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FENSA - the Fenestration-Self Assessment Scheme

Following the UK's adoption of the Kyoto Agreement on environmental and energy usage issues, which introduced legislation covering the thermal efficiency of Replacement Windows and Doors, with effect from 1st April 2002 all Replacement Window and Door Installations require Building Regulations Approval from your local Council.

Failure to obtain Building Regulations Approval can result in a fine of up to 5,000 and, additionally, you will be required, at your own expense (not your installers!), to remove & replace or alter your new windows to ensure compliance.

This is a serious issue for homeowners because, if you sell your home in the future, your buyer's solicitor will require your Certificate of Compliance, in much the same way that you are asked for Guarantees on recent improvements or treatments of woodworm, damp, etc. Your Certificate will be issued after installation, subject of course to having complied with the new Regulations, by your local Council.

Not having a Certificate could therefore cause problems years down the line:

1. It could lose you your purchaser. As with all new legislation, it is not yet clear how it will be interpreted. However, the Regulations state that the Double Glazing must be compliant and therefore any prospective purchaser would be taking on the liability for compliance, which is extremely unlikely as, at the very least, they will be asked to sign an exclusion of liability by their Solicitor.

2. You may have to discount your selling price. It is almost certain that the Mortgage Providers, i.e., Building Societies & Banks, will insist upon rectification work being carried out within a limited time and that they will withhold monies pending confirmation that the work has been completed.

3. You could be compelled years later to remove & replace or alter your windows. It is likely that Solicitors, Estate Agents, Surveyors, etc., will have a Statutory Duty to advise your local Building Control Department of any instances of non-compliance that they come across.

Homeowners can ensure that their new Replacement Windows, Doors & Porches comply with the new regulations by one of two methods;

  • firstly, by applying for Building Regulations Approval from their local Council, which will involve making an application to the Building Control department and the payment of a fee, typically of between 50 and 100, varying from one Local Authority to another. The application will need to include product technical specifications such as designs, thermal performance, fire escape provision and permanent ventilation.

  • secondly, by using a FENSA Registered Company, who will ensure and certify to FENSA that the work undertaken complies with the Regulations. FENSA will then issue the homeowner with a Certificate of Compliance.

...AND NOW FOR THE GOOD NEWS!!! - Happily, there is some!

1. To quote the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Chris Leslie MP, 'This new package of measures is about saving the householder money on energy bills while also providing environmental benefits. While consumers are enjoying improved comfort, the UK can meet almost 10pc of its Kyoto commitment, making this simple upgrade an excellent investment.'

2. Dr Alan Whitehead MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government and The Regions, on announcing the new measures, said, 'These regulations mark a major step forward for consumer protection in the glazing industry. For the first time the industry has drawn up a national scheme to ensure competence among members, offering consumers a greater confidence and level of protection than ever before. By signing up to schemes such as FENSA, companies are giving out a clear message to consumers that their work complies with Building Regulations'.

FENSA Registered Companies have undertaken to;

  • comply with Building Regulations & associated Approved Documents relating to the Installation of Replacement Windows & Doors.
  • ensure that work will be of Satisfactory Quality.
  • offer an Insurance Backed Warranty or Guarantee covering the cost of completing rectification work in respect of defects & in the event of ceasing to trade.
  • maintain Indemnity Insurance to cover Customer's Deposits.
  • be bound by Statutory Health & Safety and Waste Disposal Requirements.
  • allow FENSA to Inspect any Installation.
  • commit to the Principle of Fair Trading.
  • use only an Approved Form of Contract.
  • have an approved Customer Complaints Procedure.
  • maintain Employer's Liability & Public Liability Insurance.
  • abide by the Rules of FENSA and the reasonable Requirements of the FENSA Board.

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