Aluminium window fitting - is this acceptable? what meets regs?

7 May 2009
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United Kingdom
we've just had 4 large, expensive (3K each) sliding aluminium windows fitted. There are snags and the MD of the company is going to visit to look at them. Can anyone advise on what I should expect him to do to make it good? Here are some of the issues:

(The "windows" are all, in fact doors. So the frame is 11cm and since they put that where the old windows were, almost all 11cm is visible, which I was not expecting. On the outside the drainage holes are visible in this huge frame.

1. They fitted the cills (formed aluminium) after they fitted the windows - this involved removing the packing spacers round the window base and hammering the cill in. One they couldn't force in at all, another they had to cut in half to get it in. Not convinced this hammering did a lot for the sealing.

2. The whole construction seems unlikely to insulate well- there is this folded aluminium cill on which rests (perhaps with some silicon sealant, if any survived the hammering) the base of the slider (which is fully visible inside and out) on which rests the sliding window. So, cold from the exterior cill conducts easily to the inside frame (it feels noticeably colder than the rest of the frame).

3. They had to cut the back edge off our existing wooden internal cills - there is now a 0.5 - 1cm ish (wiggly cut) gap between the base of the window and the cill. There may be a draft coming through it. In one case I can touch the cill that the whole window is resting on through this gap.

4. Only two of the locks work without shoving your full weight on the handle. I suspect this means something isn't square.

We can help insulation by putting wood around the internal frame (which is very ugly so needs covering anyway) - but should we ask them to reinstall? Does this approach to installation meet building regs / fensa and are they obliged to meet those requirements?

The company appears to be a reputable one ("the UK's leaders in high specification technical glass solutions and structural glazing"). I should have turned away when they demanded 100% payment upfront. Their organisation has been ramshackle from start to finish.

Can anyone suggest what I should be asking the MD to do to make this good?
This is the second time I've made the house colder by fitting new double glazing :(
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good point - these are pics from the only window where they didn't retrofit the cill. The screw visible in one picture is the cill screwed onto the existing wood.
(the fact the plaster and wooden cill need some work is ok, that we planned to do anyway - it's tidy because my husband cut it out, not the fitters!)
I hope this helps. It looks tidy enough but you can see the fact the whole frame is visible (pen for scale), there is a gap (which could be covered with wood and ? some expanding foam) and the window seems to sit directly on the cill which will soon have snow on it. The last picture is another window, the one where they were able to hammer in the cill (whole house is a wreck following flood in March, dead flies came through fallen ceiling, now hoovered up!)


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I cannot see a massive issue. Looking at the picture the chill is sitting on the concrete/timber so surely it can only sit there and cannot go any lower. The outer frame looks chunky and I and add that to the cill it looks very chunky but surely you see the product before you bought it. You could of maybe gone for a low threshold option but doubt it would have had a weather rating.
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It's absolute rubbish. Quite apart from any of the faults mentioned by the OP all thos visible gaps should be made good. Also if any double glazing company had asked me for the dosh up front they would have been told "on yer bike." I get a quote and it's paid AFTER the job is done.
What is the make and is it the make they quoted/was specked on the contract?

Surely you saw some samples/previous jobs?
Did you ask specifically for small meeting styles and leave the rest to them? Most of the makes with thin meeting styles actually have very large outer frames. Generally if it was a new build you would hide most of the frame with plaster internally.

Cant really comment too much on the make/fitting without some overall photos.
The cill/bottom frame details is ugly as hell.

The timber cill cut is poorly done but sometimes there are big nails that cause the saw to snag so it does happen sometimes and is not a big problem to sort out. Some foam and some filler which will also stop the draft that is likely coming in through the cavity wall (assuming you have this).
Ideally you would remove the window-board, Close off and insulate the cavity and maybe refit some nice new window-boards higher up to hide all that frame. That would be a bit of work and expense though.

I wouldn't be happy about the cill that was cut to get it in. Fitting the cill after is a very strange thing to do!

Assuming the glass is toughened in the right locations and the windows and glass have the correct ratings/paperwork then Fensa and building regulations will be satisfied.

I would bet a local company could have done a much better job with a nicer product at 2/3 of the price though. I know I easily could have supplied something with much smaller frames than that.
Generally large company's are the throw them in and get paid type with poor customer service. They charge over the odds to pay for their tv adverts, Shareholder dividends and big lawyers who can threaten anyone who dares to tell the world how crap they are.
Can't really see the whole door but what I can see it is ugly. I try to avoid selling these minimal sightline doors. Generally cause the don't slide as nice as the Reynaers cp130 and because the glass is bonded and if you break it or it fails there will be trouble.
thanks for comments. Some mixed views! The company is Hedgehog, part of IQ Glass, fitting their own product. I think they generally do new build which is why it is such a mess (this wasn't clear when we bought). We approved detailed engineering drawings, none of which showed the surrounding cills or brickwork, just their frames (so it wasn't clear how much of the frame would show). We asked to see cills at the showroom, but they didn't have any (yes, in retrospect, should have been a warning sign..). We were told the door frame would be level with the carpet (it is about 3.5cm above the carpet). BTW the pictures are not of a door but a window! We weren't told that the "windows" are in fact cut down doors. We asked not to have the handle (= 3 inch beam) on the outside and nobody explained that it is structural so can't be omitted.

If I'd known how they would look, I wouldn't have gone ahead. Everything we saw had almost invisible frames - which you can do in a new build - but to do that in our house would have meant more work (not impossible -- for three of them we could have removed a row of bricks. The one in the picture is the only one where we couldn't have lowered the cill for the window. We paid £600 for a survey and they didn't mention how this would look (and the measurements are still down to us,not the surveyor - if they turn out wrong it's our fault!).

Feel stupid now but the windows we saw had all this stuff hidden, and none of the discussions explained that it would all be visible - they major on how invisible their frames are!.. was expecting some to show, but not like this. The surveyor explicitly said that the door would be fitted level with the carpet (but their 'notes' from that meeting apparently state that my husband agreed to seeing 11cm of frame - which he cannot remember and didn't relay to me at the time).

And I think on top of that they were badly installed. Main thing I want now is to make the house warm again! The business with the cills being hammered in has to be insane...

So -- should I ask for the cost of reframing with wood inside? we'll have to do it both to keep the warmth and for appearances. I was expecting the cill, which nobody could show us, to cover part of the frame outside, but it sits under the entire unit so covers nothing; it may be they can fold a form that will cover part of the ugly stuff...

There are so many ways window fittings can go wrong. We've lost our deposit to a company that went bust; we've used safestyle who were crap at finishing but at least the windows are warm; we've had wooden windows made and fitted by a joiner (the best) and we've been conned by a company director who pretended to be representing his company but was actually selling their windows and using a bunch of cowboys to install. Overall, I should have spent the money on oil for heating...
Feel sorry for you. You can visit the best showroom and still end up with crap. And for £600 for a survey wow. I travel all of kent and London measuring for free. Might have to change my setup.
I was asked by a customer to supply and fit some of these doors a while back. After talking to them I realized they would be a pig of a company to deal with and when I downloaded the technical specs from the website I saw the frame sizes which I knew my customer wouldn't want anyway. I ended up fitting Smart Heritage aluminum which only had a 36mm outer frame and approx 60mm meeting styles.
I do think that sort of company just try to wow you purely with the small meeting style.

Unfortunately I don't think there will be much you can do now unless you can identify a breach of contract somewhere. These big company's spend fortunes on their contracts to make them vague enough but water tight enough to always be in their favor.
Well. yesterday the senior sales person arranged to visit to assess the job, at 'around mid-day' today. He didn't turn up.
I suppose that was to be expected.

Their contract puts all onus onto the purchaser. Anything wrong, it's your fault. When I pointed out that the designs we "signed off" didn't show the rest of the building and all examples show the frames hidden, so we hadn't been able to see how the windows would sit in the context of the building (because their drawings don't show it and none of their showroom windows shows any frame) - I was told I should have paid for the 'design' service - on top of the £600 which I paid for the surveyor.

It is easy to feel stupid at the end of this process... all I can do now I think is post some photos of my new windows on social media to show others what they can expect.Maybe contact the company directors first to give them a chance to fix things.

Gazman - wish we had had you to advise us :) But it is almost impossible as a normal homeowner to know who is reliable or to understand the details (I'm used to reading engineering drawings, but don't really know what to look for in this context). Even personal recommendation doesn't always help (our wooden windows chap is superb, with a 6 month+ waiting list, but we couldn't get wooden windows this size).

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