Rogue window fitter gets away scot free
Rogue double glazing fitters can continue working illegally without fear of prosecution – and it is the responsibility of homeowners to ensure compliance with Building Regulations (BR) – according to the Building Control (BC) team in an English unitary authority.
The admission emerged during dialogue with the BC team when a dossier of evidence was presented to it following an investigation by a homeowner (myself) who unwittingly became the victim of a rogue trader.
“It’s a case of buyer beware – our hands are tied,” explained a surveyor in the BC team. “We have had 10 cases in the past week.”
In this instance, the homeowner contracted a bathroom fitter to modernise a washroom, which included the installation of a new UPVC window. A subcontractor was engaged by the bathroom fitter to install the new window. Following the installation, the homeowner chased the bathroom fitter and window fitter for FENSA certification, but it was not forthcoming. While the bathroom fitter engaged in dialogue, there was radio silence from the window fitter. In late January, the bathroom fitter then claimed the window fitter was registered with CERTASS, a rival to FENSA, and that “it can take two to three weeks.” The window was fitted in early December.
Subsequent checks by the homeowner on the CERTASS member database found all was not well with the window fitter. While the fitter was a member of CERTASS, alongside the “Competent person – domestic double glazing” were the words “Application Stage 2 Review”.
Enquiries with CERTASS revealed the fitter was legally unable self-certify the fitment of windows – and that he could only do so with a BR application. CERTASS described the fitter as a “rogue trader” and advised the homeowner to report the individual to BC and Trading Standards.
A dossier was presented to BC, including evidence that the window fitter had been fitting windows since 2019 (customer complaints on social media) – plus written confirmation from CERTASS.
BC advised that retrospective regularisation must be applied for by the homeowner at a cost of £285. However, had it been applied for prior to the window’s installation, the fee would have been £125. BC also recommended getting the process underway swiftly in case the council’s BC surveyor finds there are defects with the window. The homeowner was also politely reminded by BC’s surveyor that the legal responsibility to ensure the work is legal lies with the property’s owner.
There has been no word from Trading Standards.
With no action forthcoming from BC (and it would seem likewise Trading Standards), the homeowner is planning to make further contact with the bathroom fitter in the hope of redress – the supply and fitting of the window having been included in the customer’s quote.
Has anyone else found themselves in a similar situation?
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