Cowboy Conundrums

11 Mar

We have been speaking with a lot of FENSA Fitters lately about cowboys, and their concerns, and we just wanted to clarify some information with you, and set the record straight. We have written quite a lot of blogs about cowboys recently, but it is important to our Fitters, and so is a real priority for us.

Basically, if you are an installer, you might be worried about cowboys giving the industry a bad reputation. Well first of all, we wanted to reassure you that there is not as much of a problem as  you might think with cowboys – a recent report by Consumer Direct found that found that double glazing and conservatory installers did not feature in the trades people complained about most of all, and this is obviously a very positive thing for the industry.

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Nevertheless, if you are a FENSA installer fitting energy-rated compliant windows, you may be worried about other installers that might not be fitting windows that are compliant with building regulations, and want to know how this could impact on the reputation of the industry overall. Well, there are 2 points to make here:

Misuse of the FENSA logo by companies that are not FENSA Registered. Although cowboys are in the minority, at FENSA we take any misuse of the FENSA logo or failure to certify compliance with building regulations very seriously, because the FENSA badge is recognised by consumers.  This is unfair for FENSA Fitters who have made the effort to comply with the eligibility criteria of FENSA registration, have been vetted and are regularly and independently assessed. This is why we have the cowboy stoppers website where cowboys should be reported so we can take action. If you suspect and have evidence that an installer is misusing the FENSA logo, not self certifying with a scheme like FENSA or obtaining approval from Building Control, you can submit this information online anonymously on We have taken action against cowboys a number of times, you can check out some of the installer prosecutions here. To further support our Fitters, we provide a Consumer Guide to Cowboys, containing hints and tips to recognise a cowboy.

Regular inspections for Compliance for FENSA Fitters: On the other hand if a company is registered with FENSA, they can self certify compliance, but are still subject to regular independent inspections for building regulations compliance, so we can maintain confidence in the industry. Inspections are normally carried out on 1% of each business’s installations, subject to a minimum of 2 per year and a maximum of 100. The majority of installations inspected do meet the compliance criteria, but again, in the rare event of a failed inspection, FENSA takes things very seriously. We will always insist on the rectification of any job that is sub-standard of building regulations. Failure to comply results in removal from the FENSA scheme with no exceptions. What is more, companies that are found to fail inspections will be assessed more often (this is in line with guidance from the Communities and Local Government Department).

So you can see that we are working hard  with the industry to deal with cowboys that misuse the FENSA logo, and to ensure FENSA Fitters are vetted regularly for compliance with building regulations.


If you want to talk more about cowboys, or have any further feedback or questions, you can share them in the comments box below, or you can attend our next FENSA focus group in Manchester on the 17th March (Contact for more details).

3 Responses to “Cowboy Conundrums”

  1. double glaze me November 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    We found that becoming part of the FENSA system brought in far more work as it verified that our work was above board concerning our installed materials, that we were going to be regulated and the fact that any customer can search on line at the FENSA website to clarify registration .
    it brought in far more work than previously and helped us look established in difficult times with plenty of competition. Our customers also like to receive the certificate to finish off the whole process 🙂

  2. double glazing newport January 9, 2013 at 7:04 am #

    I recently came across your page and have been reading along. I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog.

  3. max thornton February 24, 2014 at 12:52 pm #

    No one like cowboys! Great site keep up the good work, there is not enough double glazing industry news websites out there!!!

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