Ask the Expert: Dave Mechem on RISA inspections

Ask the Expert: Dave Mechem on RISA inspections


Dave Mechem is the Director of Operations at RISA. His career in the glazing industry spans more than 30 years and started out on the tools at a family-run fabrication and installation business, working his way through all facets from PVC fabricator through to service engineer on both domestic and commercial contracts.

When FENSA was established in 2002 Dave was one of the original FENSA inspectors where he covered the Home Counties and the West Country. Dave then moved on to managing his team of RISA inspectors in 2016.

What inspections do your team of RISA assessors carry out for clients?

We obviously carry out the full range of inspection and assessments for FENSA. These include on-site (pre completion), inspections on completed installations (post inspections), the vetting of new applicants to FENSA (Pre Approval) and Pay As You Go inspections as well as re-inspecting those rare jobs where something has to be put right. In addition to these we also carry out MTC assessments and complaint investigations.

Away from FENSA we also complete Pre Approval and membership inspections for the Federation of Master Builders as well as carrying out multi stage inspections on new build or major renovation works for FMBI as part of their provision of New Homes Warranties.

We also have our own Expert Witness Inspections, these are carried out by our most experienced assessors who have undertaken RICS Expert Witness training.

How many windows and doors do your team inspect every year?

A huge number. We normally inspect approximately 45,000 windows and 12,000 doors each year, and that’s just for FENSA.

How long does a typical inspection take?

How long is a piece of string? Every single one is different! Typically a simple post inspection on a recent installation does not take long at all. We are trying to limit our time inside houses now due to the COVID-19 pandemic so will spend the minimum time that allows us to carry out a thorough inspection of each window. We will discuss everything with the homeowner prior to entry to the property and then explain our findings when outside again.

On Site, Pre Approval and MTC’s take longer but again we try to limit our time in the property as much as possible. Usually however they are very well ventilated on account of the windows being removed! This year we've also introduced additional COVID-19 safety measures to ensure the safety of our site visits.

What are you looking for when doing an inspection?

We are looking for two things when we carry out FENSA inspections. The first thing is compliance to building regulations and the second is the competence of the installers and surveyors.

Most installations pass first time. Our industry, although the butt of many jokes over the years, is extremely professional and takes compliance very seriously. We have reoccurring issues such as people forgetting to cut back foam and seal under cills, as well as a small but stubborn problem with missing safety glazing, but the vast majority of installations are completed correctly.

Do you carry out inspections on demand for homeowners?

We are happy to talk to homeowners about their installations and we will carry out inspections via our Expert Witness product if that path seems appropriate to them.

If you would like to speak to RISA about your organisation's inspection requirements, send us a message using the contact form at the bottom of this page and we'll be in touch as soon as we can.

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