Save Money – Pass First Time at FIT Show!

7 Apr

 

FIT Show 2014 Group Stand-w800-h600

On the third day of the FIT Show 2016 next week (Thursday 14 April) FENSA will be using the Master Fitter Challenge stand to showcase Building Regulations compliance – and the common faults that can lead to an inspection failure. All FENSA Installers are very welcome to attend.

It all starts with an accurate and comprehensive survey. Do that right – and everything else will fall into place.

The subjects that will be covered are:-

  • Structural Safety & Fire Safety (Documents A&B of the Buildings Regulations)
  • Access and Use of Buildings (Document M)
  • Conservation of Fuel & Power & FENSA Window Energy Ratings (Document L)
  • Ventilation, Condensation & Combustion (Documents F&J)
  • Glazing Safety & Protection from falling (Documents N & K)
  • Minimum Technical Competencies (MTC)

This will be a unique opportunity to walk through the inspections process on the stand with our team of experts from both FENSA and RISA.  The FENSA team includes Managing Director Chris Mayne,  General Operations Manager Liam Gilsenan, Inspection Manager Dave Mecham, Inspection Supervisor Tim Lowin, FENSA inspector Lee Galley and Certifications Manager Darrell Williams. Attending from RISA will be Operations Director Peter Maddern.

In addition, FENSA certified installers will be able to ask inspection experts questions on compliance issues at both survey and installation and the new FREE FENSA Window and Doorset Energy Ratings.

Every time an installation fails inspection it costs installers hundreds of pounds in time and materials to put right – money that could be saved if the work was done to the correct standard in the first place.

Come visit us – and if you Opt In to FREE FENSA Window Energy Ratings – you will be able to get hold of free copies of the vitally important FENSA Guide to Compliance, the full Building Regulations Approved Documents, the GGF’s Condensation leaflet Some Causes, Some Advice and the GGF’s Right Glazing In The Right Place leaflet (don’t miss this opportunity – limited stocks only).

The Master Fitter Challenge stand is located in the entrance hall of the FIT Show – you can’t miss it.

To register for your free FIT 2016 tickets go to http://www.fitshow.co.uk/fensa/reg

Tech Talk Tuesday

15 Mar

SAFETY GLASS – COMMON MISTAKES

The most common variations are still due to safety glazing because there are so many places it can go awry.

The need for safety glass should be checked for at least three times. Once at sales, once at survey and finally at installation. Below are the top six most common mistakes made:

  1. Next to doors – The surveyor may not note on the survey that a window next to a door needs safety glass because the factory will pick up it is a door combination. However during order processing doors and windows sometimes get spilt up and that flag window is suddenly just a window…
  2. Bathrooms – Any bath or shower tray below the window becomes the finished floor level – so measure from inside that not from the floor. Also, if the window change is part of a refurbishment of a bathroom ask if a bath or shower will be under the window. Remember it is considered good practice to fit safety glass in bathrooms even if the windows are outside critical locations.
  3. Outside floor level – The measurement of 800mm from floor level or 1500mm when within 300mm of a door is taken from inside and outside. If the glass is below these levels on either side then it is critical and needs to be safety glass. Cellar windows are commonly missed as they are at head height inside but ankle height outside.
  4. Damaged units – Scratched and damaged units are spotted by the fitter and sizes for a replacement called in. A new unit is made but the safety aspect has been missed and annealed glass is installed in a critical area.
  5. Units the same size – Often there are two units that are the same size but one is safety glass and the other isn’t. Its easy to switch them by mistake. Some IGU manufactures are trying to combat this using different coloured tape or labels for their toughened units.
  6. Window seats – Any fixed furniture in front of a window will be considered the floor level so when surveying watch for these and call up the appropriate glass.

Free window & door energy ratings from FENSA

12 Feb

 

From January 2016 FENSA Certified installers will be able to use free window and door energy ratings (WERs and DSERs) as part of their registration package. It is totally voluntary. All they have to do is Opt In, agree to the rules and be supplied by a BFRC registered fabricator.

These new window and door energy ratings are operated and independently verified by BFRC. It is exactly the same as the existing BFRC scheme in terms of ratings, ratings bands, license scopes and windows and doors covered. Labels provided will cover windows and doors rated ‘A++’ to ‘G’.

The only difference is these new labels are branded FENSA and will have their own marketing support. These ratings will be marketed heavily at consumers in the second half of 2016 to raise awareness and drive consumer demand.

Existing BFRC Authorised Retailers can quickly and easily switch to be a FENSA Authorised Installer – by Opting In by emailing BFRC.

“This is the most exciting and radical promotion of energy rated windows and doors since the launch of BFRC 10 years ago,” explains FENSA managing director Chris Mayne. “This brings energy ratings to UK homeowners under the name of one of the most well-known brands in windows and doors. We predict that it will vastly boost the numbers of installers using windows and door energy ratings to comply with Buildings Regulations and put the labels in front of many more consumers than before.”

The benefits of Opting In to FENSA energy rated windows and doors for installers are: an easier product to sell because homeowners understand and recognize energy rated labels; installers get their own labels; it is the easiest route to Part L compliance; a listing on BFRC website (the first port of call for homeowners searching for energy rated product); consumer publicity support and recognition; installers can source glass and frames separately; opportunities to upsell; technical and marketing support and advice.

Currently just over 53% of Part L compliant notifications are through window and door energy ratings. The rest are by declaration of U-values.

“We expect to be reporting a big rise in WER based compliance by this time next year because of the launch of FENSA WERs and DSERs” concludes Mayne.

The Opt In process for FENSA certified installers is to email the Operations Team on EnergyRatings@fensa.org.uk with their company name, registration number and name of their fabricator supplier. FENSA will do the rest.

Tech Talk Tuesday

29 Dec

AVOID LOAD BEARING PROBLEMS

A vital part of the survey and installation of replacement windows is how any structure above them is supported. In the majority of cases a suitable lintel is present and plays no part in the installation. But this should never be taken for granted.

UK homes exhibit varied building techniques for load carrying – concrete, steel, timber and stone lintels, brick arches, boot lintels. The list is endless. If the installation property has one of these in place (with no signs of failure) there’s little to worry about. But if there are no obvious means of support then very close scrutiny must be made during survey.

If there is any potential for the structure to move, then as a competent person you must ensure that the load above the opening is secured. Many properties were built with the original timber window supporting the brickwork above. So replacing it with modern PVC or Aluminium window frames compromises the carrying the load.

A soldier or head course of bricks above a window is not acting as a support unless it has been formed into an arch. A soldier course is usually decorative. These should be carefully examined and a plan to support it drawn up before any window below is replaced.

Good surveying is the key to getting the support issue correct. If you inspect thoroughly then any issues can be brought to the attention of the householder before work commences. If it is not identified beforehand and a support has to be installed during or post installation, the cost burden may fall on you the installer.

Bay windows should always be treated as loadbearing even if the load seems small. It should be supported by suitable bay poles that rest on either a fully reinforced cill (the reinforcement should be under the pole), steel spreader places having passed through the cill or onto a jacking pole system. The top of the pole should be tight to the structure above with steel spreading plates in-between. The poles should be carrying the whole load (not just point loads). It may be necessary to use steel or leave the head in place to carry any centre loads.

Finally a word to the wise – a disclaimer signed by the householder does not remove the onus on the competent person to do a professional job.

Tech Talk Tuesday

24 Nov

DOORS – THRESHOLDS AND ACCESS

Mention door thresholds and their need to comply with Building Regulations and it’s common to assume this means wheelchair access. While this is an important consideration, it is not the only one. The requirement is that reasonable provision shall be made for people to gain access to the building.

This means thinking about all users, paying particular attention to wheelchair users and other people with mobility problems such as older or blind people.

When assessing any door’s need to comply with Approved Document M, the first items that need to be addressed are location and position. Approved Document M relates to the main access door, however best practice should be applied to all doors wherever possible.

The main door is usually the entrance that would normally be used after a person has exited from a vehicle and approached the property. In most cases this is the front door but do remember UK housing stock also has a large proportion of properties with main access to the rear of a building.

When surveying the door, the original threshold height should be measured and ideally any replacement should be no worse than that already in place. In some cases this is an impossible task – for example, timber doors on stone cills with no current threshold. In areas of low weather exposure a threshold of no greater than 35mm cill height should be installed, extending to 50mm in areas of high weather exposure.

The clear opening of the main access door must also be made no worse than the original provided the opening is less than 775mm. If the original is greater than this, then the opening may be reduced to 775mm. Measurement is always taken from the face of the door leaf when open at 900 to the edge of the frame on the latch side.

It is common practice when using PVC-U to use an “Add-on” profile down the hinge side to stop the hinges fouling on the plaster-line. Remember these profile pieces reduce the width of the door opening so the door should be properly assessed as to whether it needs them and to establish the smallest size required to obtain the desired result.

A problem with your conservatory?

19 Oct

Please be aware that the installation of a conservatory or porch falls outside the scope of the FENSA competent persons scheme. FENSA can only deal with complaints regarding non-compliance with the Building Regulations of replacement installations of windows, rooflights and doors, not porches or conservatories.

Here are a few points to bear in mind:

  • Conservatories and porches are not covered under the FENSA scheme because under the Building Regulations they are generally not considered to be part of the thermal envelope of the property.
  • If a conservatory is installed with integrated heating, then it becomes classified as being part of the thermal envelope of the building and therefore needs to comply with Building Regulations.  The installation would need to be referred to the relevant Local Authority Building Control, not the FENSA scheme.
  • Inner doors leading to the conservatory or porch (if they have 50% glazing or more) and have been replaced on a ‘like for like basis only’, do come under the scope of FENSA.

If you do need further help then we would advise you to contact one of the organisations below or any trade association that the company may belong to.

USEFUL CONTACTS:

 

FENSA publishes letter sent to The Times

25 Sep

This summer we decided to respond to an article that was published in The Times. In the article the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) implied that any window installation companies, and other trades involved in the domestic replacement sector, that were not signed up for Green Deal – and PAS2030 – were unlikely to provide a quality installation job.  We’ve asked The Times to consider publishing the following letter from FENSA.

builder

Dear Sirs

In a recent article published in The Times on May 2 The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) implied that any window installation companies (and other trades involved in the domestic replacement sector) that were not signed up for Green Deal – and PAS2030 – were unlikely to provide a quality installation job.

DECC’s actual words were: “The whole point in making people use approved companies is to ensure customers get the best service, installations are up to standard and we can audit it. This is public money — we have to be certain it is being spent properly and people are not being conned by rogue traders.”



FENSA, the largest glazing Competent Persons Scheme, on behalf of the installers of replacement windows and doors in domestic properties in England Wales, strongly refutes any such claim. We understand that a number of other trades agree with us.

The industry and Government are both well aware, that FENSA has implemented a raft of upgraded processes and standards over the last two years. These have included issues such as enhanced technical competencies for both installation businesses and individual operatives and consumer protection through mandatory Insurance Backed Guarantees.

These are all conditions set down by another arm of government – the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

FENSA registered businesses are also subject to a stringent inspection regime and are required to demonstrate the highest ever, technical competencies. All of this, contrary to what DECC claims, will provide consumers with the confidence that they will get a job well done.

FENSA is concerned that government departments seemingly are not communicating effectively with each other over a subject that is so important for all Competent Person Schemes in the building sector and which also has such a significant impact on the quality of work delivered for homeowners throughout the country.

FENSA in no way wants to denigrate the Green Deal initiative – it is a strong supporter of it and is in fact a Green Deal Certification body. However, claiming that only Green Deal approved installers can be trusted to deliver the goods is damaging to the many bona fide quality tradesmen who are carrying out home improvements to a high standard across the UK.

Yours Sincerely,

FENSA Managing Director

 

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