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  1. I thought I would put a post together for those that are looking for windows, replacement or new build. As someone who deals with final order placing / final quote discussions. One of the things that crosses my desk on regular basis, is that the "other supplier" is more cost effective. Which leads me to ask myself "more cost effective against what" are you comparing apples for apples? When I ask people to compare, what we generally explain is to look at the following (see below) if they are not willing to supply a copy of the quote without prices. Product - is the product similar. For example are you comparing a Timber Aluminium cladded window with a Timber Aluminium cladded window? Glazing - Is the glazing on offer from both suppliers comparable? Is it double glazed v's triple glazed for example or is it float glass v's toughened or laminate? Check that doors have toughened/laminated glazing Check that windows within 300mm of a door have toughened/laminated glazing Check that windows below 800mm from the finish floor have toughened/laminated glazing Check that windows that are 1400mm in height or above for toughened/laminated glazing. Most suppliers will start to consider toughened / laminated from 1400mm onwards, some will still be float glass. Check triple glazed glass units. Some suppliers will only toughen the inner and outer panes and leave the middle pane as float glass, others will toughen all 3 panes (I recommend all 3 panes as toughened) when required. Why? quick example is from experience, a customer in the north west of Scotland had the middle pane as float glass in french doors, the doors are recessed with wall on either side. It effectively became a wind tunnel. What happened is during high winds, the door sashes had that much wind pressure constantnly, that the door sash was pushed away from the frame slightly and a rattle effect occurred (only thing I could think would cause this to happen). As a result the middle pane (float glass) shattered. This required the whole sash to be replaced, as the glass was glued into the frame on that particular product. Timber - Is the timber comparable, are both using spruce/larch/oak/pine etc.? Are any of the products finger jointed as standard (which is more cost effective versus fixed timber, but not as aesphetically pleasing). Is the timber cut from from one section of wood or is it individually glue laminated timber? Ug values - A 0.5Ug can be quoted by suppliers but the costs vary dramatically. One of the reasons for this can be the glass make up and the gas that is being used. Some quotes won't tell the gas being used but it's safe to assume that if it's 48mm glazing it is Argon. Pay attention to the spacer distance also, not for cost but if the spacer is above 18mm, convection can occur of the gas filling (gas moves around in the unit). Hinging - Are the hinges concealed or are they exposed? Door Hinging - Pay close attention as suppliers will have quoted standard framing on doors, others may have increased the widths of the jambs to increase the space available at the hinging for plastering behind. RAL Colours externally - are the quoted RAL colours the same? Internal colours - have they quoted the same? Some will offer the standard colours such as a clear lacquer, others will have them painted - does this have any impact on price comparison. Sizes - have any of the units been split, due to not being able to achieve the size required? Some suppliers will not be able to do large sizes, others will be. Look out for compromises. Don't always look at the end figure and immediately reject a quote as being to high, compared to the others. Most suppliers will have the supply price first, then additional items such as window cills, compriband, membrane, installation etc. which are optional to the quote and not necessarily required but may be included in the total cost at the end. Most self builders like to take on the mantra of doing the whole build, others would like to leave this to the supplier or builder and or source their own materials if supply only. What is being offered with the installation service, are the installation options / costs comparible to each other? Who takes responsibility for the windows upon arrival? Generally speaking most suppliers who are installing, should be taken responsibility from the moment the windows leave the factory, to the moment the windows/doors have been installed, sign off. If supply only, the responsibilitygenerally passes to the client once the offload commences. So it is important to document the windows before offload, during offload and once offloaded. The manufacturer will normally have documentation / pictures before departing the factory, it makes life easier on whether a claim with the haulage company or whether a claim with the supplier is required (both should go to the supplier who should deal with it). Warranty - how long is the warranty, what does it cover? Last but not least, is the quote comparible? Have the suppliers referenced things the same way or are have the drawings been scaled and then referenced by the supplier (this happens a lot when no window schedule exists)? A lot of architects don't create window schedules for some reason (one the major parts of a build and most costly aspects) and problems of missing windows can be encountered, due to the elevations not always showing "hidden" windows which can be seen on floor plans. Some suppliers can miss this, which then impacts that quote. Hopefully some people find this useful, of not apologies for the long read
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