FENSA is the short name for the Fenestration Self Assessment Scheme. The scheme was set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation, in partnership with some other industry bodies, after the government launched the new Building Regulations for double glazing companies. These new regulations were released in April 2002 and set standards for the performance and safety of all replacement glazing.
When you buy new windows, patio doors or roof lights for your home, you are required to make sure that the replacements comply with current thermal performance standards and Building Regulations. This means that you need to get a certificate stating that the windows are compliant. This certificate must be issued by a Competent Person scheme, and FENSA is the most common authority for this (Local Authority Building Control representatives can also issue the certificates).
So, What Do FENSA Do?
FENSA is the industry standard for self-certification of compliance with the Building Regulations. The FENSA scheme allows customers to find approved installers who they can feel confident in to carry out installation work to the necessary standards.
While there are other options for certification, purchasing a product that bears the FENSA logo and having a FENSA installer do the job is the most convenient option. This is because it means that you don’t have to register the new window or door installation with the local authority yourself. This can save you a lot of time, hassle and hundreds of pounds, too.
The FENSA Scheme
There are thousands of companies that have joined the FENSA scheme across England and Wales. FENSA re-assesses their installers on a regular basis to ensure that they are always working to a high standard. If you choose a FENSA-approved installer to fit new windows for you, then after the job is done you have the option to rate the installers via a feedback form – that feedback is taken into account as a part of the assessment process, so you can be confident that any installer you hire has had consistently good feedback.
What is a FENSA Certificate?
After the replacement work is done, you will be given a FENSA certificate – this proves that an approved company completed the work, and that the new double glazing complies with Building Regulations. You should keep this certificate because you will need it if you decide to sell your property. If you lose the certificate, it is possible to re-order one via the FENSA website for a small fee.
If you are installing windows yourself, then you will need to get a certificate issued by the local authority. Similarly, if you use an installer that is not FENSA registered, then they will need to get a certificate either through the local authority or through a different issuing body. The penalties for failure to comply with Building Regulations are severe, so do not simply take it on faith that a contractor is able to self-certify. Confirm what trade body they are a member of, and be sure to get a copy of the certificate once the work is done.
Insurance Backed Guarantees and Deposit Protection
Getting new windows installed can be expensive work. FENSA installers are required to have a number of protections in place to take care of their customers. If you pay a deposit on the work, then the deposit must be protected by an indemnity scheme or some other form of protection. What’s more, FENSA installers must include an insurance backed guarantee on all replacements and doors. Your FENSA certificate can serve as evidence of your guarantee.