FAQ: The abbreviation FENSA stands for FENESTRATION - SELF ASSESSMENT.
The uk dictionary definition of the word fenestral or fenestrate is " belonging to or like a window" The word fenestration is "the arrangement of windows in a building". FENSA is used by double glazing uk trade companies to certify that their replacement windows and doors installed comply with Building Regulations Document L (and more), actually checking av. 1% of all replacement windows installations.
Did You Know?
FENSA and Building control regulations in the UK, mainly document L.
"Building Control is the process whereby plans and construction work are measured against the requirements of the Building Regulations" Local authorities all have their own building control departments, as well as their planning (permission) departments. Building control regulations in either England, Ireland and Scotland are different as they all vary.
Double glazing installation - this page sets out all or most of what you need to know about what is involved in the revision, and probably just as important, what has driven it to come about.
1. In the first place windows did not exist, and animal skins were hung over openings in buildings to keep the weather out.
2. Once glass was invented mankind took a great leap forward in luxury in being able to close off the openings and shut out the elements.
3. Double Glazing arrived in our modern and affluent society, and we all loved it so much that we chopped down untold tropical forests to provide the hardwood for the sub-frames.
4. Then we got a conscience and went green, ecologically that is.
5. Now our rulers are 'saving us from ourselves' by requiring that our windows meet certain minimum new attainable regulations to take us yet another step forward.
1. Generation of the energy we use to heat, light and cool our buildings accounts for almost HALF of the carbon dioxide emissions in the UK.
2. More energy efficient buildings will help reduce pollution that damages the ozone layer and conserve dwindling natural fuels for future generations.
3. The changes to the Building Regulations will require the use of more energy efficient building products (i.e. those used in walls, windows, floors and roofs) and building services (such as lighting, heating and ventilation). This is not just about windows!
4. The changes will apply to all new buildings - that is domestic dwellings, offices and public buildings. More than that, this new document goes further by addressing work on existing housing such as replacement windows installed as a home improvement.
5. Listed properties and buildings in conservation areas may be exempt, together with some display windows and shop entrance doors - for the time being.
Although the ramifications as well as opportunities are great for our industry and for the public/consumer, only those with a dogmatic approach against change would have us stand still when the technologies are available to embrace for us to conserve energy further, an take us on to this next step forward.
As for double glazing and windows and doors, yes it is true, all makes will now have to 'toe the line' and many will have to make some fundamental improvements as a minimum standard to meet these regulations next year. It is interesting to note that the early information I have indicates that the maximum air gap for sealed units is likely to be recommended at 16mm (24mm overall), and not the 20mm (28mm overall) that many double glazing salesmen would like you to believe is a 'must have'.
Part L and EN 1279 are both mandatory, which means they can be legally enforced.
Changes to Part F about double glazing will also affect everyone in the glazing industry, because when replacing windows from April 2002 adequate background ventilation of a minimum 8,000 mm2 must be provided for all habitable rooms, and 4,000mm2 for bathrooms, etc. The intention is to save us from ourselves by mandatory ventilation, and this aims at reducing the likelihood of us living in an environment where formation of condensation would have been produced together with an unhealthy indoor atmosphere.
Having addressed energy efficiency to some degree in the April 1st changes with the introduction of Building Regulations Doc L in England, the Government will next look at the impact of ventilation within the home. This will also be in relation to noise, which is seen as a main cause of irritation to householders; and also air quality, which all might form the new part E.
F.E.N.S.A. inspections encompass more than just doc L, i.e. not just low e glass etc.
This applies to England only, and this is an update on the subject:
Front doors with less than 50% glass are exempt, i.e. doors with insulated feature panels will not normally need low e glass, particularly as the overall U value will meet the requirements.
When fitting doors or windows to an unheated area which is not part of the house, i.e. garage or outbuildings, Building Regs do not apply.
I quote from FENSA: "The Building Regulations Approved Documents N (Safety Glazing) and L (Thermal Insulation) are prime requirements for replacement windows and doors. Other elements of the Building Regulations A (Structure), F (Ventilation), B (Means of escape), J (Combustion Appliances and Fuel Storage Systems), M (Disabled Access) must not be compromised by the replacement installation".
Double glazing trade: Partly this means you must not only comply with the regs., but that you must not make these things worse than they were before when you fit your replacements.
As for bay windows when you fit new double glazing, these are now being checked by Fensa during installation, particularly for load bearing metal poles that MUST go through the cill, with structural bearing header and spreading plates, that is, above and below. Bay windows must now be registered as the number of windows/facets, so a 5 light bay is registered as 5 windows.
Entrance doors are being checked for threshold height, access for the disabled.
In some cases lock ajar will qualify as trickle ventilation, but compliance with the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations of 1998 is essential.
Download What the Building Inspector will be looking for in new double glazing installations