Are you thinking of replacing your windows this year?

All replacement glazing comes within the scope of the Building Regulations. Anyone who installs replacement windows or doors must comply with current thermal performance standards

The reason for this is to reduce energy loss in line with Government policy. The Building Regulations have controlled glazing in new buildings for many years but this represents only a very small percentage of our total building stock. It is essential to improve the performance of the much larger number of existing buildings if we are to meet increasingly stringent national and global energy saving targets.

When selling your property, your purchaser's solicitors will ask for evidence that any replacement glazing installed since April 2002 complies with the Building Regulations. There are currently two ways to prove compliance:

  1. A certificate showing that the work has been done by an installer who is registered with FENSA or a similar body
  2. A certificate from the Local Authority Building Control stating that the installation has been approved under the Building Regulations.

The FENSA Scheme

There are a huge number of installations of replacement glazing happening every year. If all of them were to go through the Local Authority Building Control 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 both installers and homeowners.

FENSA was set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) at the request of the CLG to allow registered companies to self-certify that their installations comply with current Building Regulations.

Today FENSA is still very much industry-led, both in terms of its close working relationship with all the key trade bodies/associations (e.g. Energy Saving Trust, Competent Persons Forum, LABC, Council for Aluminium in Building, Steel Windows Association, British Woodworking Federation, Glass and Glazing Federation, British Fenestration Rating Council), and also the types of type of companies who become FENSA registered (e.g. from glazing companies, builders, home improvements companies, local authorities, housing associations of property developers).

Any installation undertaken by a company which is not registered with FENSA or a similar body, or has been done as a DIY project by a homeowner, will need full Local Authority Building Control approval. All Local Authorities will know of the registered businesses in their areas and can identify unauthorised work very easily. It should be noted that the homeowner is ultimately responsible for ensuring the installation complies with these requirements.

Before you sign a contract to buy any replacement glazing, be sure to ask whether the installer is able to self-certify. If not, an application to Local Authority Building Control for approval under the Building Regulations will need to be made by either the installer or the homeowner. It is likely that there will be associated charges with this.