More than 3,000 homeowners really rate Certass Installers

Expert certification body, Certass, has received outstanding feedback for members with its new online rating system. Since launching in November, there have been more than 3000 reviews, and the rate is increasing by the minute.

Designed to bring even more digital support to Certass members, the free ‘Rate Your Installer’ service provides consumers the chance to leave honest reviews about Certass members online.

The system acts as a platform where members can receive genuine feedback from their customers on the work that they have completed. Thousands of homeowners visit the Certass website searching for information on installers or leaving reviews.

Jason Clemmit, Managing Director at Certass says: “Our online rating system is proving really popular amongst homeowners. Within hours of its launch, we had dozens of ratings from consumers who were leaving such positive feedback about our members.

“There are lots of popular online rating websites that allow anyone to leave feedback, which can often lead to unfair reviews. The Certass ‘Rate Your Installer’ service only permits reviews on jobs which have been finished and registered with Certass.”

All Certass members can add a company bio and have the option to opt-in to the free online rating system. Members are scored by their customers on a range of attributes, including their service, tidiness, reliability & timekeeping, workmanship standards and product suitability. Consumers can leave any additional comments too, which are great for members to use on their own website, social media profiles and marketing resources.

Jason adds: “It’s a valuable, free way for installers to show consumers what a great job that they do. The service builds on our free digital support package for members which helps them to build a professional online presence.”

Certass CQ-Scotland: the certification scheme designed for Scottish installers

Certass CQ-Scotland: the certification scheme designed for Scottish installers

Across the home improvement market, there has been a real shift towards quality. A revival of craftsmanship and authenticity has taken centre stage and homeowners place real value in skilled and trusted tradespeople who they know they can rely on to complete work on their homes.

This is matched with building work regulations and Codes of Practice that have been designed to set the standard for all workmanship, such as glazing, roofing, joinery and insulation.

Building Standards in Scotland

In Scotland, building work that you carry out must meet building standards, ensuring that the properties you work on are safe, structurally sound, energy efficient and sustainable – to name a few. These essentials should always be met for building repair, maintenance and improvement work across Scotland.

While these standards must be conformed to, there’s a real emphasis on competent workmanship too. Focusing on ensuring that you, as a tradesperson, have the right skills and quality products to do a great job. Homeowners look for people who are competent to complete work on their home. We know this because we have hundreds of homeowners each month who search our website looking for information on how to find a competent installer.

CQ-Scotland is a workmanship certification scheme that certifies your home improvements and building work. It is a scheme designed with installers and builders in mind. It helps to assure your customers that industry standards have been met and your skills have been assessed. Giving homeowners added peace of mind, along with the confidence that the job will be done right.

CQ-Assured, giving your customers the confidence in what you do

The CQ-Scotland Scheme is a quality mark for your windows, doors and home improvements work. It’s an all-encompassing certification scheme that can cover your workmanship for up to 13 different building trades, including window and door replacements, to constructing conservatories and extensions, tiling and solid roof replacements.

CQ-Scotland helps you to prove to homeowners in Scotland that your workmanship meets industry standards, and as a Certass CQ member, your work is backed by TrustMark’s 3 cornerstones of quality, representing good trading practices, customer service and technical competence.

We complete an initial contractor assessment, an assessment of supervisors and carry out ongoing on-site assessments, so that you can self-certify that your workmanship meets and exceeds building standards and codes of practice too.

The Certass Toolkit

CQ-Scotland is designed to be as accessible and affordable as possible. Membership costs start at £24.95 per month + VAT, with extra scopes costing £5 each, and there is access to a toolkit of advantages to help you show your competency to homeowners.

Digital Support Package

As a Certass member, you get free digital support. This includes your own member profile on our consumer online directory. This works as a truly effective way to help homeowners search for certified installers. The profile gives your company details, an online bio and the chance for your customers to leave you ratings and reviews. You will also receive a unique logo with your membership numbers displayed.

Common sense certification

The CQ-Scotland Scheme allows you to self-certify that your work meets workmanship standards, and you will be issued with a Certificate of Conformity (COC). This helps to set you apart from competition and adds real value to your home improvements work, offering extra peace of mind for your customers.

Workmanship warranty

With each installation you log under the scheme, and once your Certificate of Conformity has been issued, we pass the data over to your approved insurance provider, where you will receive a minimum 2-year insurance backed workmanship warranty. This gives your customer protection on the work you complete – a great benefit to offer homeowners.

Dispute resolution

We know that things sometimes do go wrong, even for the best contractors. That’s why we provide free access to an alternative dispute resolution service, to provide you with reassurance in the rare instances where you may need extra support.

Becoming a Certass CQ-Scotland member

It’s really simple to become a member of the CQ-Assured Scheme in Scotland. You can register on our website via our online registration form, or you can call Simon, our CQ-Assured whiz, on 07977 430 438.

Get online installer support with the Certass Digital Support Package

As a member of Certass, we pledge to offer you all the installer support and practical solutions to promote your business. That’s why we have created our Digital Support Package. A complete toolkit of free, practical online tools that will help make a real difference. And, if your business is not already online, we want to help you make the jump even easier.

The Digital Support Package is designed to help you create a professional online presence, easily. It comprises of an online bio, a customer ratings service and unique dynamic logos, all helping you to give your customers the confidence to choose you.

We’ve outlined the digital support you get as a Certass member below:

A unique online profile

Your free, online bio is a huge part of our online installer support and can generate more enquiries for you. As a Certass member, you will be given a profile on our consumer online directory. This allows consumers to search for their local Certass member, find your business and learn more about your company.

This is perfect if you don’t already have a website. It creates an online presence for you, that your customers can visit to get your contact information easily and see the details of your Certass membership. The profile contains:

✓ Address and contact details

✓ Company bio

✓ Links to website and social media

✓ Upload photos

✓ Member ratings

Your online profile also contains information on your Certass membership, including your unique Certass number and the status of your membership, so that homeowners can see that you are still registered with us.

If you’ve not seen our online consumer directory before, have a browse here.

Get leads

The Certass online directory is a great lead generation tool that’s promoted to homeowners across the country. It effectively helps you get leads from prospective customers by acting as a reliable and trusted directory with a simple-to-use search function.

Homeowners can easily find local installers by searching a postcode, or they can find out more information on your business by searching your company name or unique Certass number.

Dynamic Certass logos

To accompany our installer support, we provide you with unique, personalised dynamic logos that confirm your Certass and Certass Trade Association membership.

The logos display your membership details and unique Certass member number, proving your certifications while giving your customers an added layer of confidence when choosing you for their home improvements.

Your dynamic Certass logo is yours to use however you like. We suggest displaying it on your website, on your social media pages, your email footer and on your quotes.

Member ratings system

Our member ratings system acts as a platform where you can receive genuine, verified feedback from your customers on work that you have completed.

Lots of popular online rating websites allow anyone to leave feedback, which can lead to unfair and false reviews. They can also be costly for small businesses.

Our system works by allowing your customers to leave feedback upon completion and registration of an installation. All you need to do is provide your customer’s email address when you log any work with us under your Certass certification scheme.

Your customer will then be emailed a ratings form to complete prior to receiving their Certass Compliance Certificate. You will be scored by your customers on service, reliability & timekeeping, tidiness, workmanship standards and product suitability. If a customer email address is supplied, every job registered with us is eligible to leave feedback.

Your ratings will then be displayed on your online profile and you will receive a notification when you have new review, along with any additional comments, so that you can use your ratings across social media platforms, your website and any other marketing resources. We also share your rating comments with you on our social media pages.

To find out more information about our Digital Support Package, and the other great benefits of being a Certass member, get in touch with us via email at [email protected], or click here for our contact details.

Jon Vanstone to lead the debate at FIT Show

Jon Vanstone from Certass, speaking at the Everglade Conference

Jon Vanstone has been announced as the compère for the FIT Theatre on day two of FIT Show 2019, as well as delivering a seminar on competency in the glazing industry.

As Chair of Certass Ltd, Certass Trade Association, Competent Persons Forum (CPF), Trade Association Forum (TAF) and Delivery Director of RoofCERT, Jon is in a unique position and has an overview of the general construction industry, as well as the glazing sector.

Jon will be hosting the Fit Theatre for the entire day on Wednesday 22 May and his seminar session ‘Building Competence: What the glazing world can learn from other areas of construction will be delivered on Wednesday 22 May at 2.15pm, ahead of Skills Thursday.

Jon explains: “It’s a privilege to be asked to lead the debate for a day at FIT Show 2019, especially as the conversation around skills and competency is finally being noticed in the industry.

“At my seminar, I’ll be talking about the ways in which sectors such as roofing are developing a skilled workforce and a better relationship with consumers to enhance perception as a trusted trade. It’s a great talking point for the glazing industry, as we can learn a lot from the successes in other sectors.”

Jon will also feature on the seminar programme as part of a panel debate on how the industry works collaboratively to change perceptions on Thursday 21 May. When Jon isn’t on stage, visitors can find him on the Certass Stand D29 in Hall 20, near the FIT Theatre.

Certass Digital Support Package Helps Installers get Online

Delivering on its promise for tangible member benefits, Certass has launched its Digital Support Package for members to help them go digital, get ratings from their customers and prove their professionalism.

Jason Clemmit, Managing Director at Certass explains: “Members have been asking us to help them promote their businesses and as we have pledged to support them with practical business tools, it made sense to create a package that could help make a real difference.

“More than 70 percent of local installers still don’t have a website, but Certass members can now create their free member profile on certass.co.uk. They can upload images, create a company bio and link to their social media pages from here, so when homeowners search for a glazing installer, it’s easy for them to find out more about them.

“It also shows the status of their Certass membership, so homeowners can check that they are still registered with us. For extra peace of mind, we’ve added a ratings section too. Installers can give their customers a link, so they can get genuine, helpful ratings.”

Through the new Certass member ratings system, installers are scored by their customers on service, reliability & timekeeping, tidiness, workmanship standards and product suitability. The ratings are then displayed on each member profile. Installers receive a notification when a review has been completed, along with any additional comments so they can be used on social media and marketing resources.

Jason adds: “As an extra, every Certass member now has a personalised, dynamic Certass and Certass Trade Association member logo featuring their member number, proving their membership to homeowners. They can display this on their website, social media pages or add it as a footer to their email quotes.”

Certass members can create their free profile through the members area online.

Introducing Dynamic Certass Logos

a sample of the Certass dynamic logo

Both Certass and the Certass Trade Association pledge to be the trusted ally of quality installer members. That’s why we have dynamic logos. Protecting members, the wider industry and homeowners alike.

So often we hear of rogue traders and companies misusing the Certass logo to endorse that their product or service is certified, when in fact they aren’t members of any certification body. This not only has consequences to end users and homeowners, but also for our industry, damaging the reputations of those who work so hard to establish trusted businesses.

We will provide you with a dynamic logo that confirms that you are a Certass member and displays your membership number.

What is a Dynamic Logo?

A dynamic logo is a new version of our traditional logo that is designed especially for our members.

It has your unique membership number and specifies whether you are a certified installer, supplier or trade association member. Dynamic logos are also available for our key partners, service providers and affiliates.

Key Partners

Key partners are companies who work closely with Certass to cross promote each other and may offer special rates to Certass members.

Service Providers

Service providers are companies that offer Certass endorsed services to our industry. We check these companies and they often offer special rates to our members.

Affiliates

Certass affiliates are companies that can offer services to our members that we deem of interest to  members and the industry. These are companies of good standing but aren’t directly endorsed.

Why it’s Important for Members to Have a Dynamic Logo

It’s so important for all our members to use their new dynamic logo to endorse their certifications and to verify membership to customers.

Your dynamic logo is personal to you, and helps your customers and homeowners ensure that you are fully certified, quality assured and have the workmanship to carry out the job.

Dynamic logos can be downloaded from your Certass members area and they are ready to use straight away across your websites, marketing materials, stationary and vans.

We recommend that all our members switch from using the old Certass logo to their new dynamic logo as soon as possible.

How Certass Members Become Quality Assured

We’re committed to providing help and support to our members, so that they can be the best trader they can be.

Each member who is registered to our CQ Assured scheme is audited by our team. This checks qualifications, records and compliance logs are up to date along with the quality of their workmanship.

The CQ Assured scheme helps to assure that members have the skills and knowledge to produce quality workmanship and give homeowners real confidence when it comes to finding a tradesperson.

We also provide a voice for our members with the Certass Trade Association (CTA). The CTA helps to champion installers and tradespeople with practical hands on support and guidance, so they can produce a skilled workforce to support their business.

As a member of Certass, you can already benefit from the trade association, and are  able to download a Certass Trade Association dynamic logo too.

How Can Homeowners Choose a Certified Tradesperson

It’s so important that homeowners can be certain that their chosen tradesperson is certified.

The Certass dynamic logo is a trusted method to ensure that each member has the correct certifications and skills to complete home improvements.

Homeowners can search our online directory using any Certass certified installer’s membership number to verify their credentials.

You can download your dynamic logo from your members area, or if you have any questions about dynamic logos, you can get in touch with us for more information.

Health and Safety on Site

Health and safety on site is so important. To get the best advice for our members, we asked Suzanne Dixon, a leading chartered Health and Safety practitioner to give us the low-down on what you need to know. Suzanne is the director of Derby-based Kedleston Safety Ltd and says installers must learn the law and stay safe at work.

Working safely and recognising proper Health and Safety procedures on any project, large or small, is paramount in today’s world.

To keep homeowners safe, installers need to be fully aware of current requirements, laws and training.

Working in the glazing industry can be full on and without the right knowledge, you could expose homeowners and yourself to endless risks if the correct safety methods of work are not followed.

Since the Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 were introduced, homeowners are now responsible for taking up these duties – but YOUR safety as an installer must be considered at all times.

Risk

There are several risks you, as an installer, may encounter when working in people’s homes. Falls from height, climbing steps and working on platforms, and using equipment and tools could expose you to various risk.

Following the correct safety methods is vital on any project, and you may need training.

At work, your health, welfare and safety are protected by law – but you have legal duties too. As an installer, ensuring that homeowners are safe is something you must do every single day of your working life.

Top tips:

  1. Take care of your own health and safety.
  2. Make sure others, like the homeowner, are not affected by your work.
  3. ALWAYS adhere to instructions or control measures – like wearing hi-vis workwear or protective equipment like safety helmets and eye protection.

New rules

Three years ago, the Construction (Design and Management) Regulation 2015 came into force. One of the biggest changes was the abolition of the CDM co-ordinator (CDMC).

The updated regulations now place a responsibility on everyone involved in the construction industry – and that includes installers.

Today, all those who work in the construction industry – especially window fitters – have a part to play in looking after their own health and safety. Managing this and the welfare of your ‘construction site’ is now more important than ever before.

Guide

  1. Always inspect equipment that you’re working with.
  2. If you see any problems with ladders, scaffolding and mobile towers, deal with it.
  3. Only repair if you are authorised to.

Working at heights

The first thing to consider when working at heights is whether you can avoid it. If not, the next consideration for an installer is how to prevent a fall.

Falls from height is the main cause of death in construction so proper procedures should be followed.

Don’t take any chances when you’re considering working at height. Work platforms with suitable guards should always be installed.

The Working at Height Regulations reinforces the hierarchy of fall prevention, which means a ladder should only be used if it is not reasonably practical to use other safer forms of access.

In some cases, a proper risk assessment should be carried out by a Health and Safety Executive, like me. If you’re unsure, I can help. I’ve got more than 18 years of Health and Safety experience.

Slips and trips

As a Chartered Health and Safety practitioner, there are many health and safety risks to consider. One of the biggest risks to a workforce are slips and trips.

At every project, there are dangers. But to help keep homeowners safe while you’re working at their properties, you should follow these rules.

  1. Make sure work areas are clean.
  2. Wear suitable footwear.
  3. Ensure you have adequate lighting.
  4. Keep an eye out for visitors to your work area.
  5. Agree on a safe work route to the workplace.

Asbestos

More than 4,000 people die prematurely every year as a result of exposure to asbestos. Window installers are particularly at risk.

Installers could disturb carcinogenic substances if the building was constructed before the mid-  1980s.

Compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 means it’s common for installers to find themselves in a situation where asbestos has been disturbed.

TIP: It’s perfectly reasonable for glazing installers to ask a client for their asbestos register or the specialist asbestos survey before starting work.

And finally…

Keeping installers safe is why articles like this are so important. If you’re unsure about Health and Safety, you’re not on your own.

But this guide is all about educating people and increasing knowledge when it comes to Health and Safety.

The last thing you want to do, as an installer, is breach regulations and put yourself and others in danger.

Health and Safety is the law.

Get More from your Competent Person Scheme

For installers who are looking to get more from their Competent Person Scheme (CPS), Certass has a full value-added package to help them get more benefits for their business. Plus, Certass makes switching from an existing CPS really simple, with straightforward admin and friendly, helpful support on the end of the phone.

Certass CPS benefits include free membership of Certass Trade Association, the glazing industry’s largest trade body, which gives installers access to extra technical and business support. Low-cost public-liability & business insurance and access to finance is also included.  There is also the option to add on workmanship certification for other building fabric trades and free access to dispute resolution services. On top of all this, installers can get leads direct from homeowners through Certass’ online ‘Find an Installer’ service.

Jason Clemmit, Managing Director at Certass says: “Competent Person Schemes are an essential part of any installer’s remit, so it makes sense to give them a whole package of extras that adds real value for their business. As well as cost-savings on things like insurance, members get access to exclusive member discounts and offers.

“Installers can also get leads from homeowners through our digital support initiatives. We know that most homeowners are checking out companies online before they buy, and our new Digital Support Package helps members get noticed and rated by previous customers.”

The Certass Digital Support Package gives members a unique business profile on the Certass website that homeowners can access through the ‘search for an installer’ function. There is also an online ratings section, where existing customers can score their installers’ service, workmanship and reliability. Plus, every Certass member receives their own unique Certass member logo, as added assurance for authentic membership.

Jason adds: “Whilst we are adding lots of extra benefits for installers, we also know that the priority should always be common-sense, low-cost certification. That’s why Certass schemes are designed by tradespeople for tradespeople, and membership starts at just £23.95 +VAT per month.”

How to Improve the Energy Efficiency in Homes

For many homeowners, saving money on heating bills and finding ways to become more energy efficient is high priority.

Lots of houses across the UK suffer from poor insulation and ventilation, which doesn’t help with regulating the temperature within the home properly.

Draughts, cold spots and dampness can create heat loss in homes, which contributes to increasing heating bills during the winter. A lack of proper ventilation can cause rooms to become too hot to use in the warmer months and also increases the risk of condensation.

By making home improvements and conserving energy, not only can homeowners reduce carbon footprints, but they can save money in the long run. There are lots of cost-effective solutions and strategies that are proven to improve the energy efficiency of a home.

Fabric First

When thinking about energy efficient homes, homeowners often look first at different ways of heating the property, such as a new boiler for example. This is important but it’s a good idea to look at the fabric of a property first!

This begins with assessing how air tight a home is and making all the necessary improvements and looking at the thermal performance and energy ratings of installations such as the windows and doors. Upgrading the heating systems should be the final step that’s taken for improving a home’s energy efficiency.

Upgrade the Insulation

Often, homes have old and inefficient insulation, which could be letting lots of heat escape during the cooler winter weather, and this not only has a bad impact on the environment, but it increases heating bills too.

That’s why making sure a home has effective insulation installed is key. There are lots of insulating methods to choose from, and they all depend on a property and the homeowner’s requirements, including external, internal and cavity wall insulation.

When installed correctly, energy efficient cavity wall insulation can be extremely effective. Cavity wall insulation consists of highly efficient, thermally effective material being blown in between the cavity wall.

Our CQ Assured scheme ensures that members have all the skills and knowledge to clear existing cavity wall insulation, ready for it to be replaced with brand-new efficient insulation, giving homeowners peace of mind that the job will be completed to the best standards.

Along with the walls in a home, a large percentage of heat loss can occur through the roof, so it’s a good idea to make sure that the loft is fully insulated too.

Refurbishing a Conservatory

With old, glazed conservatories, it’s more than likely that they are too hot during the summer and too cold and draughty through winter. If homeowners experience this, replacing the roof with a high-performance solid roof could be beneficial.

Solid conservatory roof systems have been designed and engineered to be lightweight with great thermal performance, making them ideal for replacing old and inefficient glazed or polycarbonate roofs.

They help to ventilate, insulate and reduce heat loss in the room, transforming an old conservatory that’s too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer into a space that can be used all year round.

Our CQ Assured scheme certifies installers who fit solid conservatory roof replacements, so by choosing a Certass certified installer, homeowners can have peace of mind that they have the right skills and knowledge to complete the job properly.

Replacing Windows

Old windows, along with windows that aren’t installed correctly, are another cause of heat loss and draughts in homes.

Some older windows aren’t efficient, even if they have double glazing. Since Window Energy Ratings (WERs) were introduced in 2002, all windows must meet minimum thermal performance ratings to pass Building Regulations.

Window Energy Ratings were developed to measure and rate the energy efficiency of windows, and it’s required that all windows must be rated as C or above on a scale from A to G or have a U-Value of 1.6 W/m2K or lower.

The energy ratings of windows are calculated by measuring the heat loss, solar heat gain and U-Values of a fully installed windows, considering elements such as the thermal performance of the window frame, glazing and spacer bar. Combining these together creates an overall rating of how energy efficient the replacement window is.

Our Thermal Rating Register measures the Window Energy Ratings of windows using an easy-to-recognise traffic light system, to show that a window is both Building Regulations compliant and installed by a fully certified, Certass installer.

Choose a Home Improvement Installer Who’s Certified

By taking the ‘fabric first’ approach to creating an energy efficient home, there are plenty of straight forward options that homeowners can follow. For a tradesperson to carry out home improvements, they will need to be registered with a UKAS accredited, government approved certification scheme.

Our certification schemes cover a wide range of building fabric refurbishments, from solid conservatory roofs to cavity wall clearance and replacement windows and doors. So, you know that any work completed by a Certass certified tradesperson will meet and exceed Building Regulations, with the right skills and knowledge to do a great job.

To talk to a Certass tradesperson about energy efficient measures in homes, homeowners can find their nearest installer through our online directory here.

CQ-Assured – The Key to Consumer Confidence

Certass, the common-sense installer certification provider, has relaunched its CQ-Assured Scheme which includes 13 different work scopes to help installers who fit more than just windows and doors. It gives contractors the ability to register work they complete for their customers and provide them with a Certificate of Conformity (COC).

Membership benefits include free TrustMark membership, free alternative dispute resolution and free Certass Trade Association membership, as well as access to home improvement finance.

Jason Clemmit, Managing Director at Certass, explains: “We know that many double-glazing installers are moving away from fitting windows and doors alone and expanding what they offer to become home improvement companies.

“That’s why our CQ-Assured Scheme covers 13 different work scopes, including warm solid roof replacements, conservatory erection and roofline as well as new build windows & doors, joinery, roofing, plastering and rendering – it covers a full range of building fabric refurbishments.

“Not only does the scheme give installers third party back-up, it gives consumers real confidence when selecting a contractor to carry out work on their home, whether it’s a new front door or a home extension.

“Installation conformity is backed by TrustMark’s 3 cornerstones of quality – good trading practices, good customer service and technical competence. This third-party assurance gives consumers confidence that Certass members will deliver a great home improvement service.”

Certass schemes are designed to be simple and affordable whilst adding real value for contractors. Membership starts at just £23.95 per month and extra scopes can be added for just £5.

Certass says: “Let’s champion our local installers”

Expert certification body, Certass Ltd, wants glazing companies to get together and champion local installers who are the connection between the industry and the consumer.

Jason Clemmit, Managing Director at Certass explains: “This year, there has been a lot of bad industry press where skills and competency are concerned. Whilst we do have issues with a growing skills gap and an ageing workforce, we need to champion the local installers. They have proven, competent installation skills and are using them to deliver impressive installations to consumers.

“At Certass, we believe in real, sensible certification to ensure these great standards are delivered to homeowners. That’s done through our installer certification schemes and the Certass Skills Card.

“The Certass Skills Card has a set of requirements and everyone who holds one has completed a knowledge assessment, had their work observed onsite by one of our assessors and had a professional discussion about their work too. It’s called Minimal Technical Competence, but really, we should be calling it Mandatory Technical Competence, because nothing in our scheme is optional.

“The numbers speak for themselves for Certass members. Over the last 12 months, 99.92 percent of our audited jobs passed Building Regulation standards first time, proving that our installer standards really are top-notch and well ahead of those reported in some other known market schemes.

“So, that’s why we’re calling on the industry to champion and celebrate local installers who are doing a great job of installing window and doors for UK homeowners.”

Energy Ratings Explained for your Windows

Energy ratings for homes graphic for Certass

Did you know, more than 25% of heat lost within your home typically escapes through old windows?

The windows installed in a home can make a huge difference on the overall warmth of a property, and with more and more households looking at ways to save money on their energy bills, a question we’re often asked is just how energy efficient are replacement windows?

When new energy efficient windows are installed properly, they help to reduce the overall heat loss from your home and your carbon footprint. However, old, inefficient windows can become a main source of heat loss and draughts, meaning you’ll probably be spending more on your heating bills.

That’s why, when replacing your existing windows, it is so important to make sure that they are energy efficient.

Replacement windows have to meet building regulation requirements for energy efficiency, measured either through a U-Value calculation or a Window Energy Rating (WER), with a rating scale of A-G, with A being the highest.

What are Window Energy Ratings?

Window Energy Ratings were introduced to help select the right windows for your home, by comparing the energy efficiency of the different window products.

Currently, under building regulations, replacement windows must either be window efficiency rated to a minimum of ‘C’ or have a U-Value of 1.6 W/m2K or lower (lower U-values are better as it relates to the rate of heat flow). A ‘replacement window’ means that both the frame and glass are replaced at the same time, as a complete installation.

WERs use a simple system to calculate the thermal efficiency of windows by taking into account U-Values, solar heat gain and air leakage of a window.

A window is made from several aspects, including the frame, glass and spacer bar between the panes of glass. All of these have different thermal values, so the WER is measured by combining all these aspects together and calculating a whole window energy rating.

Certass’ Thermal Rating Register

Building regulations were first changed in 2002 to incorporate thermal performance for replacing windows in homes. This prompted the development of Window Energy Ratings, and there are now thousands of window installers and products that are registered with a WERs scheme, making it easy for you to choose the most energy efficient windows for your home.

Window Energy Rating Schemes, such as our Thermal Rating Register, were established to create an easily recognisable tool that measures the Window Energy Ratings.

The Thermal Rating Register rates the energy efficiency and thermal performance of the window installation using an easily recognisable, traffic light style, A-G scale, like you find on fridges, freezers and washing machines.

The higher the rating, the better the overall thermal efficiency, helping to save money on energy bills and reducing the home’s carbon footprint.

Window manufacturers use the Thermal Rating Register to show homeowners how efficient their windows are. Each window that is rated using the Thermal Rating Register is given a unique label which shows the energy rating level, so you can easily compare and choose the most energy efficient windows for your home. These labels are usually displayed with the paperwork that comes with the window and can be viewed online too, for easy access.

Why Certass Members are Part of the Thermal Rating Register Scheme

Whilst your windows may have high window energy ratings, and a low U-Value, they need to be installed properly too.

Poorly installed windows massively contribute to heat loss, cold spots and draughts in a property, making it a key that energy efficient windows are installed correctly, by a skilled and certified tradesperson.

The Thermal Rating Register scheme is designed to show that your windows and the completed installation is compliant with building regulations, so you’ll receive energy efficient windows, and a quality installation.

Window installers that are registered with any of our glazing schemes can voluntarily join the Thermal Rating Register scheme, so that they can provide all of their window installations with WERs labels.

This means that by choosing a Certass certified window installer, you’ll get a product that has the right thermal performance features that meet building regulations, and a quality installation by a skilled tradesperson too.

Finding a Certified Installer that can Install your Energy Efficient Windows

We’ve made it easy to find a Certass certified installer that can supply and fit your energy efficient windows, with our online directory. Simply search your address and it will display a list of certified installers that are nearest to you.

Certass Goes Digital with Building Certificates

Certass has introduced digital downloads for building certificates, to make getting certificates quicker, easier and more convenient for Certass members and homeowners.

Jason Clemmit, Managing Director at Certass says: “As consumer trends have changed, lots of homeowners have come to expect electronic documents, rather than having hard copies come through the post.

“Whether it’s bank statements, utility bills or even receipts from high-street shops, almost everything is done via email now, so that’s what consumers have come to expect from their home improvement installers too.

“That’s why we’ve made our certificates available electronically. It’s doesn’t only help homeowners, it makes life easier for members too. When a Certass installer registers an installation with an email address, an email is sent with full details on how to download building certificates from the Certass digital download portal. This can be done by the installer or the homeowner.

“We’ve put a safety net in place too, in case an email address is missed, or mistyped. If emails bounce or the certificate is not downloaded within 30 days, a hard copy will still be sent to the homeowner’s preferred address.

“There’s also a 24-hour window after registration to correct any errors. After this, passed certificates are locked and emailed to consumers within 48 hours of member’s sign-off. Certificates will be in PDF format, so they can be stored digitally or printed by installers as part of their handover information.”

Certass specialises in installer and product certification for a wide range of home improvements, ranging from glazing and solid conservatory roofs to roofline and extensions.

Certass Launches Key Partner Programme

Key Partner Program

Specialist certification body, Certass, has launched its Key Partner Programme, working with system suppliers and fabricators to bring even more support to local installers.

The Certass Key Partner Scheme follows a pilot with Eurocell that was launched last year and brought the industry’s only solid conservatory roof certification scheme to installers of the Equinox warm roof system.

Jon Vanstone, Chairman at Certass explains: “Our Key Partner Programme will add even more value to our Certass members. By working together with systems companies and fabricators, we can offer practical support that doesn’t just help installers with compliance, it also gives them access to technical expertise that helps develop their skills and grow their businesses.

“Between the industry’s systems companies, component suppliers and fabricators there is an impressive wealth of knowledge and expertise that is really valuable to installers. Our programme will bring them together, so that installers can take advantage of that knowledge and get real practical support.”

The Equinox Roof certification scheme has proven popular with installation companies. Certass offers support to events for local installers, like the Equinox installation training morning organised by Derby-based fabricator, Frame Fast UK.

Jon adds: “We want to join with more fabricators and systems companies, to bring installation companies our unique CQ-Assured Certification Scheme with exclusive access to both technical and practical support.”

Do you have your Waste Carrier Licence?

Waste Carrier

In January 2014, the law for the carriage of waste changed in the UK. In short, if you transport waste of any kind, you are legally required to register as a waste carrier, even if it’s only in small quantities. If you fail to do so, you could be faced with fines of up to £5,000!

As part of our dedication to ensure workmanship quality in line with TrustMark standards, we have added the requirement for all our CQ-Assured scheme members to hold a Waste Carrier Licence. By including the licensing as a requirement, we are ensuring that we keep the highest levels of workmanship standards, giving your customers the utmost confidence when choosing you as their tradesperson.

The good news is it’s usually free to register for a Waste Carrier Licence online, you can apply for it here. If you transport waste that you produce yourself, there is no charge, however there’s an Upper Tier licence that does carry a small charge, you can see below for more details.

Why is the Waste Carrier Licence relevant?

Recently, there has been an influx of tradespeople being fined under this law as there has been a combined effort from the Environmental Agency and local authorities to enforce waste carrier regulations across the country.

We all know the damaging effects that waste can have on both the environment and human health if it’s not properly managed or disposed of, and the current regulations are in place to further protect the environment and discourage fly-tipping.

You may be under the assumption that licensing laws only apply for companies where waste carrying and disposal is the main focus of the business, but that’s not the case. It applies to all commercial vehicles who transport waste of any kind. So, if you’ve been on a job and have cleared up debris or have an empty silicone tube in the back of your van, you’ll need a licence.

What is a Waste Carrier Licence?

A Waste Carrier Licence applies to people and businesses who transport, dispose, buy or sell waste or arrange for others to do so on their behalf, basically covering any waste in a commercial vehicle. These regulations are developed by the Environmental Agency as an effort to reduce harm on the environment and health by ensuring that all businesses are authorised to transport waste and that it is disposed of properly.

Once you have registered for a licence, your application and information are made available to the public, so your customers will be able to double check that you have the correct licensing in place. If you are based in England and Wales, your details will appear in the Environmental Agency’s public register of waste carriers, brokers and dealers. For Scotland and Wales, you can find out more information on the public registers here.

Do I need a Waste Carrier Licence?

Put simply, yes! You must register if you transport waste of any kind, buy, sell and dispose of waste or even arrange for someone else to dispose of waste.

The regulations implemented in January 2014 state that if you carry waste as part of your normal business, whether it’s your own waste or someone else’s, you will need to have a Waste Carrier Licence.

Should you be unfortunate enough to be in a vehicle accident, if you are carrying waste products without a waste carrier licence, it could invalidate your insurance.

The two tiers of the Waster Carrier Licence explained

Under the licence, there are two tiers of registration, depending on the type of waste that you have. If you carry any building or demolition waste, or even empty silicone tubes, you are classed as an ‘Upper Tier’ carrier. If you have previously been exempt from carrying waste charges or you carry your own waste that you’ve produced (not including building and demolition materials) on a normal basis, you’re classed as a ‘Lower Tier’ carrier and you won’t appear on a public register. Both tiers demonstrate that regardless of the type of waste you carry, you need to be registered.

In England and Wales, under the Environmental Agency, if you are a Lower Tier carrier registration is usually free, and Upper Tier costs £154. However, these costs can vary between different agencies if you live in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Where can I register for a Waste Carrier Licence?

Registration is super easy, and you can do it all online. You can apply for a licence or renew as a waste carrier, broker or dealer here.

All you will need is the correct details that will be added to the public register, including names and dates of birth of your company executives, owners, directors or partners and details of any previous environmental offences if you have any.

At Certass, where committed to delivering the very best workmanship standards in our schemes, that’s why we have added the Waste Carrier Licence to our CQ-Assured scheme requirements.

If you need any more information, or help with your registration, you can send an email to [email protected]

The Certass Trade Association

Certass Trade Association

You asked, we listened

Introducing your new industry body for glazing, the Certass Trade Association.

Certass Trade Association is the new voice in the industry. A voice that will work alongside you to help your business grow, by offering real, practical hands on support, and to make your business’ views heard.

We understand the need for an association that works with you. We’re part of an industry where there is a lot to contend with – a lack of real support, poor customer perception and a lack of skilled labour.

That’s why we want to get involved with the development of the glazing industry, and we know by creating the largest member body (over 3000 members already) that is open to all companies in the glazing supply chain who share our vision, we can get off the blocks to making a difference and bring on the next generation of tradespeople.

It’s all about the members

The Certass Trade Association is driven by tradespeople, for tradespeople. The team have first-hand experience in the glazing industry and in successful membership bodies for other sectors, so you’ll always receive insight and knowledge that’s both innovative and valuable.

Within the association, no time is wasted on internal politics or irrelevant issues, instead we focus on what our members tell us they want and build our offering to them based on this. We further enhance our offering through collaborations, skills and practical support to drive our industry forward.

The Certass Trade Association Pledge

We want to start championing our local installers and tradespeople, that’s why we have created the Certass Trade Association Pledge.

  • To be your trusted ally in the industry for practical, hands on help and support
  • To be your new glazing voice
  • To give you the heads up with everything that’s happening in the industry and Government
  • To help you grow a skilled workforce with practical support
  • To support you with legislation and certification
  • To provide industry information you need to deliver the latest innovations and services to your customers
  • To collaborate with you to champion diversity and skills within the industry
  • To help bring on the next generation of tradespeople

What you’ll get out of your membership

So, you now know our pledges, but what will you get out of being a member?

Practical advice and support

From best practice guidelines and template documents, to checklists and guides, you will receive real support that will encourage best practice and drive innovation in the glazing industry.

Industry and Government news

You’ll get a heads up with all the news and information in both glazing and Government, so that you can build a strong workforce that is equipped with the right skills, knowledge and confidence to grow.

Access to reliable help when things go wrong

Get the feeling that there’s not a great deal of support in the glazing industry when things don’t go quite right? We will offer extensive technical advice, help on dealing with ‘difficult customers’ and useful ‘how-to’ videos for extra information.

Training and guidance

We will give you all the correct business and ethical practices, with training on maintaining business success, website and social media management, smart business management, ethical selling –  the list goes on.

Marketing support

You will receive marketing support to help promote your business, from online support packages to local advertising materials.

How to become a member

If you’re already a member of Certass, you’re in luck! You will automatically receive the full benefits of the association with no charge.

The Certass Trade Association welcomes everyone in the glazing industry. We want to collaborate with local installers, whether you’re a one-man-band or part of a larger team, fabricators, system companies, component suppliers, training providers, certification suppliers, trade counters – everyone in the industry.

It’s simple to become a member of the Certass Trade Association. You can sign up on our dedicated website www.certassta.co.uk, and we look forward to uniting with you to grow your business and improve our industry.

Building Regulations Explained

Building Regulations

Are you thinking about carrying out building work at your property? Maybe you are planning a beautiful extension or conversion, or even replacing your windows. There’s loads of helpful information and inspiration around to help you plan and create your dream home, but there’s not so much when it comes to the topic of permissions and the regulations that surround the work.

The first step to take once you have decided on what work you want to complete on your property would be to find a designer, architect or certified installer to help you prepare the plans and the finer details. They will be there to help with the requirements that surround the work, and to give you a better understanding of these, we have created this blog to answer some of the most common questions that we’ve heard when it comes to Building Regulations.

What are Building Regulations?

Building Regulations refer to a set of minimum requirements for the design and construction of a building that are there to lawfully protect the health, safety, welfare and convenience of the users in and around it. These mandatory regulations are made under the Building Act 1984 in England and are often changed and updated. So, if you are embarking on your home improvements project, it’s always best to keep up to date with the requirements of the building and planning regulations. It’s also a good idea to seek advice before you start any building work. You can approach your local authority’s building control team who will be able to offer their advice on your project and ensure that it will meet building regulations.

Planning Permission or Building Regulations?

If you are planning major building work such as an extension or conversion, it may be the case that you need both Building Regulations along with Planning Permission. This is because both are separate sets of requirements that have different processes. Internal building work, for example, will need Building Regulations, but might not need Planning Permission, however an extension will more than likely need both.

What’s the difference?

Planning Permission basically refers to how a building looks and where it’s positioned, which determines what you can build, and Building Regulations control exactly how it must be built. These are in place to make sure that the work is structurally safe and sound. Planning Permission is in place to make sure that the environment is protected in the public interest, and if something is built without the right permission, you may be forced to put things right to comply. However, there are certain changes to your home that can be made without the need for Planning Permission. These are called permitted developments and you can find out whether your project is included here in the Planning Portal.

Will my project need Building Regulations?

It’s always best to check and seek advice from your local authority to see whether your project will need Building Regulations, Planning Permission or both, especially if you’re in doubt. This is also something your designer, architect or installer can help with.

For certain improvements to your home and building work such as replacing your windows and doors, that’s where Competent Person Schemes come in. If you choose an installer that is part of a Competent Person Scheme, you won’t need to get approval yourself as they can self-certify that their work complies with building standards and are able to deal with any issues that may arise.

Choosing a Certass certified installer ensures that they are qualified and skilled to carry out your project to the highest standards, which comply with current Building Regulations. Once the project is complete, they will self-certify the work and you will be issued with the Building Regulations Compliance Certificate that you will need to keep in a safe place!

Finding a certified installer in Your Area

It’s super easy to find a Certass certified installer in your local area with our Online Directory. All you need to do is search your address and it will list the installers that are closest to you.

Improve, Don’t Move: Certass’ Guide to Planning Your Extension

Worker Shows House Design

More and more people are looking at ways to create extra space in their current home rather than move to a new house. Home extensions are great for all kinds of properties and create vital space to make room for extra relatives or accommodate your growing family.

Whether you’re looking to create a large, open-plan kitchen, build a new conservatory, or extend the whole back of your home to create more living space, our guide to planning your extension will give you a good starting point.

We’ve come up with five pointers to help you ask the right questions as you start to think about how your extension will look and where to find expert advice and installers you can trust.

1. Planning and research

If you’re already at the stage where you are planning your home extension, chances are that you’ve already done lots of research – but you can never do too much. Make sure you have a very clear idea of what you want from your extension before you start talking about designs. Build a wish list so that all of the features you want from your extension are included.

A useful piece of research is a book called ‘Extending and Improving Your Home: An Introduction’ (M. J. Billington, C. Gibbs). It was co-written by the previous Chairman of Certass and the current Quality and Technical Manager. This will outline processes, procedures and many of the pitfalls to help you through the whole process.

2. Designing your extension

There are several ways you can design your extension and there are numerous professionals who can be involved.  You can be involved as much or as little as you want, but every project is different and so the number and type of professionals involved can vary. These include, but are not limited to: Architects, Building Surveyors, Quantity Surveyors and Structural Engineers. Each of them would be members of professional institutes and you can search for members on the institutes websites. In addition, the amount of legislation involved can be a minefield, so choosing Building Professionals that are members of professional institutions is vital to guide you.

3. Planning Permission

Depending on the size and location of your extension, you may not need Planning Permission as it could be covered by Permitted Development Rights. There are limitations for permitted developments, so check out the Planning Portal to see if your extension is covered.

If your plans are not covered by the Permitted Development Rights, it’s easy to start a planning application online or your designer can do this for you.

4. Choosing traders you can trust

Whether you are planning on managing your extension project yourself or using a professional project manager, make sure that the builders or installers are certified by a third-party certification scheme. These schemes operate under Government license or Government sub-license, to give you peace of mind that your installation company has great standards of workmanship.

At Certass, we offer a number of schemes that cover the building fabric industry.

Our Competent Person Scheme (CPS) allows traders to register their own projects to get Building Regulations approval, as an alternative to using Building Control. Our CPS covers replacement glazing and insulation services.

For other trades, including builders, roofers, carpenters, joiners, plasterers and painter & decorators, our Government endorsed TrustMark scheme gives homeowners extra confidence when finding tradespeople.

5. Work closely with your chosen tradespeople

Before you make a final decision on your local builder or installation company, make sure you check out other work that they have done. Have a look at case studies on their website and social media pages and visit their showroom, if they have one, to get a real feel for the kind of work they do.

Your installer will be able to give you lots of expert advice on what products will work best for extension too. Ask for brochures and literature – they are usually packed full of information you need. Ask them about anything else you need to know.

For major building works, get a minimum of 5 quotes.  Don’t necessarily go for the cheapest quote; look for quotes that are close together, as this is likely to be a true picture of a realistic quote for a good job, then choose the final company based on service.

Extending your home is a fantastic way to create extra space for you and your family. By doing lots of research and choosing home improvement companies that have third party certification, like Certass members, you’ll be sitting enjoying your new extension before you know it!

Top Considerations when Replacing Windows and Doors

Window Fitters

There are loads of reasons for replacing windows and doors on your property. For lots of homeowners, it’s about getting rid of draughts and cold spots caused by old, inefficient windows, for others it’s about improving home security. Some homeowners just want to improve kerb appeal and others want replacement windows and doors that are low-maintenance.

Whatever your reasons for choosing to install new double glazing in your home, here are our top things to consider when replacing windows and doors.

Why are you replacing windows and doors?

If it’s all about getting rid of draughts and cold spots that can make your home uncomfortable, make sure that you choose energy efficient windows and doors with a high Window Energy Rating.

For the security conscious, you’ll want to look for products that are PAS24 tested and Secured by Design (SBD) accredited. SBD is the police-approved security initiative, accredited products have been designed with security in mind to offer complete peace of mind to homeowners.

If you’re looking to transform your home with new windows and doors, you’ll be amazed by the options that are out there. Choose from slimline aluminium frames, uPVC flush sash designs and timber alternative products in a full range of colours and woodgrain finishes to create the perfect look for your home.

As for entrance doors, composite doors are fast becoming the door of choice for homeowners looking for thermal efficiency and great security. uPVC and aluminium residential doors offer great performance and design benefits too.

Do you need planning permission or building control?

You do not normally need Planning Permission to replace your windows and doors, but there are some exceptions. If you live in a listed property, or your local council has an Article 4 Direction, your home will not be covered by Permitted Development Rights, so you will need to apply for permission.

Building Regulations apply to all replacement glazing, to ensure that they are safe and have sufficient levels of performance. They cover all areas including thermal efficiency, ventilation and safety measures such as fire and emergency exits.

By choosing an installer who is registered with a Competent Person Scheme (CPS) you can be sure that they are approved to replace your windows and comply with Building Regulations. They are regularly audited so they can register their own work and you will receive Building Regulation Compliance Certificates.

What about energy efficient window and door replacements?

There’s lots of jargon out there about energy efficiency of windows and doors. Here are some of the terms companies might use and what they mean:

  • A U-Value?

A U-Value is just a measurement of how effective a material is as an insulator on a building. The lower the U-Value is, the better the material is as an insulator. So, if window 1 has a U-Value of 1.1 W/m2K and window 2 has a U-Value of 0.9 W/m2K, window 2 is the better insulator.

  • A Window Energy Rating (WER)?

Window Energy Ratings are a measure of how energy efficient a window is. It uses a mathematical formula so that a window can be directly compared to another under standard conditions. All new and replacement windows must be rated as ‘C’ or higher or have a U-Value of 1.6 W/m2K or lower.

  • Window Energy Rating Labels

Certass’ Thermal Rating Register uses the simple colour coded, A-G rating energy label, similar to the stickers you see on white goods like refrigerators and washing machines. ‘A’ being the most energy efficient and G the least efficient.

How to choose a replacement window and door installer

Local installers are a great choice for replacing windows and doors at your home. They will have done work in your area before and they usually offer a great range of design options too.

Look out for recommendations from family, friends and neighbours, check out their online reviews and look at their social media pages. Lots of installers are using Facebook to show off their latest work, so you can easily see photos of their last project.

What is a Competent Person Scheme?

Installation companies that are part of a Competent Person Scheme (CPS) are able to self-certify that their work is compliant with Building Regulations. This means that when they install your replacement windows and doors, they don’t need to submit a building notice or have an inspection by your local authority.

Under the Certass CPS, installers are assessed and inspected on a regular basis to ensure that their workmanship standards are up-to-scratch. We also carry out on-site audits and check all paperwork, so that you can be sure that our members meet Government standards and offer a great service for homeowners.

Certass Shows Real Support for Installers, Fabricators & Systems Companies

Practical, hands-on support for the glazing industry is high on the agenda for Certass. That’s why the specialists in installer certification joined Frame Fast UK for a recent Eurocell Equinox Roof Training Day.

Attracting more than 20 local installation companies, the session covered best practice methods for installing Equinox, Eurocell’s solid conservatory roof system.

Jason Clemmit, Managing Director at Certass explains: “With the solid roof market maintaining its steady growth, more and more homeowners are looking for installation companies to replace their conservatory roofs with a solid roof system. That’s why we developed the CQ-Assured Installer Scheme for Conservatories and Conservatory Warm Roofs.

“Unlike windows, conservatories aren’t covered by legislation for energy performance, or by MTC, so it’s really important for us to encourage the industry to look at ways to prove their professionalism across the whole range of products that they offer.

“By working in close partnership with fabricators and systems companies, like Frame Fast and Eurocell, we can offer face-to-face, practical support and be certain that installers understand the value of training and certification for their businesses.”

Certass’ CQ-Assured Installer Scheme for Conservatories and Conservatory Warm Roofs is available through Eurocell to any installer who fits Equinox roofs.

Nigel Leivers, Director at Frame Fast UK says: “We like to bring as much practical support as possible to customers, and that means taking advantage of training and schemes offered by Eurocell and Certass. It was great to have them both join us on the day to help installers improve their knowledge, so they can win more profitable jobs.”

By signing up to Certass’ CQ-Assured Installer Scheme for Conservatories and Conservatory Warm Roofs, installers can give homeowners absolute confidence in their workmanship standards and commitment to customer care.