Advice for homeowners


Meet your
FENSA Advisor

This is Harry.

You might recognise him from our TV ad.

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.

My windows aren't compliant?!

When it comes to building changes in our house, many of us have a vision in mind of what we want. For windows, this can mean a vision of what we want them to look like, the window size, even the way we want them to open. Though this is all good, unfortunately it means many of us dont take advice too well, especially from window installers who have come to provide us with a quotation. At the end of the day, how many of us have said just give me a price for what I want&


Getting what you want


But is getting what you want really what you need? At some point, we all receive a quotation from a company that will give us exactly what we want, so what happens if we go ahead with it? Before we know it our windows are in, and to be honest, we may be quite happy with the job done. But have we done the right thing? Should we have listened to some of the other firms saying we couldnt have just what we wanted?


How many of us once our windows are in, then stop and think if the windows meet current building regulations?


All too late


Unfortunately there are so many examples of consumers using firms who simply agree to your demands. All they want is the work, so if you want a window that opens the wrong way and isnt compliant with building regulations, they dont care, they just say yeap and do the job for you. They arent FENSA registered, so no independent inspector is checking on their installations randomly, and they have no intention of notifying local building control of your replacement windows. You get the windows you wanted, they get paid. Everyone is happy. Or are they?


For many consumers, the first time they find out that they need a certificate of compliance for replacement windows is when they come to selling their home. The buyers solicitor asks for a copy of the FENSA certificate and they dont have one. Then there is some debate over the windows and because they didnt use a FENSA Registered Business the seller has to arrange an inspection of their windows with the Local Building Authority, to get certification that way. Later, it turns out that the windows arent compliant and have to be changed. By now, its all too late, the window installer you used is never going to come back and change your windows, so you, as the seller, have to then foot the bill and have the windows replaced.


Its estimated that scenarios such as this one (and many others), waste around #1.5 billion each year!


Take advice and think FENSA


While its great to have a vision of what you want your windows to look like, how we want them to open etc. we mustnt, as consumers, let that vision blind us to advice from professionals. If an installer is telling us we cant have a window open in a particular fashion, its probably because it would mean the windows would breach current building regulations.


We should take on advice from window installers, and we should look for the FENSA logo. By looking for the FENSA logo, we know we will receive a certificate of compliance, without the added cost and time of informing Local Building Authorities of our replacement windows, which is important when we come to sell our home.

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What to check before appointing an installer

Check that you use a FENSA Approved Installer but also check the following:

  • Ask family and friends who have used installers about their satisfaction and whether they got a FENSA certificate.
  • Check the installer's references by talking to their previous customers.
  • Get at least three quotes and check you are being quoted like for like.
  • Cheapest is not always best and good contractors are always in demand.
  • Get quotes, timeframes and the fact that you will get a FENSA certificate all in writing. A proper written contract with an agreed completion date will help prevent confusion later on
  • Check the warranty on the installer's work and ensure they have enough insurance to cover their warranty. Domestic glazing installers that are registered with a competent person scheme like FENSA are legally obliged to provide warranty insurance to cover your installation should the company cease to trade within the life of the warranty.
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