Harry works for a FENSA Approved installation company. He's on a mission to help professionalise installers and protect homeowners across the UK, so he started this advice column.
I know what you are thinking. You're thinking:"of course I can - the hat, the horse and the 6 shooter gives it away", and you're right. But can you just as easily spot cowboy builders? Probably not. Cowboy builders like these don't conform to a particular look in the same fashion as Billy the Kid did. Here are two quick facts, which make for uncomfortable reading:
If you are just starting out on some improvements to your home and looking for a window installer, then why not check the Glazing Installer Search for registered fitters in your area. All you need do is provide your postcode and the website brings back a list of trusted FENSA registered installers. The result list will provide you with a company name, address, contact details and wherever possible email options. We also show their FENSA registered number.
Of course though, you may already have an installer in mind, or your builder is putting you in touch with one, so what can you do? Well, in this case, look for the FENSA logo. If you don't notice one, ask if they are a FENSA registered company. If a company is registered with FENSA (and some 9,000+ businesses are) then that means the installer is subject to regular assessments on adherence to Building Regulations standards.
FENSA only work with registered builders to make sure they meet the highest possible standards. A FENSA certificate is usually the crucial difference between cowboy builders and registered ones. FENSA's certificate proves that the product, and the company providing it, are legally compliant. Without FENSA's approval, it's unlawful to install new products for homes, meaning most cowboy builders are acting illegally.
Fortunately, finding registered installers is easy. All you have to do is check for the FENSA logo, and to make sure with FENSA themselves that they're part of their network. When you choose FENSA installers, you'll avoid the pitfalls of cowboy builders for good. Also, you'll feel the difference working with trusted local installers. You'll get a more thorough installation, personalised service and fair value.
Remember, you can contact FENSA to check if a company is FENSA registered. If you are told they are, then still check, as some cowboy builders stop at nothing to try and trick you. There are a number of give-away signs with cowboy builders. Just like the outlaws of the wild west, there are certain attributes you find all cowboy builders have. Here are some of the telling signs of a cowboy:
FENSA are proactive in trying to help consumers spot cowboy builders and report them. FENSA also has a website dedicated to stopping them: cowboystoppers.co.uk. Take your time and have a look through this website as it will help you spot a cowboy company quickly. In addition it will provide you with information on knowing your rights, and how to report these rogue traders.
With FENSA approved registered builders, you can get away from cowboy builders for good.
All you have to do to find one of our registered builders is to use our Find an Installer function on our website. From there, you can search for local companies in your area to find the right option for you.
Check that you use a FENSA Approved Installer but also check the following: