Archive | April, 2011

Ask the Experts

27 Apr

With the numerous bank holidays looming, there is often 2 words on people’s lips, ‘Home Improvement’. We often see the bank holidays as a time to make improvements to our house, whether this is DIY, or something that requires a more skilled professional. Now, if you are thinking the outside of your house, particularly the windows, needs a bit of a facelift, but are bit worried about what might need doing, then you might want to continue reading this blog…

We wanted to let you know about our discussion section on our Facebook page that we have set up to capitalise on the technical skills and knowledge of our FENSA Fitters. So basically this discussion board is a way for you to ‘Ask the Experts’ about anything and everything to do with windows. So if you have any questions about window installation; energy ratings of your windows; or
compliance with building regulations, please just ask them on that discussion

shutterstock_48813688 H&S

To our Fitters, we ask you to get involved, show off your knowledge, and help us answer the questions for consumers!

Do make use of our ‘Ask the Experts’ discussion board,
and let us know how any Bank Holiday House Improvement projects have gone..

FENSA Royal Window Competition

27 Apr
Name the building...

Can you name the building?

To celebrate the Royal Wedding, we are inviting you to enter FENSA’s Royal Window competition, where you could win £100 of B & Q vouchers. Check out this photo
of the windows in a Royal building, and let us know where you think it is.

To enter, simply email with your full name, full address and let us know where you think the windows are. We will then hold a prize draw out of all correct answers.

Not sure where the window is? We will be putting different tips onto our Facebook
page, on this blog, and on our Twitter account, so make sure you check them out.

The closing date for entries is 5.00pm on Friday 27 May 2011.

For more details on the competition, and T and Cs, go here

Win a pair of tickets to Grand Designs Live, from FENSA

26 Apr
Grand Designs Live

Win Free tickets

What is it?

  • Win a pair of FREE tickets to Grand Designs Live.
  • Four pairs (each pair worth £36)  are available for grabs from FENSA.

How to win?

  • Email with the subject line ‘FREE Grand Designs Live Ticket’
  • State your  1)full name 2)full postal address and 3)telephone number
  • Deadline for entries is Friday 29 April @ 12noon.
  • The four winners will be emailed on Saturday 29 April 2011 and the tickets posted to them on this date.

About Grand Designs Live

  • What is it:    Consumer show exhibition for self build,
    design, interiors and innovation. It will be held at the Excel London
  • Where: London Excel
  • When: Saturday 30th April – Sunday 8 May (Starts this weekend and runs for a week)

Competition Terms and Conditions:

  1. The closing date for the draw is 12noon on Saturday 29 April 2011.
  2. The four winners will be emailed on Saturday 29 April 2011 and the tickets posted to them on this date.
  3. The Competition Promoter is FENSA Ltd.
  4. Employees of FENSA are not eligible to enter.
  5. No purchase is necessary.
  6. No cash alternative is available.
  7. Those entering FENSA’s  ‘FREE Grand Designs Live Ticket’ petition’ must be over 18.
  8. Only one entry per person can be considered.
  9. Proof of submission will not constitute proof of delivery and no responsibility will be accepted for lost, corrupted, delayed or mislaid entries.
  10. FENSA reserves the right to publish the names of the winner.
  11. FENSA reserves the right to terminate or change the deadline of the competition.
  12. By entering this competition, the winner agrees to participate in any requested publicity.
  13. The Judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  14. By entering the competition, entrants hereby agree to be bound by these rules as amended from time to time, and by any competition instructions.

Competent Persons and Independent Inspectors

21 Apr

We have been engaged in a number of discussions lately on a number of different forums, some focused more for consumers, some for window installers. What has been interesting is a number of questions we have received that “overlap” to an extent. So with this in mind, we have put together this post to answer these questions in a single forum, making it easier for consumers and installers to find and read, and easier for us to communicate (all in the one place).

Right, here is that list of questions we have been asked:

  1. What is a Competent Person Scheme?
  2. What is the benefit of a Competent Person Scheme to consumers when not 100% of installations are checked?
  3. Why does FENSA use an independent inspection body?
  4. Why does FENSA choose the BBA as its independent inspection body
  5. What tools can inspectors use to inspect window installation

Competent Person Scheme

Members of these competent person schemes can self-certify that their work complies with the building regulations, as opposed to needing to submit building notices and therefore avoiding local authority inspection fees for consumers.

For more information on Competent Person Schemes please visit the Communities and Local Government website, or follow this link


What’s the benefit of a Competent Person Scheme?

These schemes aim to improve training within an industry, raise skill levels and ultimately competence of those employed in completing the work necessary. Members are able to self-certify their work, which removes thetime, cost and hassle with submitting a building notice to the local authority.

Competent Person Schemes are very popular as they prove to be the most practical way of enforcing regulations across a complete industry. FENSA is a competent person scheme and so is Gas Safe.

Such schemes ensure consumers can feel confident that the work on their house will be compliant with the building regulations. In addition, members of schemes have their work regularly checked.  In the case of FENSA registration; installers have their work inspected by an independent inspection body, the BBA. These inspections are carried out to continually check competency levels, and to 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.

To date, over 9,000 companies nationwide have joined FENSA, all of which are regularly inspected and re-assessed by the BBA. In an independent report commissioned by the Government, FENSA was found to be the most successful of all competent person schemes to date in the UK, across all industries. For more information on the benefits of using a FENSA installer, follow this link

Benefits of these schemes aren’t just limited to the consumer. There are a range of benefits of being FENSA registered, such as seminars on building regulation updates and access to discounted training, technical helpline and many more. If you are an installer and want to know more, then follow this link to our website:

Why does FENSA use an independent inspection body?

By using an independent inspection body, FENSA ensures that every inspection carried out is in the interest of the consumer, and that the outcome cannot be influenced by the installer or by FENSA. This means that the consumer can be 100% confident that each inspection is purely measured against the building regulations.

In addition, FENSA is a competent person scheme, and as such, acknowledges that inspections should be carried out by dedicated professionals.

Inspections are not necessary for each and every installation, if they did, this would negate many of the benefits of Competent Person Schemes. By regularly inspecting an installer’s work, we check though that their levels of competency are being maintained, that their work meets building standards and that in the result of any failing, that the work is put right. Failure to do so results in expulsion from the FENSA scheme.

Why the BBA for independent inspections?

The BBA is well known within the building industry, they are audited by UKAS to ISO 17020, and were the first and as far as we know, still are the only UKAS accredited inspection service provider for the installation of windows and doors.

What tools can an inspector use?

This question really is for installers out there, so you may find it a little technical if you are a consumer.

There are a number of tools at the disposal of an inspector, however not all inspectors have access to all tools all of the time, and not all tools are required for all window installations. Tools that have been asked about in other forums include:

  • Soft Coat detection
  • Hard Coat detection
  • Gas detection

All of these tools are available to BBA inspectors, though not 100% of the time.  This currently is true for access to the gas detection equipment, due to the fact that its long term effectiveness reliability has not yet been proven, though initial indications are encouraging.

In an additional question, we were asked “how do you test for low iron to verify an equivalent spec?” In response to this, onsite tests are undertaken with hard and soft coat detectors and there it is not considered essential to determine iron content. The BBA are working with key equipment suppliers and glass manufacturers to identify where this may be an issue and to propose other methods of detection…

Summing up…

To sum up, it’s great to be asked so many questions and to engage with you all. We hope we have answered the majority of questions we have been asked in the past week or so, but please feel free to comment / ask related questions on this post. We are always happy to respond.

Talk soon…