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As of October 2010 replacement entrance doors must comply with Approved Document L of the Building Regulations in England and Wales. This requires that the window meets significantly higher levels of insulation than previously required. (See Building regulations in Library )
Two of the certification bodies have developed standards for installing companies in an effort to increase the standard of installation of doors and windows, especially those of enhanced security. Look at the installer’s website or headed paper to see if it carries the Kitemark or ‘Q’ Mark for this standard.
The two standards are:
BS 8213-4: 2007 Windows, doors and rooflights – Part 4: Code of practice for the survey and installation of windows and external doorsets
BM Trada ‘Q’ Mark for Survey and Installation of Windows and External Doorsets
Other standards that might be held by a door or window manufacturer or installer include the following:
ISO 9001-2000(8) Quality Management System
BS EN ISO 14001: 2004 Environment Management System
BS OHSAS 18001: 2007 Occupational Health & Safety Management System
The Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA) was set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation and other industry bodies in response to changes in the Building Regulations for the double glazing companies in England and Wales. When replacing windows and doors, homeowners must comply with the current thermal performance standards as contained in Approved Document L of the Building regulations for England and Wales and ensure they obtain a certificate from FENSA or Local Authority Building Control. FENSA approved companies that install replacement windows and doors are able to self-certify compliance under the regulations without the need for a separate assessment from Building Control. All replacement glazing comes within the scope of the Building Regulations and anyone who installs replacement windows or doors must comply with the current thermal standards.
When your property is sold your purchaser’s solicitors will ask for evidence that any replacement glazing installed since April 2002 complies with the Building Regulations. You can prove compliance in two ways:
Provide a certificate of compliance showing that the work was carried out by an installer that was registered to FENSA at the time of the installation;
Provide a certificate of compliance from the Local Authority Building Control stating that the installation has been approved under Building regulations.
So make sure that before you sign any contract with a company that is going to replace your glazing you are confident that they will be able to self-certify. If they cannot do this you have two other options:
Use a FENSA registered company instead or, if this person is your favourite and most trustworthy builder you’ll have to make an application to the Local Authority Building Control for approval under the Building Regulations. The application can be made by the installer or the homeowner, there is likely to be a charge and evidence will have to be produced to prove that the window or door does indeed meet the thermal standards at the time.
Although FENSA will inspect about 1 in every 50 installations to ensure a decent workmanlike installation they are not checking the security attributes of the door or window. Unfortunately, in spite of the evidence that supports the fact that installing enhanced security doors and windows can reduce the chances of burglary by 50% and more, a requirement to use them under Building Regulations has not yet happened and isn’t likely to for the foreseeable future.
Be careful about some of the claims that are made by window manufacturers and installers, which may not be what they seem. Here are a few examples taken from websites with my comments in brackets. Incidentally, these websites do not mention anything about independent certification of the product. This is because the products are not certificated or they have underestimated the importance of informing you that their products are not only good, but a qualified and independent body agrees with them!
“Burglars usually gain entry to your home through a window or door so your window’s security is high on the agenda.” (Stating the obvious really, but this first sentence draws you in to the subject of security.)
“It’s important for you to select windows with adequate locking devices.” (How are Mr and Mrs Smith going to be able to recognise what is an adequate locking system?)
“You also need to think about the window itself – the frame must be of high quality and able to withstand hard knocks.” (Yes, and you would expect that as a matter of course, but I think ‘forcing by lever’ would be more realistic than ‘hard knocks’. What does ‘hard knocks’ actually mean?)
“Anonymous Windows Ltd offers the espagnolette locking system, an extremely robust multi-point lock that offers exceptional security.” (The ‘espagnolette (multi-point) locking system’ might well be good, but its performance actually depends on what it is fitted into.)
“All of Unknown Company’s windows comply with PAS 24 enhanced security as standard.” (‘Comply with PAS 24’ does NOT mean that the windows are certificated to PAS 24. If the windows were certificated then the company would say exactly that and show the details of the certification authority on the website. You would then be able to check against the certification authorities’ websites)