Thinking outside the box on Approved Document Q

I would hope that the whole industry knows by now that Approved Document Q (in England and Wales) requires windows and doors fitted in new build developments to have been tested to show compliance with PAS24. As things stand, building control officers can ask the manufacturer to demonstrate compliance and they can use test data which has been cascaded from their systems or hardware supplier.

The difficulty for the manufacturer if they go down this route though is that the windows or doors they supply must be exactly the same as the ones which have been tested. No part of the specification can be changed – not even the reinforcement or the size of the screws.

I know some people would argue that it’s impossible for building control to check that every product exactly matches the test data, but the fact remains that manufacturers who don’t comply are risking losing out on business or even potentially prosecution.

Obviously, there are a good number of fabricators who have already invested in their own PAS24 testing so that they can choose their own preferred specification and have the added advantage that it is their own name on the test report.

However, for those who aren’t in a position to do this, Mila has begun a clever new testing initiative which is enabling us to build up a library of much more useful test data which can be cascaded down to customers as required.

Where Mila differs from many other suppliers is that we are testing lots more profile and hardware combinations to give our customers much wider options on the specification of the ADQ compliant windows which they can manufacture.

Even for us, it’s impossible to test to every combination of course, but what we are focusing on is testing the most popular locks and hinges on a range of different profiles. This means that customers who use our cascaded data are not restricted by a single option in the declaration of components on a test report.

I don’t agree with the reported practice of physically testing only a small selection of products but including a much wider selection on the reports. From a technical and performance perspective, I think the only way you can be 100% sure that a product has performed to the PAS24 standard required by ADQ is to physically test it.

From my own experience of testing Mila products on different profiles, there is no way that you can assume that a hinge, a lock or a handle will achieve the PAS24 standard fitted to profile X, just because it has previously achieved the standard fitted to profile Y. The design variances are such that you can’t simply predict or assume anything.

Mila is in the process of conducting tests to all the clauses of PAS24 and we are collating photographic and video evidence as part of that work. Our library of ADQ compliant combinations is growing week by week, and we’re actively encouraging customers to contact us to see if their profile is on the list.

We’ve had some amazing feedback already from customers who have started using the cascaded data from Mila on hardware combinations with Liniar, Rehau and Eurocell profiles to demonstrate ADQ compliance.

Even more significantly, we’ve helped several customers win contracts from major housebuilders who have specified ADQ compliant windows and doors and have accepted our cascaded data showing PAS24 approval on their preferred combination of profile and hardware.

Mila’s Test Centre in Daventry can be booked by customers who want to carry out indicative testing on further combinations which are not in any of our declaration of components and establish whether they will achieve PAS24 accreditation before they invest in formal testing.

This saves money in the long run of course because our experienced test centre team can give customers lots of useful help and advice.