Approved Document Q: When is a window easily accessible?

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Burglary trying to enter through an accessible window

Lego man with an axe - accessible window article - Approved Document QYou may have come across Approved Document Q - Security by now if you’re involved with building or designing new dwellings.

The document ensures reasonable provision to resist unauthorised access through ‘physical attack by a casual or opportunist burglar’.

The requirement applies to both doors and windows and while the emphasis is on the ground floor where the majority of attacks will be made by casual, opportunistic or even downright determined burglars, it can also apply to first floor windows too. The term used is ‘easily accessible’ windows or rooflights and this is defined as:

Easily accessible

  • a window or doorway, any part of which is within 2m vertically of an accessible level surface such as the ground or basement level, or an access balcony, or
  • a window within 2m vertically of a flat or sloping roof (with a pitch of less than 30°) that is within 3.5m of ground level.”

Because of the wording in the second bullet point, there has been some confusion as to whether this applies to ‘any part’ of a window or only where the ‘whole window’ is within 2m.

It is the view of building control that it applies to ‘any part’ of a window. Once access has been gained to a flat or pitched roof the same criteria would also apply.

A burglar, in addition to arm length, would also have additional reach using a 300mm lever such as nail puller, pry bar or utility bar (BS test equipment used to test security) and could attack a window within this zone.  

Above 2m the window is not ‘easily accessible’ as generally a ladder or similar would be needed to reach it.

Further information

View and download Approved Document Q


Please Note: Every care was taken to ensure the information was correct at the time of publication. Any written guidance provided does not replace the user’s professional judgement. It is the responsibility of the dutyholder or person carrying out the work to ensure compliance with relevant building regulations or applicable technical standards.


Easily accessible windows

Submitted 3 years 7 months ago

Would a single door canopy (either pitched or flat) be classed as a roof, to obtain access to an easily accessible window?

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