More than just a CPS

As one of the industry’s most recognisable brands, FENSA is much more than just a competent person’s scheme. Glass Times editor, Luke Wood, highlights how the scheme has grown since its inception over 20 years ago and the raft of benefits it offers to installers today.

There are not many glazing industry brands that can claim to be recognised as household names.

When it comes to glass, for example, most people have heard of Pilkington, for double glazing I would suggest that Everest would ring a few bells and if you were to ask the average homeowner about door locks, I’m guessing that quite a few would recognise Yale.

There are, of course, a multitude of outstanding organisations that could be included in that list.

However, on the rare occasions that I find myself talking about the day job with friends or family, the best way of keeping them engaged is by dropping one of the above into the conversation.

And it’s the same with FENSA. As a glazing industry brand, it’s arguably one of the most recognisable in the UK, and when you look at the numbers, it’s not hard to see why.

To date, over 15 million FENSA certificates have been issued, with more than 50% of all the homes in the UK covered by the scheme. And when FENSA launched its TV advertising campaign back in 2019, it reached 63% of the adult population in the UK, culminating in more than 247 million viewings over the course of the year.

Paving the way

Launched in April 2002, the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme, was not only the first competent person scheme for the window and door industry in England and Wales, but – thanks to its success – it paved the way for similar initiatives across other trades as well.

It’s primary function of course, is to ensure that homeowners can demonstrate that their windows and doors have been fitted by a competent installer, and that they are energy efficient and comply to building regulations.

It saves them the job of having to arrange an inspection from a building control officer because a FENSA approved installer will do that for them and provide a certificate to prove it. A vital document that makes life a whole lot easier when it comes to selling your house in the future.

And there are more benefits for homeowners in the form of insurance backed guarantees and the assurance that provides.

But for installers there is more to FENSA than just being able to assure homeowner customers that they are competent and above board.

The scheme provides a host of other features, all designed to improve standards but also to give a genuine advantage in the marketplace.

These include free lead generation from a dedicated consumer facing website, that enables approved installers to provide quotes directly to homeowners who are actively searching for local FENSA companies.

The service is similar to existing online platforms that are designed to allow consumers to search for and request quotes from local tradespeople for home improvements, but is focused exclusively on homeowners that are looking for installation companies.

Homeowners can post job details, including desired materials, products, budget and timeframe, which are then emailed to FENSA approved installers who can then respond with a quote.

The site was developed following market research that revealed 73% of homeowners considering new windows or doors would only use a FENSA approved installer to carry out the work and supported by the fact that the FENSA website receives over 15,000 postcode searches a month from consumers looking for their nearest FENSA installer.

Lead generation is supported by marketing support that offers a suite of tailored and affordable marketing strategies covering Pay Per Click (PPC) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), social media management, content marketing and digital & press advertising.

FENSA installers can also choose from a range of other services that include design consultation for company branding, logos and van decals; a website re-fresh or re-build including design and messaging enhancements and SEO; assistance with a complete digital marketing strategy; plus homeowner marketing that includes brochures, email templates, Point of Sale (POS) material and even workwear design.

They can also take advantage of a unique collaboration with CRM specialist, Business Pilot. Developed by installers, for installers, it’s a management system that can help to generate increased profits, improve customer service and introduce greater efficiency for the day-to-day running of a business.

Designed to make life easier for installation firms of any size, it can be enhanced by Bee Paid, another app that allows installers to take payments for work via a mobile phone or tablet, helping them to manage their finances more efficiently and improving cash flow.

Another key benefit as the industry moves towards more sustainable operations is a free PVC-U recycling service, which includes providing on site collection for larger jobs if required.

As well as the obvious cost saving of removing waste material, the scheme helps installers to demonstrate their green credentials by providing them with a certificate at the end of the year that shows how much they have recycled.

Combined with other initiatives, such as FENSA Finance, that allows homeowners access to bespoke finance packages to spread the cost of their new windows and doors, FENSA approved installers have a wealth of assets at their disposal, all designed to help them win work and save them money.

Success story

As Lis Clarke, operations director for FENSA explains, with recent changes to legislation and more to come soon, it’s now more important than ever before for installers to join a competent persons scheme such as FENSA.

“FENSA is a massive success story,” she says. “It helped to pave the way for other schemes of course, and in other sectors, but one of the big things it did for glazing was help to tackle the ‘White Gold’ image by raising standards and proving the industry was capable of being professional and conscientious.

“The scheme has grown, we now have over 6,500 members who are responsible for something like 550,000 installations a year – it works out as roughly 8,000 windows a day, or 1,000 every hour – and 25% of FENSA approved installers have been with us since day one.

“A FENSA certificate is issued to give peace of mind for homeowners, but for smaller installation companies, ones that don’t have the resources of a larger team, being a FENSA member and having an inspector sign off your work is also a big reassurance that you’re doing your job properly,” she adds. “It gives you the confidence to move on to the next job, build positive reviews with customers and grow the business.

“Today, with new regulations, particularly for things like trickle vents, but also for other safety requirements covering glass or hardware, it’s more important than ever to be a member of a CPS such as FENSA.

“There will always be a challenge trying to convince some homeowners about trickle vents for example, as they are typically focused on aesthetics and unfortunately, some might be tempted to go with an unregistered installer or fall into the trap of indemnity insurance.

“However, the regulations are there for good reason and as a FENSA approved installer, you can sell with the utmost confidence in the integrity and quality of your services,” she concludes. “Ultimately, that is why FENSA helps installers to win more work – because it’s the brand that everyone knows and trusts.”