Dropped Bricks Above UPVC Window After Installation

28 Jul 2014
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United Kingdom
I had a new flat UPVC window fitted replacing a bow window by a local FENSA company. After the installation the bricks above the window dropped and the top of the window is now bowing.

At no time before or during installation did they advise a lintel was required.

The window company have offered to fit a lintel for £250.
They intend to support the soldier course, jack up the dropped bricks, fit an angle iron, refit the window and remove some mortar and re-point the cracked part.

Does this sound reasonable or should all the bricks in the dropped triangle be removed and replaced?



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The triangle can't be 'jacked up' just like that - there will always be a crack which will allow rainwater in.
No mention of a cavity tray over the angle, and without that, the rainwater will run down inside.
They should have advised that you would need a new lintel when pricing the job.
How high up is the flat?

Did you get a written quote or description of the proposed work?

Was the original window showing a defect - had it too "bowed" or sagged at the head? Or do you mean "bow window" as in a style?

You would expect a reasonably experienced window fitter (FENSA) to have inspected the original frame, and known that it was necessary to confirm the presence or absence of a lintel?

Besides dropping and cracking, is the brick triangle bulging? Has any new defect appeared on the interior surfaces?
There was a written quote for the original window installation but there was no mention of lintels or the possibility of lintels being required. It is something I never considered.

Before the window was fitted there was no signs of any structural movement or defects with the structure of the bricks. All the cracking and movement happened during / after installation.

The original window was a bow style.

The triangle has only dropped. It isn't bulging.

There are no defects on the interior, but it is wall papered which will cover a lot.

If the triangle cant be just jacked up then do all the bricks require removal and then re laying?

If the triangle is jacked up and then mortar raked out to a depth of say 25mm and then repointed wouldnt that make the joint waterproof?

I wish to have the problem sorted properly as we intend to be in the house for 20 or so years.

Thank you for the replys.
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This is a common thing with so called window fitters, they have no building experience. As they have totally cocked up on your window you should initially write to them and insist on a structural engineers inspection and recommendation at their expense. They will also be required to carry out these recommendations using a competent builder. You may also contact your local building control as this is notifiable work and you FENSA contractors are supposed to be competent to self certify.
maltaron: Good ideas. A structural engineer is required to advise on just what is required and building control need to sign it all off.

I have already been in contact with building control and they stated that the work does not comply but that they would not take the further action. Which is strange as non compliant work has been carried out.
Its not in the public interest for them to pursue it. The worst that will happen is the window carries on bowing and eventually you won't be able to open the windows, there's not much danger to life and limb!
What do you mean by "the original window installation"? Was there more than one window fitting company involved?

Do you still have the written quote?

The lack of a lintel might reasonably be expected to have become apparent only during the removal of the bow style frame. At that time they should have approached you for a variation in the quote or just gone ahead and installed a lintel.

Working off a platform, its simple enough to remove the loose brickwork and insert a lintel, and then make good. The new arrangement will need a cavity tray. No codging allowed.

Before going after compensation, it pays to determine the true name and address of the other party, and if they actually have any ability to pay.

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