What is a Competent Persons Scheme?
Competent Persons Schemes were introduced by the Government to enable companies to self-certify compliance under the Building Regulations without the need for a separate assessment from Building Control.
CERTASS vs FENSA
Certass and Fensa are the best known Competent Persons Schemes serving the replacement window industry; there may also be other schemes. They are all government-authorised and provide the same basic service: the issue of Building Regulations Compliance Certificates. For you, the customer, it doesn't really matter which one your supplier is with as they all perform the same role. Spectrum is a registered member of CERTASS.
As part of the registration process, we had to pass an assessment of our company, our surveyor and our installers. For surveyors and installers, this includes a short exam which includes current building regulations, a face-to-face interview and an on-site assessment to ensure their knowledge and skills meet the required standard to ensure compliance with building regulations.
Once the work is completed and paid for, you will receive a certificate showing that your windows comply with Building Regulations. You should keep this safely as if you come to sell the property, the buyers' solicitor may ask for the certificate. If you don't have a certificate, you will have to get your windows certified by building control (for a fee) or alternatively provide indemnity insurance instead.
You will normally receive your compliance certificate from CERTASS up to 4 weeks after the windows have been installed and paid for.
Are all windows & doors covered by the scheme?
No. Broadly speaking, only direct replacement windows and doors in domestic buildings can be covered. If the opening has been widened, then it cannot be included. However, the height of the window is not taken into account and where the frame is taller than the old frame, is may still be included.
On the whole, conservatories and porches are not notifiable and therefore they are not covered by this scheme. You will need to enquire with your local authority to check regarding notification and certification. See here for further guidance. New buildings, new extensions and new window openings are not included in the scheme. and you will need to contact Building Control for certification.
It is a requirement of Certass that the deposit paid is covered by an insurance-backed guarantee to protect you in the event that your supplier/installer ceases trading. This is in addition from the deposit protection offered by Internorm and Solarlux. Our insurance-backed guarantee is provided by QANW.
Certass members are required to abide by the Certass consumer code. The consumer code demonstrates the business is dedicated to delivering a fair and quality service.
Certass offer a low cost alternative to court proceedings with their Alternate Dispute Resolution service.
This information is designed to help you understand Compentent Person Schemes. It is provided in good faith but it is not a definitive guide and it is your responsibility to ensure your project meets building control regulations.