Tech Talk Tuesday

24 Nov


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.



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.


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


Peace of mind with FENSA

2 Sep

A FENSA registered installer guarantees your job meeting Building Regulations. The installers have been vetted and undergone inspections to enable them to self-certify that their work passes Building Regulations.

FENSA is the first glazing self-certification scheme to start in the UK, they have 12 years of raising standards in the glazing industry since it was established in 2002, and it continues to work closely with government and industry. FENSA installers are continually vetted and inspected to ensure that compliance with the Building Regulation standards is being maintained.


On completion of the work you, the homeowner, will receive a FENSA certificate soon after the job is finished. This needs to be kept safe as it will be requested by the solicitor when you come to sell your home.

Benefits of FENSA

Other than knowing your windows and doors are being fitted to the high standard demanded by Building Regulations there are more benefits of using a FENSA installer:

  • Offer Guarantee/Warranty: to cover the costs of completing rectification work in respect of defect.
  • Insurance to back up the guarantee/warranty in the event the installer ceases to trade.
  • Deposit Protection
  • Replacement certificates – Can be ordered online. FENSA can offer support to your solicitor when tracing missing certificates during the sale of your property

How to get the best from your installer

Here are some hints and tips for when you are searching for your window and door installer (or indeed any contractor), and some practical steps to take when dealing with them.

  • Get recommendations from family and friends.
  • Shop around and ask for references – and follow them up!
  • Get everything in writing – including cost estimates, timeframes, product selected etc
  • Ask three installers to quote for your project.
  • Ask them what insurance they provide – for things such as deposit protection.
  • Check your installers’ credentials. If they claim Competent Person Scheme registration they will be listed on the relevant website:

If you decide to go with an installer not FENSA registered you will need to organise an inspection of your installation job by your local building inspector. This can cost up to £250. If the installation is deemed to be below standard then the homeowner will be responsible for sorting out any problems. This is why we highly recommend using a Competent Persons Scheme like ourselves.

Beware Rogue Traders

We would also like to make you aware that not all window and door companies who claim to be registered with a Competent Persons Scheme actually are. So the only way to guarantee that the company you are using achieves this standard is by searching for your installer through a Competent Persons Scheme website such as FENSA. We have a tool on our website which allows you to search for a FENSA registered business.

For further information about FENSA visit the website

Or contact the FENSA team on 020 7645 3700 or

New IBG requirement

26 Jun

This month it became a Government requirement for Competent Person Schemes within the replacement glazing industry in England and Wales to ensure that their Registered Businesses provide all replacing windows/doors domestic customers with an Insurance Back Guarantee (IBG), rather than just offer one.

This change applies to all Competent Person Schemes not just FENSA.

To help its Registered Businesses FENSA has compiled a list of Approved IBG Providers (Insurance companies) to fit the new IBG. All insurance companies listed have been the subject of due diligence by FENSA that has involved checking the cover provided in the policies that will be sold to homeowners.

FENSA Approved Insurance Providers
(In alphabetical order)

GGFi Limited
T: 0870 850 8281

Home Improvement Protection (HIP)
T: 01359 252202

HomePro Insurance
T: 08707 344344

T: 01268 779782

Independent Warranty (IWA)
T: 01604 604511

Installations Assured
T: 01234 841110

Insured Windows Guarantees Ltd (IWG)
T: 01924 783650 or 08000 730506

IPWFI Insurance
T: 0844 800 4125

NHG Guarantees
T: 07917 448688

Plastic Window Federation (PWF)
T: 01582 456147

Quality Assured National Warranties (QANW)
T: 01292 292701

The Consumer Protection Association (CPA)
T: 01462 850062

The Underwritten Warranty Company
Trading As The Insurance Backed Guarantee Company
T: 08450538975 or 08456343771


Due to the new requirements some IBG providers will no longer fulfil the necessary criteria to sell these policies. FENSA is continually working with insurance companies to enable them to become part of FENSA’s Approved IBG Provider list.

If your insurance company is not on FENSA’s Approved IBG Provider list, you will need to make arrangements to switch supplier to one of FENSA’s approved companies as soon as possible.

All FENSA registered businesses have been supplied with the updated list directly.

If FENSA Registered Businesses have any questions about IBGs please telephone 020 7397 7208 or email


FENSA at The FIT Show 2014

19 Jun

The Fabricator Installer Trade Show saw its second year at the International Centre in Telford and FENSA was part of the three-day event.

The number of installers visiting the show seemed to be down slightly on last year but the number of visitors wanting to speak to the FENSA team was high and we dealt with a large number of enquiries.

The level of enquiries was to be expected given the number of changes for installers this month. Transition to Certified Installers, Minimum Technical Competence (MTC) compliance and changes to IBGs all came into effect just prior to The FIT Show on 6 June.


To give you all a summary of the types of questions the FENSA team were asked here are a few below:

Transition to Certified Installer

Q: My FENSA account has been frozen because I have not passed a Transition inspection. What do I do?

A: You need to book a Transition inspection between now and 1st September 2014 and your FENSA account will be unfrozen. Ring or email the Transition Helpdesk – Tel 020 7397 7208 or

Q: But you checked my documentation when I joined!

A: If you joined FENSA after July 2013, then you do not need to undergo the Transition Inspection, this is only applicable to companies who have joined FENSA prior to Jul 2013. Once you have passed it, you do not need to have them checked again for another 3 years.

Q: I have my Transition Inspection documents ready but am waiting for my MTC card before I book the inspection.

A: Please do not delay and wait to get your MTC done first. Both the Transition Inspection and the MTC need to be done at the earliest opportunity. They are two different things – Transitions assess the technical competence at the company level, MTCs are at the individual level.


Q: What do I need to do to sort out MTCs?

A: One solution is to register for the FENSA MTC Card – either through experience or qualifications. At FIT we took installers next door where GGF Training could sign people up there and then. If you’d like to book in then please contact GGF Training today (tel/0844 848 2855 or

Q: I’ve been doing this for 40 years why do I need one?

A: You don’t need one if your work is approved by Local Authority Building Control. If your employer is self-certifying with a scheme like FENSA, you are required to comply with the industry’s MTC requirements. Your industry experience still counts – a minimum of two years is required which is self-declared and verified by taking a Knowledge Test and an Onsite Assessment.


Q: Is FENSA making money out of all these IBG policies now required?

A: FENSA does not earn a penny from the sales of IBGs – either now or in the past.

Q: My insurance company is not on FENSA’s Approved IBG Provider List. Do I have to change my IBG provider?

A: Yes. You will need to immediately contact your insurance company and advise them of the requirement. You may find that they are in the process of approval and then you need not take any action. If your supplier is not prepared to apply to become approved by FENSA then you will need to change your supplier.

If you need any further information on any of these topics please call:

Transitions and IBG – FENSA on 020 7397 7208

MTCs – GGF Training on 0844 848 2855


Master Fitter Challenge


In addition to meeting our registered businesses and offering guidance on the topics above the main highlight of the show was the Master Fitter Challenge. FENSA sponsored the event as part of its commitment to promoting best practice among fitters.

The eight finalists were David Pulford and Jack Elm from Everest, David Keats and Jonathon Mountford from DK Windows, Steven Price and Terry Griffin from Conwy Valley Windows and Conservatories, Karl Kinsey and Paul Casbolt from Yes Glazing Solutions, Scott Higgs and colleague from Walkers Windows, Dave Eagles and colleague from Xavier Windows, Craig Hanson from Pennine Trade and Retail and last year’s winner Arron Clegg working with his father Andy from Eco-Sash.

Spectators looked on as the finalists competed against one another over the first two days of the show. An individual GQA inspector was assigned to each team who were each tasked with replacing a bay window, installing a residential composite door and fault-finding a second resi-door.

Taking this year’s title were Karl Kinsey and Paul Casbolt from Yes Glazing Solutions with runners ups prizes going to Conwy Valley and Eco-Sash.

YesGlazing Winner

We would like to congratulate all the winners on their success!

FENSA announces sanctions for non-compliance

4 Jun

FENSA has received confirmation from UKAS* that it has met the Conditions of Authorisation required by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) – the rules under which FENSA operates. This means that it has been accepted that a successfully transitioned FENSA Certified installation company will have met all the competency requirements of Transition – including for staff competence.

The FENSA certification approach requires the introduction of a sanctions policy that will be levelled at those registered businesses that do not complete a Transition Inspection by the deadline of 6 June 2014.

These are the details:

A non-transitioned registered business will find its FENSA account frozen from 9 June (and will be informed of this at the point of notification on the FENSA website). To unfreeze the account, the installer will need to contact FENSA via the dedicated Transition Helpline or Email (020 7397 7208 /

These businesses will be required to make a commitment to undertake a Transition Inspection before the 1st September 2014. Immediately they make that commitment the FENSA account will be unfrozen. The FENSA inspections body (the BBA) will then be in contact to arrange this Transition Inspection.

Registered Businesses with ‘frozen’ FENSA accounts will be prevented from registering notifiable installations and will no longer have the company listing publicly available on the FENSA website.

From the 1st September 2014, where Non-Transitioned registered businesses fail to follow these procedures and fail to inform FENSA of a notifiable installation for a Transition Inspection, the following additional sanctions will apply. The FENSA account will be frozen until a Transition Inspection has been successfully undertaken and failure to complete a Transition Inspection by the 31st December 2014 may result in the registration being suspended and the issuing of a 28-day notice of registration removal.


The position regarding Minimum Technical Competencies (MTCs) is clarified as follows.

Up to 31 May 2015 a FENSA registered company is required to employ operatives (installers and surveyors) who are deemed competent, or are adequately supervised by competent colleagues, to ensure that a job complies with Building Regulations and is safely completed. Demonstration of competence during this period could be by the holding of an industry recognised competency card and/or qualification.

The FENSA registered business will need to record that its staff comply by maintaining a register of approved surveyors and installers. This Staff Competency Register will be available on the FENSA website.

After 31 May 2015 all relevant installers, surveyors and installer/surveyors will need to prove competency – by holding a recognised card or relevant qualification.

Chris Mayne, FENSA managing director commented: “FENSA, and the other glazing CPSs, operate under 21 Conditions of Authorisation set down by the government (DCLG). FENSA is assessed against these Conditions by UKAS. Condition 9, which all CPSs have to meet, requires us to assess registered businesses on technical competency against national occupational standards under MTC.” Mayne adds: “This means that our registered businesses that have transitioned to Certified Installer will be deemed compliant.”

“To help the industry achieve this FENSA will be launching a Staff Competency Register in the summer (available online to companies that have Transitioned) for companies to record the status of their employees and sub-contractors. Compliance will be assessed by BBA during its usual inspections.”

“However, the competency requirements move forward, post 31 May 2015, to focus on the individual installers and surveyors. All operatives who work for self-certifying installation companies will need to hold a competency card (like the FENSA MTC Card) or relevant qualifications. They will need to demonstrate that this is the case.”

There will be sanctions in place that will apply to companies that do not follow this procedure – and they will include inspections, re-inspections, suspensions and potential cancellation of FENSA registration.

The employment of competent operatives by self-certifying installation businesses is a requirement of all glazing Competence Person Schemes. If a company wishes to continue self-certifying it will need to state that it has a competent workforce. The easiest route to achieve this is by getting its operatives registered for the FENSA MTC Card – and selecting either the industry experience or qualifications route –

*UK Accreditation Service (UKAS) – is the sole national accreditation body recognised by government to assess against agreed standards for organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection & calibration services.


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