Archive | November, 2013

The FENSA MTC Card

26 Nov

You may have noticed for several months now, we have been doing all we can, via our social media, website and free online seminars to bring information to all our installers about Minimum Technical Competencies (MTC).

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The government has introduced MTC in an effort to raise standards in the replacement glazing industry. MTC are a set of criteria that installers and surveyors are required to meet when replacing windows and doors in domestic properties. MTC are mandatory and you must be able to demonstrate you satisfy MTC requirements to continue to work through any of the glazing Competent Person Schemes (CPS). There is also a time limit to become MTC compliant. All installers and surveyors must be able to show they are MTC compliant by 6th June 2014.

Well, those are the facts in a nutshell. Now, let’s answer some of the questions that have been put to us over the last few months about becoming MTC compliant.

What are other CPS doing about MTC?

The government is allowing each CPS to develop their own scheme to meet the MTC requirement.

Why do I need a FENSA MTC Card?

It is a government requirement. MTC have been in existence across other building sectors for some time, such as electricians, heating installers, plumber or gas engineers.

How long does it take to become fully MTC compliant?

It takes a minimum of three months so you will need to start your MTC compliance process before March 2014.

Where do I sign up?

Just follow this link to the FENSA website

How much does it cost?

It is dependent on the route you need to take. Please see the costs below and check out the website for more details.

  1. Industry Experience Route – £299 +VAT
  2. Undertaking Relevant Qualifications – £30 +VAT plus the cost of taking an NVQ
  3. Have Relevant Qualifications – £30 +VAT

Why does it cost so much?

The FENSA MTC Card is much cheaper than other schemes in construction sectors and remember the cost only equates to just £1.15 a week if undertaking the industry experience route.

Do I or the company I work for have to be FENSA Registered?

The FENSA MTC Card is held by the individual and is open to everyone in the industry – installers and surveyors who are FENSA registered and those who are not registered can apply. It is transferable across employers and other replacement window and door CPS.

Want more Information?

Webinar (Online Seminar): We would like to invite you to attend our Free Webinar on Thursday 28th November, where we will present more information and answer your questions on MTC. Make sure you check our blogs regularly as we will continue to update you. Click here to register http://www.fensa.org.uk/mtc.aspx

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Twitter Q&A Sessions: FENSA is hosting a series of FREE one-hour online Q&A sessions to help installers. This is the chance to have your questions answered about the FENSA MTC Card. To participate, simply log into your twitter account and tweet Question _130787843@FENSA_Windows your question during one of the twitter Q&A sessions below.

  1. Thu 12 Dec – 7-8pm (MTC)
  2. Thu 23 Jan –1pm (MTC)
  3. Thu 13 Feb – 7pm (MTC)
  4. Tue 11 Mar – 2pm (MTC)

Building Blocks Series 13: The Chrysler Building

21 Nov

The next iconic building in our series is another skyscraper that for a while enjoyed the title of the tallest building in the world, namely the Chrysler Building in New York. This very original skyscraper was completed in May 1930 in an era of competitive construction to be the world’s tallest skyscraper.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

The building had a shaky start as its design by William van Alen was very costly and advanced for the time and only came in to being when Walter Chrysler of the Chrysler Corporation became involved. He worked with Van Alen to redesign the skyscraper to house the Chrysler headquarters.

At one point 3,000 construction workers were working on the tower simultaneously, managing to build at an average rate of 4 floors a week. Despite this tremendous activity there were no construction worker deaths.

Although the completed building was 282m tall it wasn’t quite the tallest building in the world so they addressed the problem in secret. A 38m tall spire was added making the building the first manmade structure to stand over 1,000ft (319m) tall. Unfortunately for the Chrysler Building less than a year later it lost that title to The Empire State Building but to date has kept the title of the world’s tallest steel supported brick building.

The Chrysler Building in keeping with its automobile heritage has many interesting features in its Art Deco architecture. The corners of the 31st floor are replicas of the 1929 Chrysler radiator caps and there are gargoyles in the form of radiator caps, car bumpers, and bonnet ornaments.

Here is the figure you have all been waiting for; there are 3,862 windows on its façade with many triangular vaulted windows in its terraced, stainless steel crown.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Although when the building first opened, the public could go to the 71st floor viewing gallery, that closed in 1945 and now should you wish to visit, the only accessible area to the public is the lobby.

In 2005 the Chrysler Building came first in a competition run by the Skyscraper Museum to choose the 10 favourite skyscrapers in New York, receiving 90% of the votes. We can certainly see why!

The FENSA Certificate

14 Nov

We have had a lot of inquiries on our social media lately about replacement FENSA certificates, so we thought now would be a good time to remind everyone about how important it is.

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If your property has had replacement double glazing since April 2002, you should have proof that the windows conform to Building Regulations. This can be achieved in one of two ways; with a FENSA certificate or Local Authority Building Control (LABC) approval.

Proof that your replacement windows conform to Building Regulations is crucial should you decide to sell your property. You cannot sell without it. Your buyer’s solicitor will ask for that evidence before the sale can progress. It may be that you are a very organised person and have all your household certificates and receipts to hand so this will prove to be very straightforward. However, if you have misplaced your certificate, the situation may become more complicated. Selling your home is said to be as stressful as getting married or divorced, a death in the family or serious money issues, so any extra anxiety is certainly to be avoided.

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This is where the FENSA certificate comes in to its own. If the windows were fitted by a FENSA registered company and you have the certificate, you are sorted! If you have lost or mislaid it, you are still sorted as you can go on the FENSA website and for a small fee order a replacement. There should be no delay to the sale of your property as your replacement FENSA certificate will be with you within ten days.

The same scenario works the other way round if you are buying a property. Make sure your solicitor checks the vendor has the necessary certificates as you don’t want to find out later in the sale, there is going to be a delay. Once again if the windows have been fitted by a FENSA registered company, it should only take a few days to get a replacement certificate.

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If however, the windows haven’t been inspected and there is no proof they are compliant with Building Regulations then there may be a considerable delay in the proceedings, as they will have to be inspected and passed by the relevant LABC. Unfortunately it is often at this stage that the windows are found to be non-compliant and have to be rectified. This can be costly and time consuming.

So it is very important to check out the compliance of any replacement glazing early on in the sale or purchase of a property.

Your FENSA certificate makes life easier and is an important document.

Keep it safe!

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Homeowner Inspection Requests

1 Nov

It is great to see the interest shown by our installers in our newsletters. The September issue was packed with information and facts on several of the major topics in the fenestration industry at the moment, including MTCs, Transition to Certified Installer, the BFRC homeowner window energy rating certificate, and homeowner inspection requests.

The homeowner inspection request information caused quite a stir among installers on FENSA’s social media and resulted in a number of questions about them and concerns about how they work.

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We have put this blog together with those questions and the answers to help make the process clear and put everyone’s minds at rest.

  • Is there a time limit to when Homeowner can ask for inspection?

No, but each case is considered on an individual basis, dependent on the nature of the complaint

  • Can the installer be present at the time of the inspection?

For pre-inspections, we do need the installer to be present.

For post inspections, there is no reason why the installer cannot be present if he chooses.

  • Does the installer get paid for their time?

Unfortunately the installer would not be paid at this point but please see the next question.

  • Who pays for the inspection that is requested by the homeowner?

If the inspection passes the homeowner will have to pay for the inspection, currently £250, if the inspection fails the installer will have to pay.

  • Why is the homeowner request inspection more expensive?

A normal inspection normally costs £100. The homeowner request inspections are more detailed and are individually organised.

  • How is FENSA qualified to judge on quality issues, given their original remit is to judge on compliance?

The homeowner request inspections will be inspected for compliance with the Building Regulation, not on workmanship or quality issues.

  • How can the impartiality of the FENSA inspector carrying out the investigation be guaranteed?

FENSA uses an independent inspection body, the BBA (British Board of Agrément) that is UKAS accredited and is regularly audited by them to ensure independence, quality and impartiality. The BBA works to the latest industry standards –BS 8213-4: 2007, the GGF’s Codes of Practice on Window Installation (The Good Practice Guide for the Installation of Replacement Windows and Doors). BBA’s certification and inspection services are recognised by building control, local authorities, industry insurers and key trade associations in the construction industry.

  • What if customers abuse the system?

When a homeowner request inspection is carried out, we have found they often pass as most companies are complying and working to the required standard resulting in the homeowner paying for the inspection.

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Well, a lot of information for you to take on board but hopefully useful and helpful information.

If you still have concerns or questions about the inspections, please feel free to ask them in the comments below.