The scheme, which took four years to research and a further two to trial, puts all its members through a 12 point vetting programme. This includes checking the installer’s health and safety and insurance credentials and collecting 10 recent work references. The DGCOS also provides a mediation and ombudsman service to resolve disputes between installers and customers.
David Bingham, Managing Director of Conservatory Land, says: “The introduction of the DGCOS will offer much needed protection for consumers…hopefully the DGCOS will help protect the interests of all parties involved in disputes.”
There are over 13,000 double glazing and conservatory companies in the UK, which means it can be hard to separate the professionals from the cowboys – Trading Standards revealed that it received 22,000 complaints about double glazing firms in 2009. Added to that, according to DGCOS the average cost of double glazing work totals £2,500 and £9,500 for conservatories, leaving customers well out of pocket if the job goes wrong. To tackle this the DGCOS offers deposit protection of up to £12,500 when you use one of their members.
Double glazing and conservatories are popular home improvements in the UK, as Tom Rawcliffe from Dee Windows in Cheshire points out: “Double glazing saves you money in fuel bills, provides security and makes your home attractive to potential buyers.”
Double glazing is particularly important to reduce carbon emissions and any new windows installed need to meet current government thermal standards. The Energy Saving Trust says you can save up to £135 per year in heating bills and 720kg a year in carbon emissions by installing double glazed windows.