Guidelines are being ignored

Following on from last week’s revelations that Trading Standards appeared to ignore the letter of the law after a homeowner was left with badly installed windows, Glass Times hands over this week’s newsletter to Saveheat’s Colin Torley who discusses the problems he faces as a unit manufacturer.

Having read your article, I sympathise fully with the plight of Gary Pennington, but his situation is not that uncommon in the world of heritage glazing.
Your headline sums up the situation really well: “implies Heritage properties are exempt from the law”. Sad to say, but that is clearly the situation and we have to try and deal with this on a daily basis.

As a leading timber window and IGU manufacturer, there isn’t a day goes by where, myself or another member of staff has to deal with the issue of ‘low sightline’ heritage glazing and to try and explain that what they are asking for just doesn’t comply with the CPR.

We are usually told that ‘AN Other’ company will do it, so why won’t you? The planning department tells us that’s what we must have, and we are losing out to unscrupulous companies, planners, specifiers who are either totally ignoring the regulations, don’t understand the regulations, or both.

We have always followed the guidelines from the industry experts and advisors to the government – the GGF. These clearly state the situation regarding low sightline heritage units, but these guidelines are being totally ignored by other companies within our industry, which leads to the situation that you have highlighted.

Despite these clear guidelines from the government-recognised industry trade body, rogue companies continue to duck and dive. Some even try to fudge the issue by claiming there are derogations from the CPR as the units are made in a non-industrial process, which is absolute nonsense. They are mass produced in manufacturing facilities, normally at a ratio of 6 to 1 versus normal units.

For the avoidance of doubt, please refer to the following excerpt from the GGF Guidelines:

“This article cannot be used to avoid the preparation of a Declaration of Performance and compliance with a harmonised Product Standard for the following reasons:

(a) IGUs are manufactured in a series production and therefore this derogation does not apply. Also, the IGU manufacturer is not responsible for the incorporation of the IGU into the construction works
(b) IGUs are not manufactured on a construction site
(c) IGUs are not manufactured in a traditional manner and are not manufactured in a non-industrial process.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Along with other timber window companies, we manufacture replacement sash and case windows that replicate and maintain the look of old historic buildings, and the glass performs and complies with all the necessary regulations.

We use standard timber window construction detail along with a structural grid system to give the window that authentic look.

We have recently supplied windows to a Grade A listed building in St Vincent Place in Glasgow with windows that matched the appearance of the windows that they replaced and allowed the building to retain the character and look that the specifier set out to achieve.

No non-compliant products were used to achieve the performance and the required appearance so why do planners and specifiers continue to look for something that is not only non-compliant, but illegal?