Archive | August, 2013

Health and Safety Series: Keeping Safe

30 Aug

How do you keep yourself and others safe in the work place? When you are installing windows you are responsible for the safety of your customers and the members of their family. You have to think about members of the public as well. Even the postman could walk up the path and trip over your drill! We know that is a lot to consider and to help we have compiled a list of our Top Safety Tips. No doubt you will have taken most of these on board but there may be one or two that will prove to be very useful for you.

Comp tools

  • Always wear the correct PPE for the job you are doing. Don’t be tempted to take shortcuts because the weather is warm or you are in a hurry. Not wearing your safety goggles could result in an injury keeping you off work for weeks. It is far better to be safe than sorry.
  • Make sure your glazing materials are stacked safely and securely. This is particularly pertinent for the safety of your customers.
  • As we mentioned earlier keep all pathways and areas where members of the public walk, free of tools and debris. Children are ever inquisitive and may well be running around while you are working. If at all possible keep doors to where you are working closed.
  • The last thing you want to happen when you are fitting your new windows is to injure yourself. There could be all sorts of repercussions. Your customer may not be happy with the delay and your whole schedule could end up being compromised. Avoid injuries like pulling your back by working within your limits. Take a course on how to lift correctly and do not attempt to lift something on your own if it is a two man job!
  • If you do injure yourself such as a deep cut, deal with the situation at once. Often an ensuing infection can be far worse than the injury itself. Make sure your Tetanus vaccinations are up to date. A well-stocked First Aid kit can be very useful. It can be in your best interests to attend a first aid course to ensure you are update with techniques and treatments.
  • Use the correct tool for the job. This may sound obvious but we are probably all guilty of taking a quick shortcut if the correct tool is not to hand. This is a recipe for disaster and can cause injury.
  • As waste and debris starts to accumulate, deal with it! Sweep it up and clear your work area. Don’t leave pieces of old timber laying around with nails in and broken glass. It is good practice to get in the habit of working in a tidy fashion as we discussed in our previous blog ‘Are you a tidy person?’

So, there are some good tips and advice to think about. We would enjoy reading about your safety tips. If you would like to share them just jot them down in the comments below.

Choosing Your Windows

23 Aug

One of the most important things to consider when you decide to replace your old windows is which type of window to choose. There are many different styles of double glazed windows to suit our many styles of property. In this blog post we will just tell you about some of the different types so you can make an informed decision.

  • One type of window is the casement window. These tend to suit larger properties as they are hinged rather like a door and can open inwards or out away from the property. They let in a lot of light and are very versatile.
  • Tilt and Turn windows are another flexible alternative. As the name suggests this type of window can be opened from the side as a traditional window but also from the top. This makes them popular with families as they open more safely but there is still a nice through draught in hot weather. Oh and they also make window cleaning much easier!
  • If you have an older style property you will find the next type of window of great interest. Georgian Bar windows resemble the windows that were seen on Georgian properties. This makes them perfect for older properties making the seamless match with modern technology but still in keeping with the distinctive look of the property.
  • A very traditional style of window is the sash window. These windows open with one or two glazed panels that slide up and down vertically with the use of weights and pulleys. These were very popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras. The original windows were prone to rot and rattling in the wind but with the advent of modern double glazed windows, it is possible to have them installed in your property and still retain the look of traditional sash windows. You can even have them with the weight and pulley system.

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Ok let’s look at another factor which needs to be considered in your choice of double glazed windows. What sort of frame do you want your windows to sit in?

Basically there are three types of frame:

PVCu or UPVC

  • PVC frames are very popular for a number of reasons. They are usually the lowest cost option, provide good insulation and there is little maintenance required. An added bonus is that the frames are available in different colours including ones that resemble wood grain. They are not the strongest frames and can sometimes be reinforced with galvanised steel when necessary.

Timber

  • Timber frames can be very expensive as they are made from varieties of hardwood such as tropical mahoganies and European oak, beech and ash. They provide great insulation as wood is a low thermal conductor. Timber frames give your property a lovely traditional look but do require a high level of maintenance. Bear that in mind if you choose these frames and don’t like DIY!

Aluminium Frame

  • Aluminium frames were very popular when double glazing began to appear in the sixties and seventies. They are very strong and require very little maintenance. They are very long lasting and are particularly suitable for areas in strong sunlight or where there is a lot of wet weather. To improve their insulation a thermal break is incorporated between the frame and the double glazed window. This is insulating material that stops heat being lost from the room to the outside and cold air from entering the room.

43866361 window with snow

You might wish to take some advice on your window choices from your FENSA installer. They are the experts and will be able to advise you on the best choice of windows for your property.

MTC Update

19 Aug

Following on from our installer question time on the topic of Minimum Technical Competencies (MTCs) we have written this blog to bring together the concerns and queries that were raised during the session. It seemed most helpful to list the questions with an explanation of the answer.

 

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One of the major confusions was whether the MTCs are the same as Transition to Certified Installer status?

No, the MTCs have been introduced by the Government to allow the individual to improve their credentials. The Transition to Certified Installer status relates to the registered company.

I already have a CSCS card so why do I need another card?

The CSCS card shows compliance within the construction industry but is not relevant to the domestic replacement glazing industry. It is now a government requirement to have a MTC card for our industry.

 

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I am not FENSA registered but heard I can still apply for a FENSA MTC card.

Yes that is correct. The FENSA MTC card is transferable across employers and other glazing Competent Person schemes. So even if you are registered with another glazing CPS you can still have a FENSA MTC card. The card is individual to you and is recognised throughout the industry.

 

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I have registered for my FENSA MTC card but not heard anything. Should I reapply?

No, if you successfully registered for your MTC card we will soon be in touch. We are working our way through the 1000 plus applications we have received to date!

Will the MTCs make any difference to the homeowner?

Yes, earlier this year we undertook a nationwide newspaper campaign to make the homeowner and the general public aware of the benefits of using an installer with an MTC card. We are committed to raising consumer awareness of the benefits of using a FENSA registered company and will continue this campaign throughout 2013 and in to 2014.

I replace domestic glazing through the building control route and am not part of a CPS. Do I still need a FENSA MTC card?

No, in this instance you do not need to comply with the Fenestration industry’s MTCs. However you are still welcome to apply for a FENSA MTC card as it is a great opportunity to improve your credentials and to improve the professional image of the industry as a whole.

We hope you find this blog post a useful source of information about MTCs. Please look out for our future installer question times on Twitter where we aim to keep you fully informed of changes and improvements to our industry.

Building Blocks Series 10: The Lloyds Building

5 Aug

The next building to feature in our Building Blocks series is quite intriguing. You may well have walked past it as it is located in London’s Lime Street. Yes you guessed it, it is the Lloyds Building.

Source Wikipedia

Source Wikipedia

It is not your everyday insurance offices and during this blog you may come across some new interesting terminology.

The Lloyds building is sometimes referred to as the ‘inside out building’ and when you see it you can see why. Designed by Richard Rogers and built in the early eighties, the building has its services on the outside! This includes water pipes, ducts, staircases and twelve outside lifts. This seemed a strange concept at first but as we investigated further there were quite logical reasons for the design.

Source Wikipedia

Source Wikipedia

The building is an example of Bowellism architecture. This was a completely new term to us but really just means to maximise the available floor space by removing as much as possible and putting it on the outside.  The design does make for a unique and complicated exterior. It could be a case of love it or hate it.

Interestingly, the Lloyds building became Grade 1 Listed only 25 years after being built and so far is the youngest building ever to obtain this.

English Heritage said of the building that it should be “universally recognised as one of the key buildings of the modern epoch”.

Source Wikipedia

Source Wikipedia

Ok, so what about the windows? Well, a good head for heights may be called for to really appreciate them as although the higher floors are covered in glass they can only be reached by going in the outside lifts! Their cleaning has been taken care of with cleaning cranes situated on the outside of the building’s 14 floors.

Source Wikipedia

Source Wikipedia

Due to its unusual appearance the Lloyds building has been featured in many films such as Mamma Mia, television series such as Climbing Great Buildings and many music album covers.

We think you will agree quite a building! What do you think about this radical architecture?