Why You Need To Know What Is FENSA?
Your home is your castle, so you want it to be bright and airy instead of dark and dingy. The best way to do that is by having plenty of windows to introduce natural light to all the rooms. However, if your current ones are old, they could be drafty, which means that cold air can seep in, costing you more in heating bills. Older models also crack or break easier, necessitating replacement. If you plan to replace windows anytime soon, you will want to ask yourself what is FENSA? The answer will help inform your decisions.
FENSA stands for Fenestration Self Assessment Scheme. This scheme is based in the UK in response to new building regulations. These building regulations have much stricter rules regarding the double glazing of newly installed window units. It was set up to help make meeting these new codes easier for people by the Glass and Glazing Federation, among other companies.
If you leave your current windows, then you do not need to worry about meeting the double glazing requirements. However, once one needs to be replaced, it has to meet the standards or else you could be hit with some really big fines. Then you have to re-replace the unit, costing you even more.
The easiest way to ensure that you meet the requirements is to hire a FENSA-approved company to do the installation. They are familiar with the codes and will only use panes that are within the law. They will also issue you a certificate to show that you are meeting all standards.
Of course, you do not have to hire these particular contractors. If you know how to do the installation yourself or prefer to use a contractor not approved by FENSA, that is perfectly fine. Ask ahead if they can self certify and issue you a certificate. If they cannot, then you will still need to hire an inspector from the Local Authority Building Control who is approved by the scheme to issue you the certificate.
You must get a certificate, no matter who you use for installation or whether you do it yourself. Without it, you cannot prove that you meet the minimum standards, which could result in those aforementioned stiff fines. That is why it is imperative to call an inspector or make sure your contractor can certify all work themselves.
The good news is that you have a wide choice of windows to choose from. There are pre-made models that come in standard sizes that fit many newer homes. However, if your home is older and you had bespoke ones instead, you should have no problem replacing them without falling short of the code. You will have to special order them, and they will take extra time and cost to make them.
The reason for the stricter codes is to increase thermal performance. Many parts of the UK can get bitterly cold in the winter, which means a huge increase in the amount of wood and oil burned to keep homes warm. This in turn causes pollution. If windows are double glazed according to code, then they keep the cold out better, and oil and wood are burned as a result.