All replacement glazing comes within the scope of the Building Regulations. Anyone who installs replacement windows or doors will have to comply with strict thermal performance standards.
One of the main reasons for this is the need to reduce energy loss. It is essential to improve the performance of the large numbers of existing buildings if we are to meet increasingly stringent national and global energy saving targets.
When the time comes to sell your property, your purchaser's surveyors 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: -
- a certificate showing that the work has been done by an installer who is registered under the FENSA Scheme
- a certificate from the local authority saying that the installation has approval under the Building Regulations.
The FENSA Scheme
It is estimated that around 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 Fenestration Self-Assessment. It was set up by the Glass & Glazing Federation, in association with all key stakeholders, 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 any relevant charges.
You must also check whether planning permission or listed building consent is required. If your building is divided into flats or is in commercial use it is likely that you will require planning permission. For buildings in conservation areas and for listed buildings the City Council will take into account the guidance referred to in English Heritage's Interim Guidance Note - Building Regulations and Historic Buildings.
There may be conditions or other additional controls on your property which restrict the types of windows you can install therefore you should always contact the planning team before starting work.
There is also information on the GGF web site www.ggf.org.uk
Was this useful?
Whatever your interest, Westminster City Council welcomes and encourages you to get in touch with suggestions for improvements to the site. Please tell us how useful this page was to you.