Sealed Units & Sealants ‘A’ rated window - ‘E’ rated Andrew Swift, technical advisor for foam sealants supplier ISO-Chemie, says that despite moves to improve skills in the fenestration industry, end-users are being let 60 December 2014 expansion gap? While the Minimum Technical down by current methods of installation. Competency (MTC) regulations will go some way to rooting out the ‘cowboy’ installers and surveyors through certification, there’s still a gap to be plugged when it comes to securing installations fully against the elements. MTC will undoubtedly deliver an industry wide level playing field of competency for all professional window companies, which should ensure windows are measured and fitted correctly. However, while selling windows on the merits of ‘energy saving’ with ‘A+’ ratings is the norm, the expansion gap around the window is so often overlooked or ignored. Here silicone, trims and spray foams might be used but no-one knows what the ‘U’ value of the gap will be after their use. Products such as ISO-Chemie’s Bloco One can simply be applied from the roll around the frame in minutes before it expands from 2mm to 12mm over the next three hours, allowing easy fitting in the reveal. Poor workmanship It is also important to note that IBGs (insurance backed guarantees) are part of the MTC regulations. This means all window installations must now include an IBG on all jobs, replacing any previous offers. If not, FENSA will exclude them, effectively making all installations illegal – clearly, a move designed to raise standards for an industry increasingly attempting to look more ‘professional’ after suffering for years with an unflattering reputation for shoddiness and poor workmanship. However, while the industry looks to smarten up its act, there is a problem. While it’s commendable to see a more ‘professional’ approach being taken, installation product and ancillary suppliers like us could be at risk of receiving a bad name when customers and endusers come to realise that their smart new ‘A++’ rated windows are great at keeping the heat in, while the area around the frame is simply letting it back out again! This is an unregulated section of the window installation and needs to be addressed – urgently. Industry regulators are very happy to say they are only interested in the window rating, so who is interested in plugging the gap? No-one it would appear; and we only need to look to the US where studies reveal that an ‘A’ rated window installation is actually rated to less than ‘D’ if you do not properly seal the gap. So, despite selling windows or doors on their energy efficiency, there remains a gap between the frame and wall through which energy will leak. More has to be done to highlight this and companies such as ours are working to provide guidance and expertise supported by innovative product solutions. Installers can then assure customers that the ‘U’ value of the ‘gap’ is not just as good as the window, but usually better – down to 0.6W/m²K. In this way, the industry is improving the way it looks after its reputation and customers.
GGP December 2014
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