You have made the sensible decision to specify uPVC windows for your project and have identified some local manufacturers / suppliers. Here are some of the things you need to ask them to help you make a well informed decision about purchasing windows.
1. Where are the windows made?
It is important to be confident of the quality of the windows you purchase and to ensure your construction milestones allow for necessary lead times. uPVC profiles are imported into Australia, warehoused in bulk and fabricated into windows locally for our market. Alternatively, whole window units may be imported. Either way, it is important to know the uPVC profiles' origin to be confident that they have met the high standards required in Australia for resistance to our harsh UV.
Check that the uPVC Windows you intend to purchase are manufactured/supplied by a member of the Vinyl Council’s uPVC Window Alliance. See our list of members.
2. Are the windows tested to the Australian Standard?
The Australian Standard for Windows and external glazed doors in buildings, AS2047, was updated in 2014. Section 3.3 of the Standard has specific provisions related to uPVC frames. Windows and externally glazed doors are required to be designed and constructed in accordance with AS2047 under the Building Code of Australia. Manufacturers should verify the windows you are purchasing meet the window rating or design wind pressures you request.
3. Can you show me the window WERS ratings?
This is the most relevant benchmark towards proving thermal performance in black and white terms. The manufacturer should be able to supply you with ratings under the Window Energy Rating Scheme (WERS) of the window products you specify so that you can provide the information to your building energy assessor. WERS ratings comply with the Building Code; other ratings the supplier may offer, may not.
4. How long has your business been selling windows?
Find out how experienced the manufacturer is in Australia. Can they refer you to earlier projects where their windows have been used? Is your chosen fabricator a member of the Australian Window Association (AWA)? Does the profile they use comply with the uPVC Industry Code of Practice?
5. Who do you use to install the windows?
Some manufacturers will install their windows on site; others supply the windows to the builder or suggest using a carpenter.
6. Is the installer a builder or carpenter?
Any builder or carpenter will posses the necessary skill set to install uPVC windows once shown the minor installation differences to timber or aluminium windows. The AWA has released a series of window installation videos to assist.
7. How long is the warranty?
The manufacturer should offer a warranty of at least 10 years for uPVC windows.
8. How long will it take for me to receive my purchase?
Windows are made to order so require a lead time of usually two to six weeks. If non-standard colours are required, these profiles may need to be imported adding further weeks to the lead time. Fortunately there are several standard colour options available and on hand to many fabricators.
9. How long does installation take?
This may vary depending on the scale of the order and size of the project. Nevertheless, the supplier should be able to estimate the installation time required.
10. Do you seal up between the reveal and stud? How do you seal between the brickwork and window?
Reputable uPVC window systems are known for their remarkably good sealing designs that minimise air leakage and achieve unrivalled air-tightness. The use of expanding foams and tapes, together with good in-built sealing systems in the window sashes will significantly improve the thermal performance of any building envelope and create a pathway toward reduced energy consumption.
Finally here are some cautions to consider:
- Never deal with unregistered businesses. (You can search the regulator, ASIC's registers online).
- Never accept unrealistic prices or large discounts. They are usually false.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is!
- Never accept an unwritten quote.
- Be wary of aggressive sales techniques.
- Be careful about paying large deposits without proper written documentation.
- Check your payment obligations. Never pay 100% in advance. Pay a realistic deposit.