August 18th, 2013
Regulatory bodies for the double glazing industry are as essential for installers as they are for consumers. Unfortunately, the double glazing industry as a whole has, perhaps, an unfair reputation as being a network of cowboy companies and rip-off merchants. Industry bodies were set up both to challenge this assumption and ensure that consumers only deal with trustworthy local companies and suppliers.
They are also an important means of quality control for the industry, ensuring that all double glazing companies exhibit standards of best working practice. Consequently, greater consumer confidence in the industry is encouraged, with each body acting as a safeguard to ascertain that these standards are maintained both during and after installation.
As a regulatory body, FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme) is perhaps the first and foremost authority on double glazing developments. It’s a government backed organisation that was initially set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) to provide consumers with a reliable reference of reputable companies.
A key benefit of using a FENSA certified installer is that all FENSA members comply with current thermal performance standards. This means that they only install windows and doors with an energy rating of Grade C or higher, ensuring the energy efficiency of all new glazing installed.
Despite the fact that there are no current legal requirements that make the use of a FENSA certified installer mandatory, the time and money saved by using one is pretty much a no-brainer.
They commit to taking care of all the necessary practical details, including issuing certificates that state that all completed work was carried out within the scope of the latest building regulations. This is particularly important to bear in mind if you’re thinking of moving in the near future, as your solicitor will need this documentation to prove that your property adheres to these guidelines.
A widely recognised double glazing authority, Certass is a not for profit government backed body established in order to encourage consumer confidence in the double glazing industry.
To register as a member of Certass, contractors are critiqued on namely two things: the quality of their product, and the professionalism of their service. Members of Certass comply with all building regulations, and can consequently provide consumers with a Building Regulation Compliance Certificate on completion of work carried out.
Although Certass is a relatively recent body, it provides consumers with numerous long-term benefits. One main gain of using a Certass certified installer is that you’ll be provided with a 10 year manufacturer’s guarantee. This provides comprehensive cover should anything go awry with your glazing. A Certass accredited installer will also take care of the registration of your windows and doors with a local authority, at no extra cost or inconvenience to you. Another advantage of using a Certass registered fitter is that they offer consumers an extensive insurance protection policy, providing cover should a company cease to trade within the 10 year guarantee period.
The Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS) is a regulatory body which vets and accredits double glazing installers across the UK. The DGCOS consistently monitor their installers to ensure they meet the highest standards of workmanship as well as customer care.
Consequently, all consumers who use a DGCOS accredited company are ensured to receive protection throughout the entire process from initial buying right through to installation and after sales service.
The DGCOS also provides consumers with a free service to investigate any complaints made against DGCOS members. This service includes the following: free mediation, free independent inspections, free arbitration as well as compensation funds available after awards made by the ombudsman.
TrustMark is a not for profit organisation which is licensed by Government and supported by various consumer protection groups. TrustMark endorses local, ethical companies in a variety of trades which work within Governmental approved standards and guidelines.
There is no cost to the consumer in using a TrustMark registered company. TrustMark credit checks all companies before joining their scheme so you can be confident you are dealing with a financially sound double glazing installer.
TrustMark members are expected to perform to high standards of workmanship as set out against recognised British, international and industry standards. As a result, TrustMark carry out regular checks on their companies through their approved Scheme Operators which include a range of organisations such as trade associations, local authorities and trading standards etc.