3 February 2024

A Guide To FENSA and CERTASS

A Guide To FENSA and CERTASS

Installations such as windows and doors can benefit from the information provided by this easy-to-follow guide to FENSA and CERTASS registration. There are a lot of technical words to learn when replacing doors and windows, which might dampen what should be an exciting time. If you’re looking for a local double-glazing installer, your first priority should be finding one that is both experienced and reasonably priced. Here at Spectrum Glazing, we totally get that. Could you please explain what FENSA and CERTASS are? Because nobody enjoys wading through mountains of technical terms, we have done it for you!

Who is FENSA?

FENSA is an acronym for the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme; fenestration is the architectural term for a building’s window, door, and opening configuration. After receiving official approval to align with the most recent Building Regulation in April 2002, the Glass and Glazing Federation established FENSA in April 2002 as the first Competent Person Scheme (CPS) for the window and door installation business in England and Wales. FENSA ensures that replacement windows, doors, roof lights, and roof windows comply with building regulations.

When new double glazing is able to self-certify, the registration process with local authorities for building control compliance is significantly accelerated. The issuance of FENSA certificates usually takes 2-4 weeks, but it might take up to 2 months or more for non-FENSA registered double glaziers to get their work certified by going straight to the local Building Control department.

What is the process for FENSA to authorise window installers?

In order to maintain compliance with building rules, FENSA-licenced installers undergo periodical assessments and confirm their competence through self-certification of work. In addition, FENSA-approved installers are required to offer an estimate that includes the option of an insurance-backed guarantee that lasts 5–10 years. This will ensure that you are completely insured in the very unlikely case that the company goes out of business.

How does CERTASS work?

The acronym for “Certification and Self-Assessment System” is CERTASS. The Department for Communities and Local Government launched the not-for-profit corporation in 2006 as a substitute for the FENSA system.

Online multiple-choice knowledge testing, on-site observation, and professional discussion with the CERTASS assessor make up the CERTASS assessment procedure. After the CERTASS contractor notifies CERTASS of the finished works, within 7 business days, CERTASS will provide the homeowner with the compliance certificate by email or regular mail.

How are FENSA and CERTASS different?

In reaction to laws passed by the government, two certification programmes were established: FENSA and CERTASS. Both schemes are recognised by the UKAS. They both provide homeowners with the assurance that their new double glazing is up to code, energy efficient, and covered by warranties for both performance and quality. Both of these options provide deposit protection and do away with the need to apply for and pay for a separate Building Regulation inspection. However, in May 2020**, in response to the short-term exposure deposits that FENSA-approved installers were required to have during the COVID-19 pandemic, FENSA suspended this requirement.

Although there is no evidence to support this allegation other than FENSA’s inception four years earlier, there is a belief that FENSA installers have greater expertise than CERTASS installers.

As CERTASS members also possess the necessary TrustMark-registered status, it becomes clear to homeowners that CERTASS is a Green Homes Grant-Approved Certification body. However, a small number of installers who wish to be approved suppliers for the Green Homes Grant Scheme have been able to take advantage of FENSA’s limited number of complimentary PAS 2030 training sessions since February 2021.

**The government appoints UKAS (the United Kingdom Accreditation Service) to evaluate certification, testing, inspection, and assessment providers.

The Green Homes Grant Scheme: Explained!

The Green Homes Grant Scheme is set to launch in August 2020 with the goal of assisting English homeowners and landlords in bringing their properties up to minimal energy efficiency requirements, with the ultimate goal of reducing carbon emissions and energy expenditures. Up until March 31, 2022, qualified homeowners can redeem coupons ranging from £5,000 to £10,000 for a variety of thermal enhancements.

I don’t have FENSA or CERTASS registered on my Windows. What now?

While registration with either CPS scheme is not legally mandated for window and door installers, it is crucial to be aware that installing double glazing in a residence without building regulation approval is prohibited. Your local government may request the alteration or removal of a building regulatory certificate if one has not been issued. Serious violations can lead to prosecution, penalties, and enforcement notifications. However, retrospective building regulation approval can be requested from your local authorities in such a situation.

A building regulation certificate is also necessary to legitimately proceed with selling or remortgaging your home. Simply put, FENSA and CERTASS certificates make things go faster.

Do composite doors have to get a FENSA or CERTASS certificate?

Windows and doors that are being replaced must have a FENSA, CERTASS, or building regulation certificate if there is 50% glass or more in the main body of the building, as stated officially in Part L of the Building Control Regulations. There is no requirement to register composite doors with less than 50% glazing with FENSA, CERTASS, or your local authority. Additionally, a FENSA/CERTASS certificate is not required for newly constructed porches, orangeries, conservatories, or replacement windows and doors.

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