, we would have to test various aspects of the window and door including:
Weathertightness, operation and strength, repeated opening and closing, basic security, thermal transmittance, enhanced security, resistance to soft body and heavy body impact plus resistance to corrosion of window/door hardware.
We also carry out various durability tests depending on the material type of the window and door. For PVC-U we would look at softening temperature, resistance to impact at low temperature, tensile strength and elongation, tensile impact, dehydrochlorination etc. For timber products, we would look at wood preservation, moisture content, water absorption, adhesion of coatings, impact resistance of coatings etc., and for aluminium products we would look at adhesion of coatings, resistance to impact, abrasion, scrubbability etc.
For all systems, we would also carry out resistance to UV ageing to measure colour change over time. This ageing can be either with our extensive range of QUV machines using UVB313, UVA340 or UVA351 lamps or Xenon ageing using our Xenotest machine.
For fabricator Certificates where we have already assessed a window/door system, we would simply carry out a factory visit to measure production control plus an audit test for security to ensure the window/door still meets the requirements of PAS24 (security).
Regulations we certify to
BBA Test Services are always to the highest standards and we take on board whatever a product needs to ensure safety and fitness-for-purpose.
Building Regulations (England and Wales):
- Approved documents C (moisture)
- Approved documents F (ventilation)
- Approved documents K (protection from falling, collision & impact) (England only)
- Approved documents L (conservation of fuel & power)
- Approved documents M (access and use)
- Approved documents N (glazing safety (Wales only))
- Approved documents Q (security)
- Regulation 7 (materials & workmanship)
- Regulation 26 (CO2 emissions)
The Building (Scotland) Regulations – Standard 8 (durability, workmanship, fitness of materials)
- 3.10 (precipitation)
- 3.14 (ventilation)
- 3.15 (condensation)
- 3.16 (natural lighting)
- 4.1 (access to buildings)
- 4.8 (danger from accidents)
- 4.13 (security)
- 6.1 (CO2 emissions)
- 6.2 (building insulation envelope)
- 7.1 (sustainability)
- 12 (conversions)
The Building Regulations (Northern Ireland)
- Regulation 23 (materials & workmanship)
- 28 (moisture & weather)
- 33 (means of escape)
- 39 (conservation measures)
- 40 (target CO2 emission rate)
- 65 (ventilation)
- 96 (impact with glazing)
Construction (Design & Management) Regulations
- NHBC Standards
Bespoke certification services
As well as Agrément certification, we also offer Certificates of Conformity to a particular national standard. Usually this is PAS24 (enhanced security) and this certification can be used to achieve registration with Secured by Design.
Certificates of conformity involve an annual factory visit to ensure the product is still being manufactured in the same way, with the same raw materials and to the same specification.
An annual security audit test is also carried out. This involves testing a window or door with particular loads and hand tools to simulate an intruder breaking in, making sure the product still meets the requirements of the PAS24 standard.
BFRC ENERGY RATING CERTIFICATES
The BBA also provides an independent Window and Door energy rating certification scheme for the BFRC (British Fenestration Ratings Council).
BFRC Window/Door Energy ratings explained:
A WER/DER rating is calculated for a standard window/door size, allowing comparisons between different products. Each WER/DER label is specific to a unique window/door frame and glazing specification from a specific manufacturer. The BFRC Certificate combines the following characteristics to allow customers to determine how well each window/door assembly will perform.
Thermal transmittance (U value) – is a measure of the insulation properties of the window assembly/doorset and allows for comparisons against other designs in order to determine the best conservation of heat within a building. The lower the U value of the window/doorset, the better the thermal performance. The published U value combines the thermal transmittance of both the glazing and the frame.
Solar factor (g value) – is a measure of the solar gain effect of glazing caused by sunlight. Heat gain can be beneficial in the winter but can cause overheating in the summer months. The g value is expressed as a number between 0 and 1 where a lower g value means less heat gain.
Air leakage – is a measure of the air tightness of a window/door, particularly around the glazing and weatherseals of an opening window. The measurement at 50 Pascals is used in the thermal calculation to express the window/door energy rating, such that a higher air leakage value means a lower energy rating.
[It’s also worth knowing that the BBA offers certification to ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environmental) and ISO 18001 (health and safety)]
Other types of certification
A Certificate of conformity to PAS24 can be used as part of Agrément certification as it will satisfy security requirements for windows and doors, which is a Building Regs requirement for England and Wales (Approved document Q) New Build dwellings only, and for Scotland, Standard 4.13 (Security) dwellings only.
ISO 9001 certification can help towards an Agrément certificate as it will show a high level of factory production control is in place for the manufacturing process, and will help towards the factory visit process.
The BFRC Certification can also be used as part of the process for Agrément certification as it will provide a U value thermal performance value for the product, and can be used to satisfy Building Regs for thermal (Approved Document L (England & Wales), Standard 6 (Scotland) and Regulations 39 and 40 (Northern Ireland).
BBA Certification gives a real boost to manufacturers of products and systems within the building and construction industry, and windows and doors are a big part of the items we test at the BBA. Of course, making sure products meet all the right standards comes at a price, but we like to think that BBA costings offer real value for money.
Unlike other certification schemes, a BBA Certificate is all inclusive so you know that all aspects of fitness for use have been considered in order to comply with UK Building Regulations. Other certification schemes only certify to a particular standard, and this often means many certificates could be needed to satisfy fitness for use, which can end up costing clients more in the long run.
How to start the process
Agrément and Certificates of Conformity
To begin with, we need as much product information as possible, including window/door styles, glazing specifications, material type, hardware specification, maximum size limitations and any existing test reports from an accredited source. If there are no existing test reports, we will need to request samples for testing.
You will also need to complete an application form giving details of your company and manufacturing locations.
For these we will need CAD Drawings of window/door frames with glazing to carry out the thermal simulation, details of glass unit supplier to check they are certified to EN1279, details of manufacturing location and a test report showing air leakage testing. If there is no test report, we will request a sample to carry out an air leakage test.
Alternatively, you can supply an existing Thermal simulation report carried out according to BSENISO10077-2.