You may have seen since WERs were introduced literature and adverts that say “A rated glass” somewhere on them. Well, the BFRC has issued a warning today to explain that this in fact is not allowed, and that companies found to be advertising glass as A rated could face a hefty fine.

Window, not glass

The issue for the BFRC is that the official A rating is based on the whole window, including gaskets, frames, spacers bars and glass. There is no official A rating specifically for glass units. Current European Regulations do not stipulate a separate A rating just for glass. Only the complete window can qualify for an A rating.

Now, to be fair, our industry doesn’t always make information and rules as clear as they could. There could be a few companies out there who have advertised A rated glass innocently, without fully understand the difference.

However, those advertising glass as being A rated could be at risk of breaching the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008. The penalty for breaking those rules could be as high as £5000 fine should the case be heard in a magistrates court. The fine then becomes unlimited should a case be heard at a crown court, with the option of two years in prison.

The body overseeing the enforcement of this law is local authority trading standards officers. So, given their track record on other window industry rules they’re supposed to be keeping an eye on, we can expect absolutely no one to be prosecuted on this.

Boost for U-Values

The fact that the BFRC is actually having to give a warning tells us something about the whole WER scheme doesn’t it? If companies can either unwittingly or purposely get the advertising wrong on what is classed as A rated and what isn’t, then this cannot be a good thing from a consumer perspective. Homeowners already face a barrage of information when they start the process off to buy new windows and doors. Any uncertainty from one company to another as to what I officially A rated and what isn’t will only serve to frustrate and confuse.

This is where the argument for U-Values being the official measurement of energy efficiency becomes stronger. U-Values are considered to be the most accurate, and do indeed measure the energy efficiency of the glass unit. The drawback though is that the other important factors, like the frames, spacers bars and gaskets are not considered in these calculations.

In reality, will this warning actually be enough to frighten companies currently breaking advertising laws into doing it the right way? Will those same companies even know the BFRC have even put out a warning? Well, unless they read this site, or any other major trade press site, then the answer in “no” to both those questions.

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