It would be fair to say that most people don’t know what FENSA is, or that they need a certificate to prove that their replacement windows or doors comply with current Building Regulations.
But if you are selling your home, or thinking about having your windows or doors replaced, then not having a FENSA certificate could cause you problems down the line.
There are some real issues to consider when it comes to selling without the certification, including a potential delay to the process as you will have to prove that the replacement doors and windows comply with the regulations.
Or, even worse, you could see a buyer pulling out because you haven’t got the paperwork – especially if your property is in a conservation area.
Here, the Property Road team explains what the FENSA certificate is and why it is important to have one.
What is a FENSA certificate?
FENSA is the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme, which has issued certificates since 2002 to confirm that a replacement window or door installation complies with current Building Regulations.
A FENSA certificate is the evidence you will need when selling your home that the work has been completed by a competent installer and that the products used meet the required standards.
To get a FENSA certificate, the installer must be registered with the scheme and the work must be carried out to the required standards.
Once the work is completed, the installer will provide you with a certificate that you can use to prove that the work has been carried out correctly. There’s also an insurance-backed warranty too.
It’s also worth noting that the installer will also register the work done at the property with the local council, avoiding the need to have a building regulations inspection completed.
Why is a FENSA certificate important?
There are several reasons why it is important to have a FENSA certificate.
Firstly, if you ever need to sell your property, the buyer’s solicitor will want to see evidence that the work has been properly carried out. This is where the FENSA certificate comes in.
Secondly, if there are any issues with the installation, you will have evidence that the work was carried out by a competent installer using the right products. This could save you a lot of money and stress in the long run.
How many years does a FENSA certificate last?
A FENSA certificate is valid for 10 years from the date of installation. This means that if you sell your property within 10 years of the work being carried out, the buyer’s solicitor will need to see a copy of the certificate since this proves the quality of the work but that it also carries a warranty.
What happens if I don’t have a FENSA certificate?
If you don’t have a FENSA certificate, you may not be able to sell your property, or you could end up paying for expensive remedial work.
If you need a FENSA certificate for the buyer’s conveyancing solicitor, you should contact the installer and ask them to provide you with a copy.
If they are unable to do this, you may need to get in touch with FENSA directly. Alternatively, you could apply to your local council for a Retrospective Building Regulation Compliance Certificate but this will cost at least £300 – and take a few weeks to arrive.
Keep in mind that if you replaced windows or doors as part of a larger refurbishment or building project that required building regulations approval, you may not have a FENSA.
Instead, the completion certificate you received from the council is likely to cover your replacement window(s) or door(s) too.
What is the cost of a FENSA certificate?
There is no cost for the certificate itself, and you can order one online for £25 from FENSA.
Do I need a FENSA certificate if I am not selling my property?
No, you do not need a FENSA certificate if you are not selling your property. However, it is still a good idea to get one as it provides evidence that the work has been carried out by a competent installer. It is also proof of a warranty should there be a problem with the installation.
How do FENSA certificates relate to the conveyancing process?
There’s no doubt that for the installation of new windows and/or doors of less than 10 years, the FENSA certificate is an important part of the conveyancing process.
It will be the easiest way of proving that the installation has been completed by a professional to the stipulated standards.
There’s no doubt too that without a FENSA certificate, you won’t be able to provide this evidence and the buyer’s solicitor may raise this as an issue for the buyer to pull out.
Without a FENSA certificate, will I need indemnity insurance?
If you don’t have a FENSA certificate, or if the work was carried out by a non-FENSA member, you may need to get FENSA indemnity insurance. This could prove to be important to keep a buyer onside.
However, you may find that most insurers will only offer cover for an installation that is more than a year old.
This type of indemnity insurance will cost up to £500 and will protect you should the local authority demand the removal or alterations to the windows.
How do I get FENSA indemnity insurance?
There are a few ways to get indemnity insurance. You can contact a specialist broker, or you may be able to get it from your home insurance provider.
A FENSA installer checklist
What to check before appointing an installer for your windows and doors:
Make sure they are a FENSA registered business
Appointing an installer who is registered with FENSA means you will receive a certificate once the work has been completed. Do not accept a certificate from someone who says it is the same thing. It really isn’t. If the contractor is non-FENSA, they may offer a certificate from the local council’s Building Control department.
Check the company is registered with the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF)
When choosing an installer, it is important to check that they are registered with both FENSA and the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF). This will reassure you that they are a reputable company that will carry out the work to a high standard. You should also ask to see examples of their previous work so that you can be sure you are happy with their level of workmanship.
Ensure they will provide you with a certificate once the work has been completed
Always ask the installer – and don’t forget that they should send you one when the work is complete. If they don’t, then remind them. If no certificate is forthcoming, then contact FENSA.
Questions about FENSA certificates:
What happens if my windows are not FENSA certificated?
If your windows are not FENSA certificated, you may not be able to sell your property – or at least see a delay until you organise indemnity insurance. If the survey flags up an issue with the doors and windows, you could end up paying for expensive remedial work.
I need a FENSA certificate, but my installer has gone out of business, what can I do?
You should contact FENSA directly and use their online facility to order a copy of the certificate.
What is the cost of a FENSA certificate?
There is no cost for the certificate when supplied by your installer. Duplicates will cost a small fee, however.
Is it a legal requirement to have a FENSA certificate?
No, it is not a legal requirement to have a FENSA certificate. However, it is still a good idea to get one to show a professional installer was used for the work.
Can I sell a house without a FENSA certificate?
If the buyer has a survey and is happy to proceed, then it is possible. They may insist that you buy indemnity insurance before proceeding.
Do all windows have to be FENSA registered?
No, not all windows have to be FENSA registered – there is no law demanding this. However, as we have seen, having the certificate will bring peace of mind.
How long is a FENSA guarantee?
The length of the guarantee will depend on the installer that you use. However, most FENSA registered installers will offer a 10-year guarantee on their work.
How do I know if my windows are FENSA certificated?
If your windows are FENSA certificated, you should have received a certificate from the installer when the work was completed. This will have the FENSA logo on it and will be dated and numbered. You should keep this certificate safe as you may need it in the future. You could contact FENSA to see if they have your installation in their records.
Is there an alternative to FENSA?
No, there is no alternative to FENSA. They are the only organisation that provides certificates to confirm that a replacement window or door installation complies with current Building Regulations.
How long does it take to get a FENSA certificate?
It can take up to 10 working days to receive your FENSA certificate after the work has been completed.
What is a FENSA certificate?
If you are selling your home, there’s no doubt that having a FENSA certificate could prove to be crucial. Not only will it prove that you used a competent installer – but shows a prospective homebuyer that the warranty on the work is still valid.
And if you used a non-FENSA registered installer for the work then you will have to acknowledge this when filling in the information for selling your home.
Understanding why you need a FENSA certificate is one of the small details when selling a property, you will need to understand – or risk the sale being derailed.