When heritage projects go wrong

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell discusses one man’s battle to get his windows fixed.

Glass Times doesn’t typically publish stories about projects that go wrong. In fact, trade magazines in all sectors tend to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

In light of the wider issues in the construction industry – collapse of Carillion, lack of new talent, the Grenfell tragedy, etc – the nightmare that Gary Pennington has had to endure with his new windows is worth sharing here.

I’ve been talking to Gary for several months, and what he has had to go through is rather shameful. But, to be honest, at the back of my mind I’ve been asking myself the question: do I really want to offer this magazine as a platform for everyone’s grievances?

However, over the course of our correspondence, Gary has not only highlighted badly fitted windows, non-conforming products, and unregistered (and possibly unskilled) fitters, he has also had to wrestle with his borough council, the BSI, and Trading Standards.

In fact, despite overwhelming evidence that Gary’s home – a national landmark – is arguably a crime scene, the Trading Standards officer told him to pursue his own civil action.

I believe that somewhere along the line – especially considering that a siginificant amount of public money was used – Gary should have been better protected.

Yet, the main reason I was interested in this story was the confusion people showed regarding the legal framework surrounding heritage windows. Given that it is a growth area for our industry, what can and cannot be installed is sometimes misunderstood or ignored – often by the authorities policing it. We have published articles in Glass Times about low sightline heritage units, and Gary’s home is a good illustration of what can go wrong.

As always, I welcome your comments.