Advice for homeowners

Harry

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.

What you need to know about your windows

This may sound a little boring, but there is more to windows than just picking the ones you like the look of (sorry to say that). You have to think about building regulations, certification (when selling your home), thermal performance etc. Then on top of that, you have to make sure you dont get a cowboy fitter&..So what do you need to know? This post will give you the basics

 

Thinking of replacing your windows?

 

All replacement glazing comes within the scope of the building regulations. Anyone who installs replacement windows or doors must comply with current thermal performance standards. You may be asking Why right now, but its basically to ensure the reduction of energy loss is in line with Government policy. But there is a plus side for you too, lower heating bills, so its not all bad.

 

When selling your property your purchasers solicitors will ask for evidence that any replacement glazing installed since April 2002 complies with building regulations, and there are two ways to prove this.

 

A certificate showing that the work was carried out by a FENSA installer

 

A certificate from the local authority building control stating that the installation has been approved under the building regulations To be fair, the first option is the easiest, and if you lose your certificate you can re-apply for a copy.

 

So what is the FENSA scheme?

 

FENSA was set up by all the key industry bodies and trade associations the glass and glazing federation (GGF) at the request of the Communities and Local Government Department to allow registered companies to self-certify that their installations comply with the building regulations. This makes life easier for the industry, but also for consumers. Today FENSA is still very much industry-led in terms of its relationship with key trade bodies and with those companies that register as FENSA fitters.

 

FENSA informs local authorities of all completed registered installations and will issue a certificate to the homeowner confirming compliance. Any installation undertaken by a company that isnt registered or by you as a DIY project has to have full local authority building control approval. It is worth noting that the authorities know of all registered companies in the area and can easily identify unauthorised installations.

 

Before you sign a contract to buy your new replacement glazing, ask if your installer can self certify ie if they are a FENSA Fitter. In not, then you know you need to pop down the council and request an application for approval under the building regulations  but that is all a lot of time and effort, you will probably find it a lot easier just to use a FENSA Fitter in the first place.

 

More information

 

If you want more information our website has lots of information on FENSA and what it all means to you as a homeowner. We also provide you with a search facility for installers in your area, news, faqs and a guide on spotting cowboys&

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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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