This buyers guide will assist you to make an informed decision by allowing you to compare products, and get the best value for money for you. You should ask any potential supplier the following questions.
Are they FENSA registered. This is the government backed scheme that allows suppliers to self certify their work to local authority standards. If they are not FENSA registered you will need to get your windows inspected by your local authority or you may have problems when it comes to selling your home.
What warranty do they offer on Frames, Glazed units and installation.
Do they offer insurance backing for the warranty. This will keep your warranty in place if they cease trading. This is part of the FENSA certification.
Deposit Indemnity Insurance, the majority of companies require a deposit, however never pay more than 25% and insist on seeing the deposit indemnity insurance terms & conditions. You should never pay a deposit without seeing the indemnity scheme, if your chosen supplier goes out of business before he fits your windows you will lose your deposit. Your supplier has to have deposit indemnity insurance to be part of FENSA.
Is your quotation based on a sales visit or a survey. Many projects increase in price once the survey has been undertaken. It is an often used way to get you to place an order at a cheap price and then put your price up when you feel obligated after signing an order.
How long is the colour fast guarantee? You do not want your windows to discolour. Any supplier should be using UV stabilisers to prevent discoloration.
Do the window locking mechanisms include shoot bolts? These have replaced espag locks for security, but espeg locks still appear in the market. These can also be referred to as mushroom headed cams.
Are the windows internally beaded? this means the glass cannot be removed from outside by intruders.
Do the windows include friction stays? These protect from an intruder using a jemmy to force open your windows.Q. Is the window frame fully welded?. If it has mechanical fixings, it can over time become weak.
You need to have Pilkington K or low E glass fitted. These are mandatory for heat emissions.
Are the glazing units 28mm
Is the frame fully reinforced with steel? This makes it more secure. Be careful that not just selected edges are reinforced.
How many fire escapes do you need? If you were buying a new house for example, the NHBC would insist every bedroom was a fire escape.
Do you want to buy “secured by design” windows? This is a higher standard of security. Your local council will only use these types of frames for council owned property where they are responsible for security. It has a testing approval by the police as it is harder to break into than standard windows. You can expect to pay 15% more for “secured by design” products. In many cases council owned houses are much better protected than private housing.
Are your suppliers Pas 23/24 approved? This is the highest accreditation awarded by BSI.
Have you been made aware of the higher thermal specification and security options on composite doors? These are a much superior product to PVCu doors. Again used on most council owned property and available “secured by design”
This list is not exhaustive but if you can get positive answers to all the questions above, you can be sure you will be getting a quality product to enhance and protect your home. Do not be afraid to ask questions and demand answers. Every supplier wants your order and should be prepared to provide you with information.
Do not be pressured by fantastic discounts that are only available on the night. If a supplier can offer you 50% discount, weren’t they overpricing you in the first place. If you feel that you have a deal that suits you make sure you check the following before signing on the night:
- Fensa registration number
- Sign your order subject to survey (there can be very good reasons why a specification has to change after survey, but a survey is sometimes used to increase the price)
If you make sure you adhere to the above points you will have an enjoyable experience during your home improvement purchase.