“I have been reading quite a lot in the trade press about the Future Homes Standard, which appears to be what the new Building Regulations will be called from 2025. But I can’t find anything that tells me what the new U values and other elements will be. What do you know?”

AN Retail Installer, Derbyshire

 The answer to your question is AN: nobody knows! Furthermore, despite a ton of stuff appearing in the business press over the past few months, including the wonderful industry bible that you and my other reader are now perusing feverishly, nobody, not even the government department responsible, has any idea (though we would hope that they’d at least have an inkling).

I too have found myself bemused by the prevalence of references to Future Homes that pepper the press and digital media, but when I searched for details, especially about U values for windows, could find nothing. So I dug deeper and guess what: they haven’t been published yet, with the consultation period that always pre-empts the publication of revised Building Regulations, not even available, itself now running considerably later than its proposed June ’23 publication date.

Many references to a U Value of 0.8 W/m2K are assumptions, based upon no more than idle speculation that such a value might follow that used by Passive House. Furthermore AN, the Future Homes Standard relates only to how new homes will be built from 2025 (though that is likely to be later too), has no reference to replacements whatsoever and is very unlikely to.

That and other revelations were confirmed by a highly illustrious panel of our industry’s leading experts at the recent Glazing Summit. Once again I enjoyed this splendid event which of course was greatly enhanced this year by yours truly being included in one of the panel sessions. Though not, I must add, the one that involved the experts to whom I refer…

VEKA’s Paul Kennington, Liniar’s Chris Armes, Chris Alderson from Edgetech and Glazpart’s Dean Bradley were asked to clarify FHS and they confirmed what took me several weeks of head scratching and questioning to find out. These very learned men confirmed that the standard is only to dictate how new homes are to be constructed from 2025 (or most likely sometime later than that date, they agreed), with no concrete idea about the possible U values for windows and doors in the new regs. Furthermore, after 40 minutes of interrogation including much debate about triple glazing, the question was asked: What do you believe the U value will be for replacement windows after publication of FHS? 1.2 W/m2K was the unanimous response.

And that was the nature of this year’s Glazing Summit AN, even though you didn’t ask. It posed many questions, speculated about the demise of our industry (with what turned out to be a handful of fabricators and installers going out of business during the past few years), with further headlined suggestions of doom only to then be neutralised by the organiser’s own stats.

Despite my tone, I am not knocking. I understand the need for razzmatazz to get the punters through the door. But in these challenging and often dark times, I took pleasure in the survey of 2000 installers in which 71% thought they would see no to some growth in the ‘next year or two’. After the last couple of years and especially in the current market, I will take that thank you very much!

Coupled with the experts’ prediction that U values for replacement windows will stay just as they are for at least the foreseeable future, the ‘no news’ outcome of this year’s Glazing Summit cheered me up no end.

* Danny Williams is managing director of Chelmsford based Pioneer Trading and has been involved with all aspects of the windows and doors industry for 30 years. His activities include manufacturing a full range of windows and doors in PVC-U and aluminium, an IGU facility, retailing and commercial contracting.

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