Archive | July, 2012

Update on the Green Deal for Installers

27 Jul

The Government’s Green Deal could have a significant impact on the market for replacement windows and doors.  However, as with all major, new initiatives, there is a lot of discussion and decisions taking place before the final product is launched. Inevitably, there is also dissent. You may have heard that the GGF was asked to take legal action against the government, as some people are worried the Green Deal will not benefit smaller companies. 

The GGF has decided not to take this action, as they feel it is better to continue working with the government rather than against it, as that way, they can better represent the double glazing industry and make the Green Deal work for all companies regardless of size, status or profile.

Therefore, given all the discussions and questions, we have put this blog post together to help our installers better understand what the Green Deal means for them. Please take a look and share it with your colleagues too. Any questions? Just add them in the comments box below and we will do our best to answer them

Just what is the Green Deal again?

Green Deal is the Government’s leading environmental initiative allowing homeowners to finance the installation of energy efficient windows and doors through the future savings on their energy bills.  But only Green Deal certified window installation companies can to do this work, operating through an official Green Deal ‘Provider’.

Joining the Green Deal

FENSA is able to offer its Registered Businesses the opportunity to benefit from any work generated by providing them with a quick and easy route to Green Deal certification and initiating the relationship with their Green Deal ‘Provider’.

The FENSA UKAS certification that we shared with you in June has allowed us to provide this certification process for the Green Deal back to our installers. If you are not sure of the details, have another look and refresh your memory.

The Green Deal Requirements

  1.  Window companies will need to be certified to PAS 2030.  This is a new BSI standard covering “Improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings and specification for installation process, process management and service provision.”  The full pack of the required documentation is available from www.BSigroup.com and costs £95.
  2. Green Deal certified installation companies will be subject to audits of management processes at their main office or place of business by registered FENSA inspectors.
  3. There will also be a requirement for full consumer protection insurance and processes to be in place.

Don’t want to sign up to be Green Deal certified?

That’s fine.Becoming a Green Deal Certified Installer is optional. However, it will give companies a commercial advantage when it comes to winning Green Deal work. Please remember, there are also new Competent Person Scheme requirements that are mandatory. You will have received an email but these are also detailed in this blog post. We will be providing guidance on these new regulations over the next few months.

So where does all this leave you, we hear you ask! The bottom line is FENSA will help Registered Businesses to sign up as a Green Deal supplier and take advantage of the Green Deal Benefits. We will soon be publishing our ‘Guide to The Green Deal’ and will be notifying our installers of the launch of the FENSA Green Deal sign up, by email, after the summer holidays.

So, as they say ‘watch this space’

Breaking down the new requirements for Competent Person Schemes

19 Jul

Following publication by the Department for Communities and Local Government of its new requirements for Competent Person Schemes, all Scheme operators are required to comply by assessing existing registered glazing installation companies against the newly extended and ‘improved’ processes.

Now if you are an installer, we know what you may be thinking? Haven’t you got enough to think about already? Time to step back and look at what this really means.

New requirements for Competent Person Schemes

New requirements for Competent Person Schemes

Yes, there will be changes but here at FENSA, we have been preparing for these changes for several months. We will be here to help our Registered Businesses through the process quickly and easily and there will be two-year transition to do it in. So, no worries, plenty of time.

Ok so no need to panic! But still, what does it all mean?

FENSA has to assess existing and newly registered glazing installation companies on their technical competency, including a revised on-site inspection regime. There will be a ‘FENSA New Requirements Guide’ published, which we will send to all our Registered Businesses.

Also we should remember these new regulations are aiming to improve “consistency and transparency, enhancing quality assurance and improving the level of compliance with the Building Regulations”

This is just a rather long winded way of saying; it’s a great way of raising standards across our industry, which will be fantastic for everybody!

So overall, the plan if you are an installer is to be aware of the changes but not to let it dominate your thoughts as the transition will be smooth and painless and we will be there to help you every step of the way!

If you are a consumer, be assured that this is good news for the development of the glazing industry.

And as they say in any good blog, any questions just ask! We are here for you.

The FENSA remit

12 Jul

Over the past few weeks we have been speaking on social media (mainly our Twitter and Facebook page) with consumers who are unclear as to the FENSA remit.

Look for the FENSA logo when selecting a window installer

Remit and Scope

So what is FENSA’s remit? Well essentially, the FENSA remit covers the installation and compliance of windows in accordance to Building Control regulations, for companies that are FENSA registered. FENSA can also act against companies that misuse the FENSA logo or use it when they are not Registered Installers.

If an installer doesn’t meet the standards set out by the building regulations, then FENSA will try to ensure that the installer corrects the installation at no additional charge to the consumer. In addition, FENSA will ensure that the company in question has more of its installations independently inspected (than the norm) to ensure building regulations are met and standards maintained.

FENSA also proactively protects consumers from cowboys – not only by withholding the scheme from those unable to pass FENSA’s independent assessments; but also by reporting to Local Authorities and Trading Standards companies who erroneously claim FENSA registration. Any company found to be misusing the FENSA logo / claiming to be a part of the scheme when they are not, will be prosecuted.

 

Confidence in FENSA installers

All FENSA registered companies are continually re-assessed by an independent inspection body to ensure consistence of Building Regulations adherence and service. An independent report commissioned by the Government found FENSA to be the most successful of all Competent Person Schemes to date in theUK, across all industries. This makes FENSA the brand that is trusted by all local authorities, industry and government, not to mention consumers.

The FENSA remit does not demand any specific brand, this means homeowners and installers have a freedom of choice when it comes to their chosen windows and doors. In addition, customers are able to provide a rating score for installers on a feedback form provided.

 

Knowing who to complain to…

We all know that unfortunately, in very rare occasions, something may go wrong when you are having your windows installed. One of the hardest things is knowing where to take a complaint. First off, if you have any doubt, please feel free to contact FENSA and we will point you in the right direction – if it is something we cannot deal with ourselves.

For complaints regarding a FENSA Registered company’s installation work, please follow our complaints procedure which can be found at http://www.fensa.co.uk/faqs.aspx#

For misuse of the FENSA logo, or if you wish to report a company that claims to be FENSA registered, though you believe they are not, please contact www.cowboystoppers.co.uk (Anyone or company can report a cowboy)

For the mis-selling of products / services from any installer, please contact Trading Standards.

For any complaints against a company regarding work, pricing, invoices etc please complain to The Glazing Ombudsman (TGO – if they are a part of the TGO scheme)

Please note you can contact us via our website, via email, enquiries@FENSA.org.uk or via our Twitter, or Facebook if you prefer.

How is a double glazed window made?

12 Jul

With all this talk of double glazing and its benefits,  a thought sprung to mind. How many of us actually know what goes in to making a double glazed window? Ok we know some of you are now saying, yes that’s easy, but for those shaking their heads and thinking that’s an interesting question, here goes!

open window

Let’s start with a little history. The double glazed window was invented way back in the 1930s, and was commonly available in America in the 1950s under the Thermopane brand name, and registered in 1941 by Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company. Now many decades later, the manufacturing process is well established.

A double glazing window comprises two panes of glass, separated by a spacer bar and seals, to create a hermetically-sealed environment. An adhesive sealant is applied to the face of the spacer on each side and the panes pressed against the spacer.The cavity is filled under vacuum conditions with either air or an inert (unreactive) gas like argon to improve insulation and prevent condensation within the unit. As the air or inert gas are poor conductors of heat, there is a great insulation effect. The filled gap between the two sheets of glass reduces the heat conduction between the panes, keeping the warm air in and the cold air out! This makes the home more energy efficient and reduces the bills. Great news for us !

If the double glazed unit is gas filled, two holes are drilled into the spacer of the assembled unit, lines are attached to draw out the air out of the space and replacing it with the desired gas. The lines are then removed and holes sealed to contain the gas. The more modern technique is to use an online gas filler, which eliminates the need to drill holes in the spacer. The units are then sealed on the edge side using either polysulphide or silicone sealant to prevent humid outside air from entering the unit. This will make sure that no condensation of the glass panes facing the air space during cold weather will occur.

The humble double glazed window has come a long way, from the original double glazed sealed units of two sheets of float glass with a very small spacer bar, to today’s high specification and more energy efficient double glazed sealed units, with toughened safety glass, wide spacer bars and sometimes a film on the glass which allows the double glazed unit to clean itself.  Who could ask for more ?!

Well there you have it in a nutshell. We could keep going with more information on thermal performance,  heat insulating properties,  acoustic insulating properties, longevity,  estimating heat loss from double glazed windows, etc, but we will keep that for another time!