Tag Archives: double glazing

FENSA publishes letter sent to The Times

25 Sep

This summer we decided to respond to an article that was published in The Times. In the article the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) implied that any window installation companies, and other trades involved in the domestic replacement sector, that were not signed up for Green Deal – and PAS2030 – were unlikely to provide a quality installation job.  We’ve asked The Times to consider publishing the following letter from FENSA.

builder

Dear Sirs

In a recent article published in The Times on May 2 The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) implied that any window installation companies (and other trades involved in the domestic replacement sector) that were not signed up for Green Deal – and PAS2030 – were unlikely to provide a quality installation job.

DECC’s actual words were: “The whole point in making people use approved companies is to ensure customers get the best service, installations are up to standard and we can audit it. This is public money — we have to be certain it is being spent properly and people are not being conned by rogue traders.”



FENSA, the largest glazing Competent Persons Scheme, on behalf of the installers of replacement windows and doors in domestic properties in England Wales, strongly refutes any such claim. We understand that a number of other trades agree with us.

The industry and Government are both well aware, that FENSA has implemented a raft of upgraded processes and standards over the last two years. These have included issues such as enhanced technical competencies for both installation businesses and individual operatives and consumer protection through mandatory Insurance Backed Guarantees.

These are all conditions set down by another arm of government – the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

FENSA registered businesses are also subject to a stringent inspection regime and are required to demonstrate the highest ever, technical competencies. All of this, contrary to what DECC claims, will provide consumers with the confidence that they will get a job well done.

FENSA is concerned that government departments seemingly are not communicating effectively with each other over a subject that is so important for all Competent Person Schemes in the building sector and which also has such a significant impact on the quality of work delivered for homeowners throughout the country.

FENSA in no way wants to denigrate the Green Deal initiative – it is a strong supporter of it and is in fact a Green Deal Certification body. However, claiming that only Green Deal approved installers can be trusted to deliver the goods is damaging to the many bona fide quality tradesmen who are carrying out home improvements to a high standard across the UK.

Yours Sincerely,

FENSA Managing Director

 

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FENSA at The FIT Show 2014

19 Jun

The Fabricator Installer Trade Show saw its second year at the International Centre in Telford and FENSA was part of the three-day event.

The number of installers visiting the show seemed to be down slightly on last year but the number of visitors wanting to speak to the FENSA team was high and we dealt with a large number of enquiries.

The level of enquiries was to be expected given the number of changes for installers this month. Transition to Certified Installers, Minimum Technical Competence (MTC) compliance and changes to IBGs all came into effect just prior to The FIT Show on 6 June.

FENSAstandstart

To give you all a summary of the types of questions the FENSA team were asked here are a few below:

Transition to Certified Installer

Q: My FENSA account has been frozen because I have not passed a Transition inspection. What do I do?

A: You need to book a Transition inspection between now and 1st September 2014 and your FENSA account will be unfrozen. Ring or email the Transition Helpdesk – Tel 020 7397 7208 or transitions@fensa.org.uk.

Q: But you checked my documentation when I joined!

A: If you joined FENSA after July 2013, then you do not need to undergo the Transition Inspection, this is only applicable to companies who have joined FENSA prior to Jul 2013. Once you have passed it, you do not need to have them checked again for another 3 years.
 

Q: I have my Transition Inspection documents ready but am waiting for my MTC card before I book the inspection.

A: Please do not delay and wait to get your MTC done first. Both the Transition Inspection and the MTC need to be done at the earliest opportunity. They are two different things – Transitions assess the technical competence at the company level, MTCs are at the individual level.

MTCs

Q: What do I need to do to sort out MTCs?

A: One solution is to register for the FENSA MTC Card – either through experience or qualifications. At FIT we took installers next door where GGF Training could sign people up there and then. If you’d like to book in then please contact GGF Training today (tel/0844 848 2855 or training@ggftraining.com)

Q: I’ve been doing this for 40 years why do I need one?

A: You don’t need one if your work is approved by Local Authority Building Control. If your employer is self-certifying with a scheme like FENSA, you are required to comply with the industry’s MTC requirements. Your industry experience still counts – a minimum of two years is required which is self-declared and verified by taking a Knowledge Test and an Onsite Assessment.

IBGs

Q: Is FENSA making money out of all these IBG policies now required?

A: FENSA does not earn a penny from the sales of IBGs – either now or in the past.

Q: My insurance company is not on FENSA’s Approved IBG Provider List. Do I have to change my IBG provider?

A: Yes. You will need to immediately contact your insurance company and advise them of the requirement. You may find that they are in the process of approval and then you need not take any action. If your supplier is not prepared to apply to become approved by FENSA then you will need to change your supplier.

If you need any further information on any of these topics please call:

Transitions and IBG – FENSA on 020 7397 7208

MTCs – GGF Training on 0844 848 2855

 

Master Fitter Challenge

ConwyValleymasterfitter

In addition to meeting our registered businesses and offering guidance on the topics above the main highlight of the show was the Master Fitter Challenge. FENSA sponsored the event as part of its commitment to promoting best practice among fitters.

The eight finalists were David Pulford and Jack Elm from Everest, David Keats and Jonathon Mountford from DK Windows, Steven Price and Terry Griffin from Conwy Valley Windows and Conservatories, Karl Kinsey and Paul Casbolt from Yes Glazing Solutions, Scott Higgs and colleague from Walkers Windows, Dave Eagles and colleague from Xavier Windows, Craig Hanson from Pennine Trade and Retail and last year’s winner Arron Clegg working with his father Andy from Eco-Sash.

Spectators looked on as the finalists competed against one another over the first two days of the show. An individual GQA inspector was assigned to each team who were each tasked with replacing a bay window, installing a residential composite door and fault-finding a second resi-door.

Taking this year’s title were Karl Kinsey and Paul Casbolt from Yes Glazing Solutions with runners ups prizes going to Conwy Valley and Eco-Sash.

YesGlazing Winner

We would like to congratulate all the winners on their success!

Health and Safety Series: Protect your back

29 Jan

The next blog in our Health and Safety series looks at how to work safely avoiding injury to your back. Back injuries and back pain occur in many construction trades including bricklayers, scaffolders, ground-workers, general labourers and of course the fenestration industry.

The most common cause of an injury to the back is through lifting and carrying heavy weights. In our industry there is the potential for sustaining an injury with the amount of manoeuvring and moving of window frames and glass that takes place. These injuries not only affect the back but sometimes the shoulders and neck, and legs as well.

An injury to your back can result in considerable pain and the inability to work, a situation you will want to avoid at all costs.

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So how can you try to avoid becoming incapacitated by a back injury?

  • Try to keep any lifting and carrying to the minimum. Have stock delivered as close as possible to where it will be used.
  • Avoid lifting objects by hand that you know are heavy. If there is no alternative try to get assistance with the lift.
  • If appropriate use mechanical lifting equipment.
  • Make sure you and other workers know how to use the equipment
  • Always assess the weight of the object before lifting and consider the size, strength and training needed to be able to lift it safely.
  • If working in an awkward position, such as in a restricted space or roof void, be extra careful when bending or crouching. It is very easy to strain a muscle when moving in an abnormal fashion.
  • Do not let the demands and pressures of the job make you take unnecessary risks.
  • Do not work too long without a break as tiredness can affect your concentration.
  • Know your own physical capability. Do not push your body past its limits.
  • Consider your work environment and its impact on what you are doing. Adverse weather such as strong winds can make the moving of heavy, flat objects difficult to control.

shutterstock_99436700 Thumbs up

If you would like to find out more about working safely, there is valuable information on the Health and Safety Executive website.

Do you have a safety tip of your own to share? Please feel free to jot it down in the comments below.

Building Blocks Series 14: City Hall

17 Dec

This month’s iconic building is City Hall, home to the Mayor of London and the London assembly.

It was designed by Foster & Partners to be a new landmark for the capital. In this blog we will see if they have succeeded in their challenge.

Source Wikimedia

Source Wikimedia

 

The first thing we noticed was its striking, round shape covered in glass. It is actually a geometrically modified sphere, scientifically designed to reduce heat loss from its surface and to be as Green as possible. To that end it has solar panels on the roof and also leans back by 31 degrees to allow for natural shading from sunlight. The heat produced by lights and computers is even recycled back throughout the building. Cold water from the water table under London is used instead of refrigeration to air condition the building and then used for flushing the toilets.

 

Source Wikimedia

Source Wikimedia

 

One of the major features which we know you will be interested in is the 7,300 sq metres of triple glazed low, emissivity coated, clear glass windows cladding the building.  These can be opened in office areas to allow for natural ventilation. The windows also incorporate self-shading devices. The unique shape of City Hall minimises its surface area by 25% of an equivalent rectangular building and combined with the high performance windows results in its excellent energy efficiency. City Hall currently uses a quarter of the energy of a similar building.

 

If you would like to visit this amazing building it is situated on the south bank of the Thames just along from the HMS Belfast.  You won’t be able to miss it! You can even book the top floor for an event from a corporate event to a civil wedding!

 

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 http://www.fensa.org.uk/local-authorities.aspx

Building Blocks Series 8: The National Theatre of China

24 May

The next iconic building in our Building Blocks series may not be very tall but is instantly recognisable, The National Theatre of China in Beijing.

It was designed by French architect Paul Andreu and opened in December 2007.  The theatre has an unusual shape and stunning appearance. It is an egg-shaped dome construction of steel covered with over 18,000 titanium plates and over 1,000 sheets of ultra-white glass.

Another window cleaning challenge!

 

Chungking/Shutterstock

Chungking/Shutterstock

 

The theatre stands on an artificial lake which 2.678 million visitors to date have entered through a 60m long transparent walkway actually under the lake. As this is the only entrance, the exterior of the dome is smooth and unbroken. Weighing in at 6,457 tons and over 212m long, this amazing steel and glass oval shell is the largest dome in the world.

There are three venues within the dome, namely the Opera House, the Concert Hall and the Theatre. These are all interconnected with passages and entrances built underwater. On the top floor is a lounge with great views of the surrounding green space and the city all around.

 

Theatre China

 

 

 

The theatre was designed to be accessible to all the people. To that end although the costs of building the theatre went well over budget, 70% of the tickets are sold at a low price so everybody can attend the performances.

 

Yuyangc/Shutterstock

Yuyangc/Shutterstock

 

 

 

 

The FIT Show – A quick update!

15 Apr

Well, the FIT Show is almost upon us. Over 170 exhibitors have made their preparations, stands have been designed and put together, seminars and talks organised.  An immense amount of work has been done by people determined to make the show a well-deserved success.

Fit show logo

By now you all know what will be on offer, new products to view, seminars and clinics to attend, competitions to enter, even a free drink and Danish! So if you want to learn more about window energy ratings or how to become a Green Deal installer you can just attend our free seminars. Or come and speak to us at our Stand 2-280

shutterstock_110485376 discussion

With so much happening around you, it may be easy to lose track of time so we will be putting updates and times of events on our social media. So if you have a smart phone or similar device, keep it handy and follow @FENSA_windows!

This is your show. The only trade show dedicated to the window, door and conservatory industry.

countdown fit show

Take full advantage of it and take away as much as you can; knowledge, information, training, inspiration, ideas and new contacts and friends.

Let us know what you think. We value your opinions.