Archive | July, 2013

Update on Transition to Certified Installer

29 Jul

Here at FENSA we try to keep our installers as well informed as we can on industry developments. To that end we recently held our first installer question time.


It seemed pertinent to select ‘Transition to Certified Installer’ as the first topic for discussion as the transition inspections from Competent Person to Certified Installer status have begun. We have found that 30% of our installers are failing the inspections because they didn’t have the correct documentation available to the inspectors. This is not to say they didn’t actually have the documentation but that it wasn’t onsite. To avoid an inspection failure you must have all your paperwork in order and readily available to the inspector.

As a result of our installer question time we learnt that you may not be sure of the necessary documentation. Maybe you missed the email that was sent to all FENSA registered businesses recently.

So let’s see what you need to get organised before your inspection date.


1. FENSA Approved Insurance Backed Guarantee – Evidence of Provider & Membership No

2. Customer Contract with terms and conditions

3. Customer Specification Survey Sheet

4. Contract for Subcontractors

5. Health & Safety Document (if you have five or more employees)

6. Public Liability Insurance Certificate – min. £2m

7. Employment Liability Insurance Certificate – min. £10m.

8. Complaints Procedure

9. Staff Competency Form

It may look like a long and complicated list but if you break it down it mainly just contains documents that you have in folders in the office or stored on your computer. It is just a question of sorting it out and getting it out to the inspection site! A little organisation and work beforehand could help you avoid a failed transition inspection.

We want you to get it right and pass your inspection first time around. If you fail the inspection it will cost £130+VAT. Something definitely to be avoided!

The simple message is have all your transition documents onsite at your transition inspection for the inspectors to check.

In our helpful ‘FENSA’s Guide to the Transition’ is a document check list that you can work through to make sure you have everything you need. Just go to then on the main menu, click ‘Revised Scheme – Transition’. We are now holding regular installer question times, just keep an eye on @Fensa_Windows for the next one.

Health and Safety series: Are you a tidy person?

15 Jul


Are you a tidy person? Well if you are, you will find it helps you stay safe while working. Many injuries and accidents while working are related to poor housekeeping. By this we mean not keeping the workplace in good order and clean and tidy.




Each year around 1000 trips or slips on construction sites involve someone fracturing bones or dislocating joints. These incidents can cause permanent disablement and have a huge impact on both work and personal life. Many of these are caused simply because there is something in the person’s way, such as building materials or waste.


Take a look at this list of possible hazards and see if you are guilty of any of them!


  • Leaving trailing leads and cables across the floor where you and others are working
  • Not sweeping up and putting rubbish in the skip as you go
  • Leaving tools and equipment on routes to and from the work area where they can stop escape in the event of an emergency
  • Cluttering up the work area with tools and equipment so there is hardly any room to move
  • Tool boxes left around to be tripped over
  • Piling up deliveries around the work area
  • Leaving wood off cuts and packaging materials over the floor




Well that’s just a few examples of poor housekeeping, so let’s look at how we can improve our standards and safety.

  • Leave enough time to complete each task. When we are rushed and working at speed is can be difficult to stay tidy.
  • Make a plan on how to deal with waste. How often to take it to the skip or waste bin and who is going to do it! It can be useful to have a bin with wheels kept nearby to take the waste away at a later date.
  • Although this can be difficult to coordinate, try to have deliveries of materials as and when you need to use them. This avoids the problem of piles of materials around which can topple or obstruct access routes.
  • A good alternative to those training power leads over the floor  is to use 110 volt or battery-operated portable tools




This very useful guide from the HSE ‘High 5’ for small construction sites and businesses contains helpful tips and advice on good housekeeping.


What are your top tips to ensure your workplace is clean and tidy?  Please let us know in the comments below.


Also don’t forget if you employ five or more people you must have a written health and safety policy.


The GGF has recently published a new updated version of the  “Working at Height Code of Practice – Safety in the Domestic Replacement Window Industry”  brochure.

Building Blocks Series 9: Osborne House

15 Jul


The next building in our Building Blocks series may evoke childhood memories of sunshine, sandy beaches and ice cream. Where is it you may wonder? Sitting on the most southerly point of the UK is a wonderful part of our heritage in the form of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.


Source Wikimedia Commons

Source Wikimedia Commons


In case you know little about this magnificent building, here is some background information.

Osborne House, although it is more like a small palace, was built in 1845-1851 for Queen Victoria and was actually designed in part by Prince Albert. The royal couple used the house, set in its idyllic location, as a summer retreat to escape the stresses of their position and enjoy time with their many children. On Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, Osborne House was given to the nation and is today managed by English Heritage. It is an interesting place to visit with beautiful grounds, where you may be lucky and see a red squirrel. Recently the private beach was made accessible as well.

So there you have a very concise history of Osborne House but what about the windows?

As a Listed Building you will not find any replacement double glazing. However to maintain such a historic and important building is a huge task and together with the exterior of the whole house, the windows underwent a complete restoration.

We are lucky to have a firsthand account of how the windows were renovated from one of the carpenters involved in the restoration.

The windows are predominantly boxed sashes with Georgian bars of Brazilian mahogany which were originally made in Scotland. When the windows were examined they were found to be in remarkably good repair considering their age and the corrosive nature of the surrounding sea air.

The main areas of concern were broken panes and rotted Georgian bars and beads. To undertake the repairs was a mammoth task. Before the repairs could be started, the bars and beads were copied and new ones meticulously carved from the same high quality Brazilian mahogany. A high number of sash cords were found to be broken and replacements had to be sourced. As each sash was removed, it was numbered and identified to ensure it went back in the same place!

It was more problematic to fix the broken panes of glass as that type of glass is no longer manufactured. An ingenious way of overcoming this problem was to use thin greenhouse glass.

This attention to detail and care for our historic buildings has ensured that Osborne House will survive to be enjoyed by many generations to come.


Source Wikimedia Commons

Source Wikimedia Commons


If you have visited Osborne House let us know what you thought of the windows.

If you want to check what type of windows fall under Building Regulations there is more information here

Trusted Training

5 Jul

We were talking the other day at FENSA just how much our FENSA registered companies have to be knowledgeable about, from window installation and surveying skills right up to business management.

Now that covers a very broad spectrum and may seem a bit daunting. Not to worry though, as well as FENSA’s own training courses and seminars, FENSA Training is also available to you.

fensa training

We are always thinking of ways to help our FENSA Fitters and what better way than with training, knowledge and support? With that in mind in 2009 FENSA partnered with Borough Training, an organisation which already provided glazing training.  FENSA Training was born.

The training is made easily accessible as the courses are either held in centres and seminar rooms or can be held in your own premises. This can be very useful if there are several installers who want to do a particular course or there is a lot of travelling involved.



As the courses run for one day and are at a reduced cost to our installers, there is minimal impact on the working week. All the courses are self contained and open to all, as you do not need to have had any previous training.  Even getting a place on your desired course is designed with ease in mind as there is an online booking system

So if you feel there is a gap in your knowledge or if you just want to further your personal development, you can check out the course schedule to find a suitable course.

If you have attended one of the courses, do let us know what you thought of it in the comments box below