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Local Authority Building Control

FENSA works in partnership with Local Authorities countrywide. Did you know that:

  • FENSA has to date, notified over 12 million installations to Local Authorities;
  • Local Authorities are given special access to the FENSA database on to enable them to verify and check the details of installations in their district;
  • Local Authority Building Control departments and FENSA contact each other to share information on installation and queries relating to installers
  • Local Authorities' interpretation of the Building Regulations can differ as they incorporate other building control aspects such as overall insulation and thermal efficiency requirements;
  • If you have a complaint about a company with documentary evidence that the installer is misusing the FENSA logo, not self certifying replacement glazing work with a Competent Person scheme like FENSA or obtaining approval from Building Control, you can submit this information with evidence online anonymously on or to FENSA. FENSA will forward the evidence to Trading Standards or Local Authority Building Control for investigation. FENSA can only deal directly with complaints regarding non compliance with the Building Regulations, and providing the installation company is FENSA registered. Click here for advice on how we will deal with complaints.
  • Other non compliant installations carried out by non FENSA Registered Businesses are also reported.

Notifying your Local Authority

You must obtain planning permission from your local authority if you are altering or extending your property in any way. Before you install any replacement glazing, check to see if the work must be notified to Building Control:

  • General: Where windows and doors are completely replaced (as opposed to repaired) in existing dwellings, they must comply with the relevant Building Regulations. This applies regardless of whether the installation work is being installed by a company or as a DIY project.

    Where windows and doors are to be replaced (but, not where they are to be repaired only, as repair work does not fall within the definition of building work) the replacement work should comply with the requirements of part L and N for Wales or K4 for England of the Building Regulations. In addition once the work has been completed, the building should not have a lesser level of compliance with all other applicable parts of schedule 1.

    This means all replacement windows and doors must comply with Approved Documents N / K (Safety Glazing) and L (Thermal Insulation). Other elements of the Building Regulations A (Structure), F (Ventilation), B (Means of escape), C (Moisture Penetration, J (Combustion Appliances and Fuel Storage Systems), M (Access) and Regulation 7 (Workmanship and Materials), must not be made worse by the replacement installation.

    To ensure an installer has not created a lesser level of compliance against the Building Regulations, the installer must collect evidence of the features of the original installation. This is particularly appropriate for Approved Document B Fire where the original windows egress ability will determine the compliance of the replacement window.
  • Flats: For certain properties including flats, maisonettes, buildings in conservation areas , some local authorities do require planning permission before changing the windows. FENSA advises that the homeowner check with the relevant local authority Planning Department before entering into a contract. Once planning permission is granted a FENSA registered installer can register the installation for certification purposes.
  • Listing Buildings: If the homeowner lives in a property that is a Listed Building and wish to replace the windows this would fall under the Jurisdiction of the relevant Local Authority therefore listed building consent would be required and the installation cannot be registered with FENSA.
  • Doors: Doors with less than 50% glazing are controlled under the Building Regulations but do not at present fall within the scope of the FENSA scheme.
  • Porches and Conservatories: Porches and Conservatories do not generally come under the FENSA registration scheme. Both Porches and Conservatories MUST comply with the glazing requirements of Approved Document N (for Wales) or K4 (for England) for safety glazing to be installed in critical locations.
  • Ventilation: Regarding Approved Document F (Ventilation) there is a requirement for both purge and background ventilation, the key element is to ensure that there is adequate ventilation for the room or building. If a room is not adequately ventilated there is a risk of condensation and potential mould growth.
  • Bay Windows: Bay windows are included in the FENSA Scheme. This means that FENSA registered companies are able to certify and must ensure that bay window installations meet Building Regulations and do not compromise the load bearing ability of the bay.
  • Garage Windows: When garage windows are fitted into an unheated area, which is not part of the house, the windows need not comply with the Building Regulations Approved Document L (Fuel Conservation). However, you may decide to standardise your product range and the information supplied with all windows, in order to reduce variations and specials.
  • Decorative effects: eg Patterned glass, obscured glass, etched glass, stained glass. There are no exclusions for decorative effects, all replacement windows must meet all of the requirements for Approved Documents for replacement windows.

Installations in Scotland and Northern Ireland: FENSA applies to the replacement windows and doors to the Building Regulations for England and Wales. The Building Regulations and compliance requirements are different for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Not notifiable to FENSA

The FENSA scheme does not cover the following:

  • New build dwellings
  • New domestic extensions
  • Any glazing work in commercial and industrial buildings
  • Listed buildings or those in conservation areas
  • Doors with less than 50% glazing
  • Room conversions e.g. bathroom converted into bedroom, new loft conversions
  • Communal areas for flats

Conservatories are exempt from the other parts of the building regulations if the following apply:

  • It is for domestic use only
  • It is built at ground level
  • It contains no sleeping accommodation
  • The roof and walls are glazed with translucent or transparent materials (roof 75%, walls 50% excluding any existing walls.
  • The floor area is less than 30m² (internal floor area)
  • The construction of the conservatory does not affect the existing drainage system.
  • The conservatory if heated; must have separate heating controls.

The FENSA scheme also does not cover any glazing work in the following but the work does not need to be notified to the local authority:

  • Detached garages and sheds
  • Most caravans, mobile homes and holiday chalets
  • Repairs to windows or replacement insulating glass units