Dedicated To Giving Customers
The Knowledge To Make An Informed Decision
0800 061 4861 Lines Open 7 Days FREE Independent Advice
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.”
Trying to find trusted tradesmen to carry out your next home improvement project can be a minefield, just because there are so many options out there. As a homeowner, you’ll be looking for great products to update or modernise your home, that have great energy efficiency and security features. But even the best products on the market won’t be right if they’re fitted incorrectly.
That’s where workmanship standards come in.
What Are Workmanship Standards?
Over the years, regulations and codes of practice have been put in place in order to set a standard for all workmanship. It covers all areas of construction, including glazing, roofing, joinery and insulation. It’s not just new buildings that have to comply with Building Regulations, retrofit and refurbishment projects also have standards to comply with. That includes the materials, the skills and professionalism of the people on site.
Workmanship standards focus on the people. There are a number of different schemes put in place to make sure that anyone who is fitting or building onsite has the right skills to do a great job. With the reassurance that the installation skills of a company have been assessed, homeowners get that extra peace of mind.
Helping You to Find Trusted Tradesmen
At Certass, we’re committed to helping tradesmen be the best they can be and we do that in a number of ways, depending on what their business does. Technically, it’s one simple, sensible scheme that covers everything, because we know how much crossover there is nowadays for installation companies.
Workmanship for Certass-approved members is covered by CQ-Assured. It’s our workmanship quality assurance scheme that has been designed to give homeowners real confidence when it’s time to find trusted tradesmen.
CQ-Assured covers building repair maintenance and improvement work, conservatories, solid conservatory roofs, cavity clearance, external works and internal fitments.
How Certass Makes Sure That Their Members are Quality Assured Installers
Every company registered under the Certass CQ-Assured Scheme is audited by our team. This involves lots of processes.
We’ll carry out what’s called a ‘desktop audit’ every year. It double checks all the important, but not very exciting, details like insurance, legal status and contact information. We also look into the workforce of the business and make sure that a company has appropriately skilled site operatives.
It’s important that the people working on your home are trusted traders. That’s why we carry out an on-site audit on application and then onwards every 3-5 years. This checks qualifications, ensures that complaint logs and records are kept up-to-date. A sample of job files are checked too and we do an on-site audit of an installation, so we can check the quality of the workmanship.
Every year, we also check a sample of work done by members that has been registered with our scheme. This gives us the opportunity to ensure that their high standards are maintained throughout the year.
What to Expect from a CQ-Assured Installer
As well as ensuring high levels of workmanship, the CQ-Assured Scheme gives installers and their customers extra benefits including: insurance backed workmanship warranties, our special Alternative Dispute Resolution Service and discounts on Approved Inspector fees for projects that require Building Regulation approval.
CQ-Assured installers also agree to work by our consumer code of conduct which means that they agree to:
Provide a high level of service for customers
Trade in a fair manner putting customers’ best interests first
Publish accurate marketing literature
Not use pressurised selling techniques
Treat all customers equally and fairly
Not take advantage of vulnerable customers
Ensure a written quote/estimate is provided in plain language
Ensure a written contract is provided in plain language
Maintain the confidentiality of all its customers’ data
Carry out works to appropriate best practice standards
Only use materials meeting industry standards and appropriate for the work
Register all appropriate installation work with the CQ-Assured Scheme
Protect and enhance the public image of our industry
Use the Alternate Dispute Resolution (ADR) via Certass for any disputes
So, you’ve seen the solid conservatory roof adverts on the billboards around town, in your local paper and on local installers’ vans in and around your area, but how can you tell if a solid roof conservatory is the best choice for your home? And who do you choose to install it for you?
As specialists in installer certification for the building fabric refurbishment industry, we certify installers who fit both glazed and solid roof conservatories. This means that we know the important things that homeowners looking for replacement solid conservatory roofs or new conservatories need to be asking their installer about. That’s why we’ve compiled our top 6 considerations for when you’re choosing an installer to fit your solid conservatory roof in this handy list!
1. Solid Conservatory Roof for Newbuild or Refurbishment?
The design and engineering behind solid conservatory roof systems means that roofs are lightweight.This means that as well as being used to build new tiled roof conservatories, they can be used to refurbish your old conservatory too.
This is sometimes called ‘retrofit’ by people in the industry and lots of homeowners are choosing to do this so that they can transform old conservatories that are too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer into spaces they can use all year round.
If you want a brandnew conservatory with a solid roof, you’ll need to look for an installer who can do everything, from building the base and walls to fitting the frames and installing the solid roof.
2. Planning Permission and Building Regulations for Conservatories
Most newbuild conservatories with either a solid, tiled or glazed roof will not need planning permission, because they are covered under what is known as a ‘permitted development’. There are just some limits and conditions regarding placement and size, which you can find details of on the Government’s Planning Portal.
Building Regulations will apply if you want to build an extension on your home, but not for a conservatory, if certain conditions are met. In order for your conservatory to be classed as a conservatory and not an extension, it will have to be separated from the main house with external quality walls and/or windows and doors that meet Building Regulation requirements. It will also need to have an independent heating system that has separate on/off and temperature controls to the main house’s heating system.
If these measures are not in place, the conservatory is technically an extension and separate Building Regulations apply. Even when your conservatory is built inline with these conditions, the doors, windows and glazing and any electrical work will have to adhere to specific Building Regulations. You can find out more details for your solid conservatory roof project on the Planning Portal.
3. Is your Installer’s Workmanship Certified?
It might be surprising to you that not all building work carried out by builders, installers and contractors is certified. Unless an installation company chooses to register with a UKAS accredited, government approved certification scheme, like ours at Certass, their work isn’t assessed, checked or verified by any third party.
This is where your ‘cowboy builder’ type issues can arise and it’s why the most trusted, reliable tradesmen who have the best standards of workmanship, choose to be a part of a certification scheme like Certass. We’ve written about workmanship standards if you would like more information on how the schemes work.
At Certass, we run schemes that approve every part of building fabric refurbishment from solid conservatory roof workmanship standards certification schemes to cavity wall insulation competent persons schemes.
4. What About Insulation and Energy Efficiency?
Insulation and the resulting energy efficiency levels are one of the most important questions to ask your installer about. After all, most homeowners want a conservatory refurbishment because the one they already have is so inefficient.
Unlike windows and doors, there is no thermal rating system for conservatory roofs, but your installer and product brochure will probably talk about UValues instead.
What is a UValue?
A UValue is a measurement of how effective a material is at insulation. In other words, thermal performance is measured by levels of heat loss and this is commonly referred to as a UValue. The lower the UValue, the less heat loss there is, so low UValues equal good thermal performance.
Typically, solid conservatory roof UValues are below 1.0 W/m2K, which means they have very good insulation and will retain the heat in winter and keep cool in summer.
5. Can you Fit a New Roof to your Old Conservatory Frames?
Yes, you can install a new solid conservatory roof on your old frames. Your installer will be able to carry out a survey and let you know whether they are suitable to have a new solid conservatory roof fitted on them.
6. Do you Need New Windows and Doors too?
Installing a solid roof can really improve the energy efficiency of your conservatory, but if the frames, windows and doors are very old and inefficient, you might not get the full benefits of your new roof. Our certified installers will be able to advice you on the best choice for your home.