Plastic or wood? Fixed or opening? Side hung or top hung? Or even traditional sliding sash? When choosing replacement windows these are only some of the options to consider. But there are important issues relating to Building Regulations, Planning, fire safety, means of escape and management of condensation which can easily be overlooked.
When choosing replacement windows:
- Check the installer is FENSA registered and obtain a FENSA Certificate to confirm compliance with Building Regulations. Keep a copy to pass to your buyer in the event that you sell the property.
- Consider matching the existing style, especially if only some of the windows are to be replaced.
- Try to choose a style which will maintain the character of the building. This is particularly important for older properties. Think about the position of opening casements, and whether they should be top hung or side hung.
- Have handles which can be locked in an ajar position. This will aid security particularly at ground floor level, and and will make it safe to leave windows open slightly overnight.
- Have trickle vents fitted into the frames to aid ventilation, reduce condensation and mould. The small additional cost will help comfort within the home.
- Ensure that windows can be opened sufficiently and are of sufficient size to allow escape in the event of a fire. This is particularly important for windows to upper rooms.
- For flats, check the terms of the lease. In some instances windows will be the responsibility of the individual flat owners and in others they will be the responsibility of the Management Company.
- For flats in blocks constructed with cavity walls, ensure the required cavity barriers/fire stopping remain in place to ensure the safety of residents within the block.
So when choosing replacement windows, don’t simply make your choice by appearance alone. Your final choice may be a compromise after considering all relevant issues.