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Safestyle UK window installation.Cracks in wall above windows.

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My old parents who are clueless about all things regarding building works (like most people in general I suppose) had some plastic (uPVC) windows installed some ten years ago now. About six months ago they noticed diagonal cracks appearing in the brickwork above the windows and obvious sagging in the plastic window frame.

 

It turns out the window installers (Safestyle UK) didn't install a lintel when they replaced the sturdy, wooden original windows with their plastic windows. The original wooden window frame acted as the lintel.

 

So, given the time that's passed but knowing it is the fault of the installers for not installing a lintel when the windows were installed, what's their best course of action to get things repaired?

 

Also, a secondary related question, is there any legal requirement for the window installers to apply to the council for the windows to be inspected after installation or, at the very least, to inform the home owners that inspection is required under building regs? Or is this the responsibility of the home owners to arrange?

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2nd question first.

No. Fensa oversee window installations.

 

You raise an interesting question.

I would,in first instance contact your home insurer and tell them. They will send out an engineer to correctly identify the issue.

It may not be the window frames.

 

Once your armed with exactly what the problem is then you know who to deal with.

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Thread title amended to include company name.

 

What was in Safestyle UK quotation with regards to replacement...any mention of make good lintels/support...devil is in the detail?

 

There is no requirement as far as I am aware to involve building regs for window replacement.

 

 

 

Procedure for handling complaints Oct-16 CM004 Issue 8.pdf

 

Andy


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Andy, it would be prudent to put the word alleged in the title. There may be a multitude of problems and nothing to do with the installation of windows

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Notwithstanding what's been said above i can assure you that the old wooden framed window acted as the lintel for the outer brickwork (the inner blockwork has it's own concrete lintel) and its removal is the reason for the collapse of the brickwork above the (now structurally inferior) plastic window. Some of the other houses in the vicinity have exactly the same problem - though I don't know who installed those.

 

I'm sure my parents have buildings insurance so we could go that route but surely there is a clear cut case of installer negligence and so shouldn't we in some way be looking for restitution from them? Certainly I'll try to get my parents to dig out the original contract as that will be key but given their age I'm not holding out any hope of actually finding it.

 

As far as building regs etc. goes, i must admit I was thinking of when I installed my own when it was mandatory to have the local council building inspector out to sign the installation off. So FENSA sidesteps that requirement for window installation companies then?

 

I should also add that it may be that Safestyle did the installation in good faith, believing their plastic frame was up to the job of replacing a wooden window frame designed for the job. But i have my doubts.

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Nothing is clear cut.

You'll need a structural engineers report if your looking to take them to court. Going thru insurance is a quick way to get expert reports.

 

Window installations do not need the councils interference.

Fensa isnot sidestepping anything.

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Roughly what age is this property ?

 

Some useful info.....

 

http://www.doubleglazingblogger.com/2013/07/lintels/

 

Andy


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Notwithstanding what's been said above i can assure you that the old wooden framed window acted as the lintel for the outer brickwork (the inner blockwork has it's own concrete lintel) and its removal is the reason for the collapse of the brickwork above the (now structurally inferior) plastic window.[...]

 

As far as building regs etc. goes, i must admit I was thinking of when I installed my own when it was mandatory to have the local council building inspector out to sign the installation off. So FENSA sidesteps that requirement for window installation companies then?

 

My house, built around 1928, has a lintel on the inner leaf, and the outer leaf supported by a wooden window frame. This is quite common on a lot of properties built between the war years and for many years after. I also have a garage extension that was built in 1976, and the course of bricks over the window were laid directly on the frame. This little bit of bodgery necessitated the retro fitting of a concrete lintel a few years back.

 

From time to time, you may come across a double glazing salesman telling you that their frames can be used as a structural element. This is totally wrong, and even with steel reinforcements in the frames, they are not structural.

 

FENSA is one of several self certifying schemes that avoid the involvement of building control inspection. For the full list, see: http://installers.dgcos.org.uk/news/competent-person-schemes . However, this is no guarantee that the installation is up to standard and compliant as I have found out after Morton botched an installation here.


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Thanks for the replies and info. @Andy, that's good info i can use and probably quote to Safestyle to hopefully remind them of their obligations regarding lintels when they replace windows. @ Mr.P, it's annoying isn't it that just because somebody sets up a company they and their employees are assumed to be competent. I doubt many of their employees would know a lintel if it hit them on the head! In general though, taking as fact that there is no lintel and one should have been installed by the window people, what do you think should be our first step? Approach Safestyle directly or maybe get my parents' insurers involved? Or something else?

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Well its a 10 year old job which has only just shown signs of deterioration.Again I would advise you to look for the initial paperwork and details of the quotation.

 

How many windows has this affected ?

 

Andy


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It's only affecting one window of the two they installed but the other window is half the width of the one with problems so it isn't having to bear the same load. As I said though there are other houses around with the exact same problem purely because the installers have not installed the necessary lintel. The plastic windows just aren't up to the job structurally of acting as a lintel.

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What if my windows develop a problem after 10 years?

 

We can still help; we can still repair any problems with our windows when they fall outside the guarantee period.

 

https://www.safestyle-windows.co.uk/why-safestyle/ten-year-guarantee/


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What if my windows develop a problem after 10 years?

 

We can still help; we can still repair any problems with our windows when they fall outside the guarantee period.

 

https://www.safestyle-windows.co.uk/why-safestyle/ten-year-guarantee/

 

Oh yes, they'll "help" alright. But they'll also charge through the nose for it. I've just got to hope that my parents can find the paperwork and that it's less than ten years ago the installation was carried out.

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Just wonder if you got anywhere with Safestyle? I have had windows fitted last year and this year, I have just noticed 50 -60cm cracks have appeared around the brick work on the windows they have installed, 8 window in total.

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then you take the matter up with them pronto so the damage doesnt get any worse. How wide are the cracks? If you can poke a pencil in them then that is something to worry about straight away. Hairline crakcs less so

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I have rung Safestyle today they can't get a surveyor out till 02.10.2018, I have also informed my Insurance company. It's a wait and see I think. You couldn't poke a pencil in the cracks but they are quite vicious.

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