My name is Philip Whear. I am the owner of Philip Whear Windows & Conservatories. We make high quality doors, windows and conservatories at our own premises in Redruth, and work throughout West Cornwall. .This week I met, and had an interesting discussion with, a potential customer - Mr Trevelyan Kernow. Mr Kernow was a lottery winner, and is now a Cornish property developer. He has been looking at various properties to buy in Cornwall but most recently in Penzance, St Ives, Camborne and Redruth. He popped in to our showrooms on Wilson Way in Pool to get some detailed information on the range of products we could supply him if he purchases one or more of the properties he is interested in. Our conversation went a bit like this:
T.Kernow: ‘Is there any advantage in buying second hand windows and doors, bearing in mind that they are standard sort of sizes and, since I am a practical and handy sort of chap who no longer has to work, I could fit them myself?’
P.Whear: ‘Well, I'm afraid not. Windows and Doors have to comply with a number of regulations covering such things as energy ratings, fire escape provisions, safety glazing compliance and so on. They also have to be installed by a ‘competent person’ – that is, a FENSA or CERTASS registered installer. Alternatively, they could be a compliant product which could be fitted by yourself, but this would need to be approved and inspected by a Building Control body, and quite a substantial fee is payable if you go down that route, and that is an additional cost to you.’
T.Kernow: ‘Oh right, so, energy ratings for windows. What's that all about then? My new boiler's got an A rating, is that the same sort of thing?’
P.Whear: ‘Yes. A window, whether it is uPVC, aluminium or timber being fitted, must have either an A B or C energy rating. This is for energy conservation, so just as your ‘A’ rated boiler will burn less gas (and burn it more efficiently, resulting in the same heating output) than a lower ‘B’ or ‘C’ rated product, so the better – or higher - your windows energy rating, the greater the savings, producing a 'payback'. This can be as little as just a few years.’
T.Kernow: ‘Well, that makes sense. Also, I am going to need windows which allow escape in case of fire at one of the properties I’m looking at in Falmouth. I suppose those bedroom windows with narrow little top openers wouldn't be allowed nowadays?’
P.Whear: ‘They are not always in keeping with the style of the property but they are still allowed – but not for means of escape. Essentially, a fire escape window needs to have a third of a square metre minimum area with a clear 450mm minimum width or height, the bottom of the aperture being between 800 and 1100mm from the floor. It is a good idea to install fire escape windows in the first and upper floors of properties, whether the Building Regulations require them or not, to ensure occupants can escape from a fire in the property.’
T.Kernow: ‘So the best bet is to get a registered company to design, make and fit the uPVC, aluminium or timber windows and doors that tick all the boxes, and then enjoy the plummeting heating bills?’
P.Whear: ‘Mmmm. ‘Plummeting’ may be a bit strong but you will certainly make good savings on your heating bills! Your installation then goes onto a government database as being compliant, and this is routinely checked by the buyer's surveyor when the property is sold. Your property will have a better overall energy rating on the survey, and that can make or break a sale.’
Click here to get a Voucher for a FREE Energy Rated Glass Upgrade on your New or Replacement Windows from Philip Whear Windows & Conservatories.
Mr Kernow wants to build a portfolio of properties in West Cornwall as far up as Bodmin, and is looking at all sorts of different buildings, so he has many questions he wants answering along with general help and advice. We are ready to help in any way we can.
See how this story unfolds, as Mr Kernow really gets his teeth into developing his property portfolio, and his properties, in my next blog.