Obtaining Building Regulations approval
From April 2002, all replacement glazing came within the scope of the Building Regulations. From now on, anyone who installs replacement windows or doors has to comply with strict thermal performance standards. When the time comes to sell your property, your purchaser’s solicitors, while undertaking the necessary search, will ask for evidence that any replacement glazing installed after April 2002 complies with the new Building Regulations. There will be two ways to prove compliance: 1. certificate showing that the work has been done by an installer who is registered under the FENSA Scheme 2. a certificate from the local authority saying that the installation has approval under the Building Regulations.
The FENSA Scheme
It is estimated that around 1-1.2 million installations of replacement glazing happen every year. If all of them went through the normal Building Regulations application process it would place an enormous burden on local authorities. It is essential to have a way to ensure that the work is done properly without an unreasonable increase in the administrative and financial burden on installers and property owners. The answer is a scheme which allows installation companies that meet certain criteria to self-certify that their work complies with the Building Regulations. The scheme is known as FENSA which stands for the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme. It was set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation and meets with central Government approval.
A sample of the work of every installer will be inspected by FENSA appointed inspectors to ensure standards are maintained. FENSA will also inform local authorities of all completed FENSA installations and issue certificates to householders confirming compliance.
Any installation done by a firm which is not registered to self-certify, or done as a DIY project by a householder, will need full local authority approval under the Building Regulations. Local authorities will know of all the approved installers in their areas and will be able to identify unauthorised work very easily. You should note that you, as the house owner, are ultimately responsible for ensuring the work complies with the Building Regulations.
Before you sign a contract to buy replacement glazing, be sure to ask whether the installer is able to self-certify. If not, either they, or you, will need to make an application to your local authority for approval under the Building Regulations and pay the relevant charges.
Under Approved Document L1B, which covers the thermal performance requirements for replacement windows and doors, compliance is achieved for replacement windows by either having a product which has a WER Rating of “C” or better or a whole window “U” value of 1.6 WM