What You Need To Know About FENSA Certificate
26 July 2021
What is FENSA Certificate?
A FENSA certificate is a Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme. The certificate is a government-based scheme that ensures building regulation rules that pertain to windows, roof lights, and doors are complied with. Every window and door installer must be FENSA approved to carry out their work. All approved installers are regularly assessed to ensure that the standards are sustained. Construction companies that install windows and doors, as part of an overall construction project must also be FENSA compliant.
FENSA regulations were introduced in April 2002. This was necessitated by the need for performance standards for double glazed windows, doors, and roof lights. The standards required that these building items must meet the threshold of the thermal standards set. Therefore, the FENSA regulates the workmanship of the people doing the installation of windows and doors and regulating the quality of the windows and doors used in house construction.
Why You Need This Certification?
Passing this regulation is necessary for property owners for several reasons. Firstly there is an assurance of the quality of the windows, doors, and roof lights installed. Standardised windows are highly efficient and significantly reduce energy loss, through heating during winter months and conversely Air Conditioning use in warmer months. At the same time, standardised doors have proven to reduce instances of a possible critical security breach. The certification is necessary, and any property owner must have a record of one as it is a legal requirement.
Another instance when the FENSA is necessary is when a property owner is selling a house. When selling a property, many requirements and legal documentation are required for the sale transaction to be successful. The FENSA is one of these regulations without which you cannot sell your property. If you did not build the house and therefore do not know if the house is FENSA certified, you would need to get in touch with the previous owner and determine if there is a property certificate.
Where To Get This Scheme?
Local building authorities will have a set of standards that assess the quality of installation work and the doors and windows installed in a property. These building controls require a certificate to prove that they have met the necessary standards. Once an assessment of the doors and windows is carried out and they are compliant, a FENSA will be allotted to the title-holder of the property. This certificate is registered with the local building authority, certifying that the installed doors and windows meet the set standards required.
The FENSA installation certificate is valid as long as the windows and doors remain in good condition. The certification has an insurance guarantee, up to ten years, that backs up the quality assurance of the installation work done and the quality of windows, doors, and roof lights installed.
When Is This Certification Required?
After the installer completes the installation work, they will apply for and attain the appropriate certification. Once the contractor files compliance of this regulation with the local authorities, it eliminates the need for local authorities to inspect your building.
Once the installer gets the certificate, they should give the property owner a copy. This confirms that the installing contractors are registered under the FENSA scheme. You must ensure that your contractor is registered under the FENSA scheme and request them to confirm that your windows and doors meet the required standards, after which you can apply for the certification. If your circumstances are that you bought the property and have lost the certificate or have never had one, but the contractor is FENSA compliant, a replacement certificate can be obtained from FENSA’S website at a small fee.
As a purchaser, if you require to confirm that the house you are interested in is FENSA compliant, you can do so from the FENSA website. There is no charge for this verification. The only requirements needed to carry out this check are the house number and the postcode.
Do I Need One When Selling My House?
This regulation is required when selling a house. When you are a property owner and are planning to sell your house, this is one of the several legal documents you will need to provide.
This process is guided by conveyancers who use a standard inquiry form to determine what you have and what certifications may be missing. The answers in the inquiry form will be used to flag any existing or potential problems and determine if everything is in order and identify any associated problems.
If there are any other certificates and building permits, it is advisable to provide those as well. This ensures that the conveyancers will take a shorter period of time to assess the documentation. This shortens the sale process, if everything is in order. If necessary documentation or certification is missing, the owner can begin working quickly to get them and become compliant.
FENSA credentials are transferable to the new owner when a sale is concluded as they are house-based (property) documents.
Reasons For Not Being FENSA Compliant
Because this regulation was introduced in 2002, some homeowners may not have the necessary certification required for many reasons, such as:
The house was built prior to April 2002. Windows and doors were ordered before April 2002 or that windows and doors were not installed until after April 2002 but were installed by 30th June of 2002, the certification would not have been requested as it was unnecessary during that period of time.
If windows, doors, and roof lights were ordered and installed after April 2002, and the property owner does not have the FENSA, this could be due to a couple of things. For instance, some of these windows and doors were certified by a different scheme, other than FENSA. Or the windows and doors were certified by the building control officers directly, or there was no kind of certification done at all.
How Window and Door Upgrades May Affect Your Compliance with This Regulation?
Other reasons why a house owner may not have the compulsory certification is if the house was upgraded and the contractor did more work other than just replacing windows and doors. In this case, the regulations may have been overlooked while other certifications may have been acquired. Another case is if the windows and doors are inside an older building and the replacement of windows and doors was done on a single unit, then a certificate may not have been issued for that one unit. The property owner might not have this scheme if the address or postcode given was wrong. This could have resulted in the authority being unsuccessful in delivering the certification to the rightful owner.
If there isn’t any existing certification, then there is a possibility that the contracted installer was not certified at the time. This would mean that the installer may have been unaware of the regulation compliance, hence not requesting registration. It could also be that the installation company did not notify the authorities once the installation job was complete.
If there have been upgrades and replacements done after April 2002, then the owner is required to request the relevant certification.
How To Resolve The Issue of Not Having FENSA Certification
If you discover that you do not have this regulatory documentation and would like to sell your house, then there are steps that you can take to resolve the problem. The first is to have the certifying body send a building control officer to check the quality of your windows and doors and their installation. Once this is satisfactory, and they meet the standard requirements, then certification is issued. There is a fee charged for the inspection and subsequent certification.
The other option is to have the conveyancer carry out due diligence on the house for sale, conducting verification checks with the local building authority. If there was certification acquired directly from the authorities, then the search results will indicate the details of installation. These will include the type of certification issued, when it was done, how it was done, and which contractor or installer did it.
Can I Use Insurance Instead of the FENSA Certification?
Another way to resolve the issue of not having this scheme is for the owner to get indemnity insurance from a reputable insurance company. For the insurance cover to be valid, it must cover any costs if enforcement action is taken because of non-compliance of the windows and doors installed with building regulations.
It is essential to know that this insurance will not cover the homeowner in the case of a personal injury incident resulting from the installer’s error. If the local building authority imposes any fines because of not meeting the building regulations, then those costs are not covered by the insurance.
You will also not be eligible to take the insurance cover if you have already informed the local building authority of the existing faults in the house. Instead, they will issue an order where you have to fix the windows and doors to ensure they are compliant with building standards.
Is Not Having the FENSA Certification Illegal?
Purchasing or disposing of a home that is not FENSA certified and may be non-compliant with other building authorities’ regulations is not illegal. However, the building authorities frown upon it because it defies the laid down building standards.
Installers may run into problems if their work does not meet the building standards set down. For a non-compliant house, the authorised local body will send an enforcement notice which requires the owner to fix or change the windows or doors if they do not meet the set standards. The local authorities may also opt to fix the problems themselves and then make the owner pay for it, which may be more expensive.
Check and confirm that the installer has a FENSA certificate, proving that they are compliant with the regulations laid down, before assigning them any contract. This also assures you that the work done on your property will be registered with the relevant local authorities.
What is Covered Under FENSA Certification?
The documentation will only be issued if the replacement of windows in the house’s exterior, roof windows, roof lights, and doors are those that have met the appropriate building regulations. It will be issued when the property is cited in its original area and the use and size of the different rooms remain the same.
These credentials do not cover commercial properties, extensions installed on an existing property, porches, and conservatories. Extensions and new builds will be signed off by the building authorities.
Identifying a FENSA Compliant Windows Installer
When building a new house or upgrading an existing property and updating the windows and doors, you will need a compliant and competent installer. There is a list of installers on FENSA’S website that are approved. It will save you an extensive amount of time as well as enforcement expenses in the future. Family and colleagues who have had work completed on their homes can also provide references.
Once you have potential leads of installers, then there are some things to look out for to ensure you get the best deal. Check the installer’s warranty and the corresponding insurance and ensure that the policy covers the warranty period. Under the scheme, contractors and installers must provide warranty insurance to cover the work done if the FENSA scheme stops within the warranty period provided.
It is essential to have a signed contract before any work begins, thus avoiding any disagreements that may arise later. Before you give a deposit, if those are the terms of the installer, ensure that they offer indemnity for the deposit that you place and a valid receipt. It is best to pay the deposit with a credit card instead of cash so as to have an official record of the transaction. Ensure that you remain within the value of the indemnity insurance of the deposit to protect yourself if the need arises and you need to recover the deposit.
The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.