When installing new windows and doors, ensuring compliance with local building regulations is essential. Certifications such as the FENSA (the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme) and CERTASS (Certification and Self Assessment) guarantee that registered contractors are qualified to work on a building according to current building regulations and provide Building Regulation Compliance Certificates with no extra cost to the customer. Here we’re going to answer if secondary glazing is subject to the certifications as well as everything else you need to know before undertaking a secondary glazing project.

Image of a Window on a stair case in a Listed Building.

Source – CC0 Licence

What Are FENSA/CERTASS Certifications?

FENSA was established in 2002 and CERTASS was established in 2006. Both offer similar assurances about compliance, efficiency, and insurance for double-glazing work. 

Both certifications ensure that window and door installations comply with building regulations to offer benefits to homeowners such as insurance policies and deposit protection. Although there are no distinct differences between the two, both are in place to ensure customers have peace of mind.

Is Secondary Glazing Subject to FENSA/CERTASS Certification?

FENSA and CERTASS are both UKAS-approved certification schemes established to comply with government legislation, and both bodies have stringent standards for training and competence that members must meet. 

To obtain FENSA certification, installers need to demonstrate competence in knowledge and practical ability to self-certify work, and the CERTASS certification process involves an assessment process including an online assessment, observing the site in person, and a discussion with the CERTASS assessor. Upon completion, the compliance certificate is sent to the homeowner within seven working days. 

Secondary glazing is not subject to FENSA and CERTASS certifications because the focus is primarily on the installation of new or replacement windows and doors to ensure compliance with building regulations. Secondary glazing installations do not fall under the scope of FENSA or CERTASS certification schemes, which are more relevant for primary window installations that must comply with building regulations and energy-efficient standards. Secondary glazing is considered a reversible and non-structural improvement and therefore is not part of FENSA or CERTASS certification schemes.

Does Secondary Glazing Need Listed Building Consent in Protected Buildings?

Listed Building Consent is an essential mechanism by which planning authorities ensure that any changes to listed buildings are appropriate and sympathetic to their character. For any alteration, extension, or demolition that could affect the architectural or historic interest of a listed building, it is essential to have a Listed Building Consent. 

Failure to obtain Listed Building Consent before making alterations to a listed building can result in serious consequences and could include fines or even imprisonment, making it essential to consult with the local Planning Authority to determine if Listed Building Consent is required for specific works. 

With regards to secondary glazing for listed buildings, it generally does not require Listed Building Consent. The installation of secondary glazing is often accepted to be a low-risk intervention and provides numerous benefits to the structure itself, such as: 

  • Reducing noise levels.
  • Enhancing energy efficiency. 
  • Protection from UV (ultraviolet) light.
  • Solar gain (the increase in thermal energy of a space). 
  • Providing an additional barrier for security purposes. 

Because secondary glazing is considered a reversible and non-structural improvement that does not significantly impact the external appearance or fabric of the building and does not compromise the historical or architectural significance of the listed property, building contractors are allowed to install secondary glazing without Listed Building Consent. 

Although this is considered the overarching rule, some exceptions may exist where Listed Building Consent is necessary, but these cases are typically limited and do not apply to the majority of situations where secondary glazing is implemented in protected buildings. These exceptions usually refer to whether the installation results in damage to the features or any other significant features such as the shutters, the panelling, or the window itself. 

While installing reversible secondary glazing generally does not require Listed Building Consent, any alterations that impact the special interest by causing damage to its historic features may require consent as per the specific guidelines outlined by Historic England, which states that the total replacement of a window is generally the one time when Listed Building Consent is required and does not fall under the remit of secondary glazing, but it may also be necessary to consult with local planning authorities to determine if Listed Building Consent is required. 

If Listed Building Consent is required, the process will involve submitting detailed proposals to the Local Planning Authority. While secondary glazing may not always require Listed Building Consent, it’s crucial to consult with either the Planning Authority or the relevant conservation officer to confirm the specific requirements for the property. If consent is necessary, the application should detail the proposed work, including the type of secondary glazing and the installation method, while also ensuring alterations align with the preservation regulations and the unique character of the listed building, and failure to do so if necessary can result in either fines, imprisonment, or enforcement action requiring the removal of any unauthorised alterations.

Does Secondary Glazing Need Permission in a Building Within a Conservation Area?

A conservation area has special architectural or historic interests, and these areas are designed to manage and protect the unique features that make them special, such as historic buildings that contribute to their distinctiveness and are subject to special planning controls and considerations to ensure these architectural and historical significance stays intact. 

Although secondary glazing generally does not require planning permission, if the property is a listed building, secondary glazing may require conservation area planning permission to ensure any alterations comply with the area’s preservation regulations. If the property falls under what is known as an Article 4 Direction, it may be necessary to acquire Listed Building Consent. An Article 4 Direction is an order made by a Local Planning Authority in the United Kingdom to remove or restrict certain permitted development rights within a specific area, serving to bring activities that typically do not require planning permission under planning consent. 

While Article 4 Directions are not specifically conservation designations, they are statements made under the Town and Country Planning Acts to control development within designated areas. These directions can cover various types of developments such as alterations, extensions, and changes of use. Article 4 Directions enable local authorities to have more control over changes that could have an impact on the special character or heritage of a particular area. Therefore, property owners need to adhere to the restrictions outlined in the Article 4 Direction to protect the character or appearance of the conservation area and/or listed building.

Does Secondary Glazing Need to Be Signed Off by Building Control?

Building control refers to the regulatory oversight and approval process that ensures compliance with building regulations when installing secondary glazing. While planning permission is not typically required for secondary glazing installations, even in listed buildings, it is still essential to adhere to building control regulations to ensure that any work meets the following criteria: 

  • Safety.
  • Energy efficiency.
  • Structural standards. 

In the case of listed buildings where Listed Building Consent is required for alterations like secondary glazing, building control authorities play a critical role in ensuring any changes made comply with preservation regulations and building standards. Secondary glazing does not typically need to be signed off by building control as it is considered a non-structural improvement; however, it is essential to verify with the building control department or local Planning Authority to confirm specific requirements for secondary glazing installations, especially when the property is within a conservation area or a listed building.

What to Consider When Installing Secondary Glazing on Listed Buildings

As you’ve seen, if you fail to obtain Listed Building Consent where necessary, it can result in serious consequences, and therefore, it’s crucial to comply with regulations to avoid any repercussions to ensure the preservation of the building itself. When installing secondary glazing, it’s essential to consider the following:

Understand the Difference Between Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission

Listed Building Consent relates to alterations that may affect a listed building’s special interest, which can include secondary glazing installations that impact its historical architectural significance. However, planning permission relates to development and land use regulations that can encompass external works like secondary glazing and extend to internal alterations. Although secondary glazing may not require Listed Building Consent, differentiating between the two is critical.

Consult with Conservation Officers

It is advisable to consult with conservation offices or local planning authorities before installing secondary glazing in listed buildings to ensure the proposed work aligns with preservation guidelines and does not require a Listed Building Consent.

Comply with Building Regulations

While secondary glazing itself may not require FENSA or CERTASS certification, ensuring compliance with building regulations is vital as this will meet the structural standards, energy efficiency, and, most importantly, safety throughout the installation process.

We Can Help You Navigate All Secondary Glazing Issues

Regardless of the type of building you require secondary glazing for, we are here to help at City Sound Glazing. Our years of experience and understanding of the various rules and regulations ensure that we’ve helped customers over the years comply with building standards and bring their home up to code to ensure greater comfort, and thermal benefits, reducing heat loss, draftiness, and much more.