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Published on March 13, 2024 1:52 PM
A FENSA certificate is a document for homeowners in most of the UK who have had new windows and doors installed in their property. It serves as confirmation that these installations comply with current Building Regulations and that they have been recorded with the local authority.

Obtaining a FENSA certificate is an important step in ensuring that the work carried out on a property meets necessary standards and is covered by an insurance-backed guarantee provided by the installer.

For installers, being FENSA-approved is more than just a badge of professionalism; it provides a streamlined method to self-certify compliance with Building Regulations for their customers. This not only reassures homeowners of the quality of the installation, but it also acts as a significant advantage when it comes time to sell the property.

The certificate is widely recognised by homeowners, estate agents, and solicitors alike as proof that installations have been executed properly, which can facilitate a smoother transaction process.

FENSA

Key Takeaways

• A FENSA certificate validates compliance with Building Regulations for window and door installations.
• FENSA-approved installers can self-certify their work, saving homeowners time and ensuring quality.
• Holding a FENSA certificate is an advantage when selling a property, signifying that installations are properly documented and up to code.

Understanding FENSA Certification

FENSA certificates are key documents demonstrating compliance with UK building regulations for window and door installations. They are crucial for property owners in England and Wales.

What is a FENSA Certificate?

FENSA certificates serve as evidence that the installation of windows and doors in a property meets Building Regulations. They confirm that installations are energy efficient, registered with the local council, and carried out by an approved installer who is part of the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA).
• Compliance: Validates that installations comply with Building Regulations.
• Energy Efficiency: Ensures products contribute to a property’s thermal performance.
• Professional Assurance: Provides proof of work completed by FENSA-approved contractors.

Historical Context: Since April 2002

FENSA has operated since April 2002 following the introduction of new Building Regulations. This initiative came into effect in England and Wales and aimed to enhance the quality of fenestration installations. Homeowners can use the FENSA website to find qualified installers and ensure their installations have been executed to legal standards since that time.
• Date of Establishment: FENSA was founded in April 2002.
• Geographical Scope: Applies to England and Wales.

FENSA and Building Regulations

A FENSA certificate signifies that the installation work complies with the current UK Building Regulations. The Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme is a government-authorised scheme that monitors companies’ building regulation adherence, promoting industry standards.
• Building Regulation Compliance: Stresses the legal requirement for standardised installations.
• Monitoring and Promoting Standards: Illustrates FENSA’s role in upholding industry quality.
The FENSA certification is instrumental in maintaining the integrity of building works and industry standards in the UK’s glazing industry.

FENSA’s Role in Installations

FENSA provides a streamlined path for compliance with Building Regulations for window and door installations, ensuring that both installers and products meet set standards.

Requirements for Installers

Installers must prove their competence to become FENSA approved. This involves a vetting process where their past work is assessed for compliance with current building regulations.
Approved installers are expected to maintain a high standard of work to retain their certification.

Standards for Windows and Doors

FENSA sets specific criteria for windows and doors to ensure energy efficiency and safety. Installations must meet these criteria to be certified. The standards cover thermal performance and are in line with the energy-saving directives of the UK government.

Role of Approved Installers

FENSA approved installers have the authority to self-certify their work without the immediate need for a local authority inspection. Their role involves not only the proper installation of windows and doors but also ensuring that their work is fully compliant with current UK Building Regulations.

Compliance and Legal Implications

Installations carried out by approved installers result in a FENSA certificate, a legal requirement that demonstrates compliance. Owners of properties with installations not certified by FENSA or a comparable body may face complications when selling their property. Local authorities may enforce corrective actions if the installations are non-compliant, leading to potential legal and financial repercussions.

Alternatives to FENSA Certificates

All construction projects, including extensions, remodelling, replacement glazing, and commercial building works, are required to demonstrate compliance with building regulations. This is typically achieved through the local Building Control Body (BCB). However, certain types of work may be exempt from these regulations, and thus not require an application.

Applications to the BCB are generally submitted online, either via the local building control body’s website or through platforms like the LABC or Planning Portal. It’s crucial to differentiate this from Planning Permission applications; while not all construction projects need Planning Permission, they do need to submit Building Control applications.

For compliance, you have two options:
1. Submit detailed project plans and construction specifications to your local Building Control Department for a comprehensive review. You should receive a decision within 5 weeks, or 2 months if you agree to an extension. Upon compliance and completion of the work, a completion certificate is typically issued within 8 weeks.

2. Opt for a Building Notice, which is more suitable for smaller projects. Work can commence 2 days after the notice is submitted to the BCB. Unlike the full plans submission, this doesn’t involve formal approval. It’s imperative to ensure that the proposed works will conform to Building Regulations.

Throughout the construction process, the local building authority will conduct onsite inspections. Once the work is satisfactorily completed, a completion certificate will be automatically issued by the local authority.

3. Local Building Control Certification: Often called a window and door certificate. Homeowners can opt to have their window or door installation assessed by the local council’s building control department. They will inspect the work to ensure it meets the relevant building regulations and issue a compliance certificate upon satisfactory completion.

4. Competent Person Scheme Certification: Similar to FENSA, there are other Competent Person Schemes for installers of windows and doors. Examples include Certass and the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC). These schemes allow installers to self-certify their work for compliance with building regulations.

Benefits of Holding a FENSA Certificate

A FENSA certificate is a valuable document that provides assurance of compliance with building regulations, notably in the installation of windows and doors. This certification is a mark of adherence to safety and energy efficiency standards necessary in the current housing market.

For Homeowners

For homeowners, possessing a FENSA certificate signifies that their window and door installations meet the UK building regulations, which assures them that they have invested in quality and safety for their property.

It also acts as a guarantee that the work has been reviewed and recorded with the local authority, streamlining any future dealings with regulatory bodies.
Having the certificate:

• Ensures installations are energy efficient, potentially reducing energy costs.
• Provides peace of mind with evidence of compliance should any relevant inspections occur.

For Property Buyers and Sellers

When selling a home, a FENSA certificate can streamline the transaction process, offering clear proof to buyers and solicitors that the property’s window and door installations comply with legal standards.

For buyers, it is an assurance of both compliance and quality, which can be critical during the surveying phase of purchasing a property.

The benefits include:
• Enhancing the attractiveness of the property to potential buyers.
• Mitigating the need for additional inspections related to windows and doors, expediting the sale process.

For Installers

Installers who are FENSA registered provide a significant service to their clients by handling the bureaucratic aspect of window and door installations, including registering the work with local authorities.

By offering the FENSA certificate, installers assure clients that both the products used and the installation processes maintain the highest standards.

Benefits for installers include:
• Building a reputation for quality and compliance within the industry.
• Avoiding potential legal issues by adhering to and validating compliance with current regulations.

The Process of FENSA Certification

The FENSA certification process is a systematic procedure that ensures compliance with building regulations for window and door installations and includes post-installation checks for quality assurance.

Registration and Assessment

A FENSA-registered installer begins the certification process by registering the planned installation with FENSA. This step is crucial because it officially logs the upcoming work and is the foundation of the certification pathway.

The assessment is conducted to ensure that the installer’s work complies with the current building regulations, with a focus on energy efficiency and safety standards.

Obtaining Certificates

Upon completion of the installation, the installer is responsible for providing the homeowner with the FENSA certificate.

This important document certifies that the installation meets the required legal standards and has been recorded with the local authority.

Homeowners should receive their certificate within a few weeks post-installation and must keep it for future reference, such as during the sale of the property.

Post-Installation Survey

FENSA conducts random, post-installation surveys to validate the quality of the installers’ work. Not all installations are checked, but the survey is an essential part of FENSA’s self-regulation, aimed at maintaining high industry standards.

The inspections are carried out by independent inspectors who assess the installation’s compliance with building regulations.

Insurance and Warranty

As an additional layer of protection, the homeowner is often provided with an insurance-backed warranty for the installation.

This warranty covers the replacement or repair of the windows and doors in the event of the installer ceasing to trade.

It is a reassurance to the homeowner that their installation is safeguarded, beyond the tenure of the installing company.

Scope of FENSA Certification

The FENSA Certification primarily validates that fenestration projects, such as the installation or replacement of windows and doors, comply with relevant Building Regulations. It covers various home improvement endeavors, ensuring energy efficiency and legality of the work conducted.

Types of Projects Covered

The FENSA scheme applies to several types of fenestration projects within domestic properties. These projects include:
• Replacement Windows: Upgrading existing windows to new, energy-efficient ones.
• Door Installations: Replacement of external doors that have more than 50% glazing.
• Roof Windows and Roof Lights: Installation of light-enhancing features on the roof.

Exclusions and Limitations

However, some projects fall outside the scope of FENSA certification:
• New Builds: Homes and extensions newly constructed require compliance through local authority inspections instead.
• Commercial Properties: FENSA does not cover buildings used for non-domestic purposes.
• Non-Glazed Components: Features like solid, unglazed external doors are not included under FENSA.

Conservatories and Orangeries

Conservatories and orangeries are subject to specific conditions under FENSA:
• Conservatories: They are exempt if they have an independent heating system and are separated by external quality walls, doors, or windows.
• Orangeries: Considered as home extensions, they may require FENSA certification if they replace external windows or doors with glazing.

This focus ensures that improvements to British homes not only elevate living standards but also adhere to regulatory mandates.

FENSA for Different Stakeholders

FENSA certificates serve as a crucial bridge between compliance and peace of mind for various stakeholders involved in the fenestration of properties. This section explicates the distinct yet interconnected roles each entity plays within the FENSA framework.

Homeowners and Installers

Homeowners are required to ensure their window and door installations comply with Building Regulations and use energy-efficient products.

A FENSA certificate is evidence that the work has been assessed and meets these criteria. This not only provides assurance of the quality of work but also becomes crucial when selling the property.

It is the installer’s responsibility to register the installation with FENSA, after which a certificate is sent to the homeowner, signifying that the installation was carried out by a competent person and fulfils the necessary legal requirements.

Local Councils and Building Control

For Local Councils and Building Control, the FENSA certificate indicates that the installations have been self-certified and registered, duly obviating the need for a separate assessment from Building Control.

This streamlines the regulatory process, making it more efficient while ensuring that standards are maintained. The certificate ensures local authorities that building standards have been adhered to, without the need for direct intervention.

Insurance Companies

Insurance Companies may require proof that installations meet regulatory standards, which can be substantiated with a FENSA certificate.

This assures them that the work is compliant and minimises the risk of future claims related to poor workmanship or non-compliance.

In situations where indemnity insurance is taken out, having a FENSA certificate might also influence premiums, reflecting the reduced risk associated with certified installation work.

Ensuring Compliance and Quality

The FENSA certificate is a crucial tool that guarantees that fenestration installations adhere to the appropriate regulatory standards, prioritising both quality and compliance. These installations impact not only the safety and security of premises but also their energy efficiency and environmental credentials.

Verification and Inspections

FENSA, the Fenestration Self Assessment Scheme, conducts regular monitoring of its registered installers. This is to ensure that their work complies with the current building regulations in the UK.

This verification process typically includes random inspections of an installer’s work by FENSA assessors. These inspections guarantee that the required standards are consistently met.

Responsibilities of FENSA Installers

Installers accredited by FENSA are responsible for ensuring that their work conforms to all relevant safety and quality standards. A FENSA certificate is issued for each compliant installation, validating that the work:
• Complies with the current building regulations
• Utilises energy-efficient products
• Has been registered with the local council

This certificate serves as documentation that the installer has fulfilled their legal duties, offering peace of mind to the property owner.

Thermal Performance and Safety Standards

Thermal performance is a key component of the standards required by FENSA. Installers must use products that meet strict energy efficiency criteria. This results in a positive impact on utility bills and environmental conservation.

Moreover, adherence to safety standards is mandatory. The FENSA certificate is a testament to the installer’s commitment to maintaining these standards. This ensures that each installation provides both insulation and security.

Post-Installation Considerations

After successfully installing new windows or doors, homeowners must be diligent in managing their certification and addressing any compliance issues promptly. Proper oversight of these post-installation factors ensures long-term peace of mind.

Certificate Management and Record-Keeping

Homeowners are urged to keep their FENSA certificate securely, as it confirms that their glazing installations comply with building regulations. Should they misplace the certificate, they are entitled to request a duplicate from the issuing body.

Maintaining accurate records of this and any related building regulations certificates will streamline any future property transactions or dealings with building control.
• Keep originals safe: Store the FENSA certificate in a secure location.
• Duplicate certificates: Apply online for replacements if necessary.

Resolving Non-Compliance Issues

If a homeowner discovers their installation does not comply with building regulations, they must act swiftly to resolve the issue. Non-compliance can attract fines and legal complications.

The first step should be to consult with the original installer. If they are unresponsive or unable to rectify the fault, homeowners may need to engage a FENSA-approved provider to assess and carry out the necessary repairs to achieve compliance.
• Contact the installer: Address non-compliance with the original installer.
• Seek professional help: Engage a FENSA-approved provider if issues persist.

Repairs and Retrospective Certification

Occasionally, windows and doors require repairs that affect their original installation standards. For such cases, a retrospective building regulation compliance certificate can be sought from a FENSA-approved installer.

This ensures that the repairs are up to the mark. Homeowners should ensure the work is done to current standards and obtain the necessary paperwork to reflect the retrospective certification.
• Assess after repairs: Check the compliance of the repaired installation.
• Documentation: Obtain the retrospective certification from a certified installer.

Frequently Asked Questions

The FENSA certificate is a document that validates compliance with building regulations for replacement windows and doors. It’s essential for homeowners to understand the details regarding these certificates.

How can I verify a FENSA certificate?

One can verify a FENSA certificate by visiting the FENSA website and entering the relevant details of the installation. Checks may include the address or the certificate number.

What is the process for obtaining a retrospective FENSA certificate?

To obtain a retrospective FENSA certificate, one should contact a FENSA-approved installer to assess the installation and issue a certificate if it meets the required standards.

What are the requirements for a FENSA certificate in regards to doors?

A FENSA certificate for doors indicates that the installation meets UK building regulations, specifically in terms of thermal performance and safety.

Is a FENSA certificate legally required for selling a property?

While not legally necessary for the sale process itself, lacking a FENSA certificate or corresponding Building Regulations certificate may raise concerns for potential buyers or conveyancing solicitors.

How does one rectify the absence of a FENSA certificate for existing windows?

Should one discover that existing windows have no FENSA certificate, it may be necessary to involve local building control to assess compliance and possibly obtain a Building Regulations certificate.

What is the typical cost associated with acquiring a FENSA certificate?

The cost for a FENSA certificate is typically included in the quote given by the installer. However, fees for retrospective certification may vary.

Make sure to discuss this with a FENSA-approved installer.

Colin Greenslade
Written by Colin Greenslade
I'm the founder of Colin's Sash Windows. I disrupted the sash windows market in the UK in 2014 by introducing fixed prices for uPVC sash windows in the UK. Before this they were generally only available at very high prices through window installers. Today our business is one of the market leaders in supply only windows, doors and roofs in the UK.

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