Home owners may be caught out if installers of replacement windows and doors ignore new energy regulations.
Building Control officers from South Tyneside Council's Neighbourhood Services are warning that if installers do not join a new national self-certification scheme or make a normal Building Regulation application there could be problems or delays when it comes to buying or selling homes.
Because of recent changes to the legal and technical checks which are done every time a home changes ownership, illegal installations will be discovered at the worst possible time.
This could delay a sale or hold up a chain. At worst it could mean the loss of a sale completely because buyers lose confidence in the integrity of the vendor.
Last April new Building Regulations came into force calling for improved standards of energy efficiency when windows or doors are replaced. The regulations apply when the frames are changed but not when just the glass is replaced.
FENSA (Fenestration Self Assessment) is the scheme which enables Registered Installers of domestic replacement glazing to self-certify that their work complies with the revised energy saving regulations rather than making an application to the local council in the normal way. Over 5,000 companies have now registered with FENSA and are able to self-certify installations. Sites for inspection are randomly picked for quality control inspection to ensure that installers cannot predict which jobs will be checked. Any companies that fall short of the required standards can be suspended or even excluded from the scheme.
A spokesman for Neighbourhood Services said: "Remember, it will delay or even stop the sale of a home if it cannot be proved that the replacement glazing was done legally. Before signing a contract to buy replacement glazing, home owners must ask whether the installer is able to self-certify. If not, an application will have to be made to the local council for approval under the Building Regulations."
Councils are doing what they can to make householders aware of the new regulations because owners need to know that they will be breaking the law if they do not comply.
Further information is available from the local Building Control office at Town Hall, Westoe Road, South Shields. Tel: 424 7436, Fax: 427 7171. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or 24-hour Answerphone 456 6669.