Published On: Wed, May 5th, 2021

Powerful package of meaningful support from FENSA

FENSA – Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme – was created in 2002 after the replacement of windows and doors came under the control of the Building Regulations for England and Wales for the first time. With the fear that Local Authority planning offices would be overwhelmed by the number of home improvement projects now requiring planning approval, the Government decided to licence a number of bodies that could manage the self-certification of window and door installations by the installers themselves. These organisations, known as scheme operators for the Competent Persons Schemes, would manage the self-certification of window and door installations to allow the circumvention of building regulations approval by the local authority. Almost overnight, FENSA became by far the largest of these schemes, a position that it continues to hold to this day.

For many years, pretty much the sole function of FENSA and the other schemes was to issue approval certificates to homeowners following the installation of new windows and doors in their homes. But around three years ago, a new management regime at FENSA realised the potential of FENSA to improve window and door replacement standards throughout the country, by helping installers to professionalise themselves and protect their clients the homeowners.

The result of this renaissance is not only an improvement in the support provided to FENSA Approved Installers, but also an improvement in perceptions of the ‘double glazing’ industry overall. For, whilst significantly better than the heady ‘White Gold’ days of the ‘Eighties, the reputation of the sharp end of the industry can always benefit from promotion and especially if it comes through a formally administered competency scheme. Further, the new managers figured, the more installations that could be driven through FENSA, the stronger the scheme would be, with more people protected.

The overhaul of the organisation began in 2017 and has resulted in some impressive statistics. A 2019 YouGov poll revealed that 73% of homeowners would only use FENSA Approved Installers to replace their windows and doors, a figure driven by a substantial TV advertising campaign, followed by radio advertising and underpinned throughout by powerful social media messaging.

In addition to its image, FENSA has also been bolstered by the creation of tangible, additional services for its registered Approved Installers, whose numbers have grown significantly in the past year. Director of membership for FENSA Chris Beedel offered details: “FENSA now offers a most powerful package of meaningful support measures for its Approved Installer members, which in turn of course, serves homeowners very well,” explained Chris. “The advertising campaigns and especially the TV commercials have ensured that awareness amongst homeowners is at an all-time high, which has the tangible effect of driving business to FENSA Approved Installers. This is aided directly through the lead generation facility that we added to the FENSA website, that connects homeowners with registered installers in their area. Lead numbers have regularly exceeded 500 a month since the service was launched last August and these are passed on free of charge to our Approved Installers.”

To enable FENSA installers to take advantage of the extensive advertising support and resultant brand awareness, the organisation introduced discounted branded workwear and support for installers’ own marketing, such as for websites and advertising. Additional financial benefits are now passed on in the form of discounts at selected trade counters, insurance products, fuel, marketing services and CRM systems. Chris says that these can add up to substantial savings: “We can prove that even the basic certification service offered is good value for money when compared to other schemes and certainly against the alternative route of going through the local council. But the additional benefits will offset these costs further.

“Because all of these things are part of a cohesive package designed specifically to provide support for FENSA Approved Installers, they ensure a professional, coordinated image is presented to the public. This further inspires confidence,” added Chris. Technical advice and bespoke training complete this package but there are plans to add more options to the FENSA package for installers this year.
The FENSA package is impressive even when compared to the standards of even some of the more successful commercially support programmes offered by fabricators and systems suppliers. But it is more powerful still, by being grounded in improving the lot of installers and homeowners alike, irrespective of any commercial biases. Something that is, indeed, far more valuable than the regulated certificates that are the basis of FENSA.