What you see above (just about) ladies and gents is part of a stone a lintel. In this case, it forms a nice big traditional one, like they used to put above windows and doors back in the good old days. However, these are not the good old days and there are properties out there, usually 40-50 years old which for whatever reason, do not have lintels above the windows and doors. They’re not everywhere, but they are there. And putting that right is something I think we should all be doing when fitting new windows and doors.
We have recently had a spate of properties where we have had to fit lintels to the external brickwork above windows and doors as there weren’t any there in the first place. Whenever we come across homes without lintels to the external brickwork, we always explain to the customer that there aren’t any there and that there is a risk that when we take the windows and doors out, the bricks above are unsupported and they could fall. So, as good practice, we always price to install lintels as part of the job before the new windows and doors are installed, that way we can ensure the job is done correctly and that we don’t have to bodge any bricks back in. We have done this for years, and if memory serves me correctly, FENSA does actually say it is best practice for the installation company to install lintels where there aren’t any already. Does this mean that it’s actually a law, or just best practice – not hard and fast?
Whether it is a law or not, this is our practice as we know the standard of installation is better for it, and that loose or dodgy bricks don’t cause further long term problems. However, we seem to be the only business round our parts actually taking any notice of it. All too often the customers tell me that ours is the only company that even mentions lintels. Most say that when clients bring it up with other installations companies, it is just shrugged off. Now some clients admire us for the fact that we pay attention to the lintels, or lack of them. Some look at us suspiciously, as though we’re making it up to try and make some more money out them. It’s a hard argument to win sometimes.
But as far as I’m concerned, if something is classed as best practice, then we should all be doing it. Lintels provide a vital service in keeping brickwork supported above windows and doors, so no unnecessary weight is resting on them. They’re even more vital when it comes to replacing windows and doors. Companies not putting lintels in when windows don’t currently have them are risking the quality of the job. What if the bricks drop when you take the window out? Just bodge prop them up while you slide the new one in? Not exactly top notch work is it.
I’m not a fan of laws, but if there was ever a case for one to be made, I personally would make it absolute law that any windows and doors that don’t currently have lintels above them to the external brickwork, must have them installed when replacing the windows and doors. Making it law will not only put all installation companies on the same page, but also help raise the quality of installations overall.
Do you install lintels when you find they are lacking? Do you just fit the windows and doors and leave it at that? It would be great to see some comments on this one to see what the industry standard seems to be.
Approved Document A of the Building Regulations is very very clear about lintels. The structural integrity of any building should not be compromised. This is why it is important that we carry out our technical survey and determine what exactly we are responsible for regarding the supporting of the building fabric on every aperture we install into. It is not about best practice its the law. I agree best practice is to be honest with our customers as to why it is important to ensure brickwork is supported.
Clear to the point that it states that the forces in the structure of a building must be transmitted to the ground without causing distortion to any of the fabric . this includes windows , but a course or 2 at eaves high has no real bearing on the structure of the building and some window sizes/styles would easily carry this force with no deflection.
Lintels form the structural strength of the building and should be inspected during survey. Some arch brickwork forms are considered to be structural and may require engineer to check . Most lintel / support problems can be seen from cracks or dipping brickwork on the house being surveyed and by looking at the surrounding houses A experienced surveyor should be able to spot basic problems and point this out to the homeowner.. The salesman should be looking for these type of problems, but as we all know they only want to sign up the job and not but problems in… Read more »
“I’m not a fan of laws…” Not even the one that forbids murder?
Lol, you know what I mean, red tape and all the other over the top bumf we have to wade through.
Lintels are a real issue, Fensa and building control have differing views aswell . Fensa insist that EVERY installation must have lintels , so they should be fitted before a window is certified , but building control arent really fussed if its a smallish window with only a course or two on top. With bays , even the smallest canopy bay should have the jacking supports fitted on them , or poles cut through the cill . We have lost work to some who claim they are not needed , but we have also come unstuck with customers who refuse… Read more »
Where have all these installers been for the last 30 years ,No lintel ,must have lintel , header course no support,steel required #itsnotbloodyrocketscience do they survey from the car , laws are for people who like breaking it, lintels are just common sense get a grip
DGB. What do you charge for lintels? Eg Catnic 1800mm plus bearing.
Customers that we quote for lintels get told by other companies that they don’t need them!
We can then lose the job due to the extra cost. Whatever the rights and wrongs – we lost the income and wasted all our sales time. If we had clear diagrams and recommendations with pictures of any disasters, that would help.
Sometimes we recommend angle iron at least 6mm thick and at least 60 x 80 mm. Take out 2 courses and install above window.
I have had a bedroom window fitted and requested a lintel be fitted i was told that I didn’t need a lintel as it was only a soldier course above the new window.is this right and what are the building / fensa regulations concerning this.
I have had a wooden back door and frame replaced with a UPVC one. A year later i now have cracked bricks above this door as it turns out there is no external lintel and the previous wooden doorframe was supporting the bricks above. The guy who fitted the new door is saying its not his problem that there isn’t a lintel and so he’s not responsible for fixing the problem. I don’t know where I stand on this but it sounds from your discussion that he should have raised the issue of the lacking lintel at the survey and… Read more »
Is the installer FENSA Registered ?? He is completely responsible as he installed the door!!
My Father in law has just passed away and when trying to sell his bungalow it as been pointed out that lintels have not been fitted in the double glazing at the rear of the property.
I have spoke to the company who installed the windows but they are saying the fitting of lintels is not mandatory but customer choice but on receipt there is no mention of this.
Can you please advice me on where I can go with this complaint
I have been getting quotes for new windows and to replace a patio door with a french door 2 companies have said I don’t need a lintel fitted above the french door but the other has said I do and it’s now building regulations to fit a lintel if there’s not one fitted and if a fensa certificate is issued and they come out to check they will make the window fitters come back and fit one could anyone please clarify this for me ? thanks
I have had a Survey conducted on a ground floor flat in a 2 Storey building built in the 1960’s I have had an offer accepted on. It has brought up the issue of no lintels above the upvc replacement windows. The Survey report says there is “some movement” above some of the windows. I know the current owners had some of the windows replaced recently. I suggested that they try to claim against their FENSA guarantee for those ones. They seem unwilling at the moment to do this. In the meantime, I am getting quotes from builders for lintels… Read more »