Do window fitters have to be FENSA registered?

A professional glazier fitting a window.

If you work as a glazier or window and doors fitter, you’ve no doubt come across FENSA. However, unless you work for yourself, you can be forgiven for not knowing what this organisation does and why they are so important in this industry.

In this guide, we explain exactly what FENSA is. We also outline what it means to be a ‘FENSA-approved’ company and explain if this is a legal requirement for self-employed window fitters. Finally, this guide also highlights the insurance needs of window fitters. This includes explaining why one specialist policy, designed for small businesses, might be all you need to set you on your way. 

What is FENSA?

Set up in 2002 by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF), FENSA is a UK government authorised scheme. Officially known as the Fenestration Self-Assessment scheme, it monitors the compliance of window fitters in the UK. This is done in accordance with building regulation compliance.

Businesses and self-employed individuals in this industry apply to become FENSA certified. To become a FENSA-certified installer, your business must:

- follow all relevant UK building regulations
- comply with energy efficiency standards
- be registered with a local authority.

All FENSA-approved installers are regularly assessed to ensure compliance is being maintained.

What is a FENSA certificate?

A FENSA certificate is a document that proves any window or door fitting in your property has been completed by a competent installer. It also certifies that the materials used meet all required regulatory standards. With this in mind, these certificates can become very important pieces of evidence when it comes to selling a property.

Once a job has been completed, approved installers provide customers with a certificate. This will prove that the work has been correctly carried out. It also provides evidence for an insurance-backed warranty. This is a FENSA quality guarantee.

As a customer, this is why it’s important to opt for a FENSA-approved installer. From an installer’s perspective, being FENSA-approved helps you to stand out from the competition. It also provides customers with additional peace of mind. This is vital for winning new business.

Is a FENSA certificate a legal requirement for windows?

Although there is no legal requirement for property owners to use FENSA-approved installers to fit new windows and doors, it is recommended. This is because, in order to sell a property, any window replaced after April 2002 must have a FENSA certificate.

If a homeowner cannot provide evidence that their new windows are compliant, they will have to pay for an inspection. Additionally, if this inspection finds any installation that does not comply, the owner will have to pay for the work to be corrected. Any work then has to be completed before the sale of the property can be completed. This means FENSA-approved installers are a far more attractive proposition when a potential client needs new windows or doors fitting.

What qualifications do I need to be a window fitter?

As with FENSA-certification, you don’t legally require any specific qualifications to work as a window fitter in the UK. However, this doesn’t mean they are not important in order to be successful. 

Formal training will give you the basic knowledge needed to provide work of the highest standard. It can also help you to attract customers and boost earning potential. You may want to consider taking a short window fitting training programme at college, such as the NVQ Level 2 Fenestration Installer course, for example.

Alternatively, you may want to combine practical work experience with classroom-based training. If this is the case, a Level 2 Fenestration Installer apprenticeship could be for you. Both qualifications will help you when it comes to becoming FENSA-approved later down the line. And as stressed above, this could be the difference between your business thriving and struggling. Overall, while not compulsory, formal training is a good idea before starting your own business in this trade.

What is glazier and window fitters’ insurance?

As the name suggests, glazier and window fitters’ insurance refers to specialist cover that financially protects those that work in this industry. Alongside FENSA-certification, ensuring your glazier and window fitting business is properly insured is one of the most important parts of running your company.

At Markel Direct, we offer specialist Glaziers Insurance that starts from £9 a month*. These tailored policies are designed to provide a selection of different covers. These range from employers' liability insurance - which is a legal requirement if your business employs any staff - to public liability cover. Additional policies such as professional indemnity insurance and tools and equipment cover can also be built into your made-to-measure policy.

* Price based on a glazier requiring £1m of public liability insurance cover.

Business insurance from £5 a month