I recently had some uPVC windows installed at home in South Bombay (Mumbai), India. It was not a positive experience. The people who manufactured and installed it were Deceuninck fabricators based in New Bombay (New Mumbai).

I don't want this to become excessively long, so I won't go into detail about my buying experience. However, I do have a specific question about the installation process, so I will describe that in some detail.

The uPVC window frames and shutters were manufactured at the factory. Then were then bought to the site where they were installed. This installation was not exactly a smooth process. There were three people working on installing 4 windows for basically all of Sunday 9th November, and then again on Monday from 5.30 pm to 8 pm. That's a lot of time.

To start with, the installers spent a long time fiddling with the window frames. They said the frames were supposed to be manufactured with a total of 5 mm space on the sides, but apparently this had not been done, at least not consistently, They did a lot of hammering and filing, particularly on one specific window (call this Window 2).

After that, they spent even more time installing the window shutters into the windows. There was lots of manipulation and adjustment. Again, at the end of the installation, they spent several hours on one shutter (call this Window 4). When working on it on Sunday, they left the shutter badly misaligned, with a lot of space showing at the top. When they came back Monday afternoon (5.30 pm or so), they spent some more time on it. When they were finishing, the light had gone, and we thought the problem (gap at the top of the shutter) had been fixed, but it hadn't. At this time of writing (November 24th) the problem has not yet been fixed.

There were also some minor issues with the top and bottom latches on the left hand shutter. They were too tight; you had to pull the windows inward hard to latch them.

In another case, a window (again Window 4) did not close properly, because there was some obstruction.

In all these cases we had to stand there and point out these issues; the workers didn't seem to notice them.

I'm puzzled by the extremely manual approach to setup that is being used here. It seems obvious that a sensible approach to window installation is to fit the (factory manufactured) uPVC window shutters into the (factory manufactured) uPVC window frames at the factory, making sure they are a perfect fit, before bringing them to the site. The positioning of the shutters with respect to the frame is the only thing that matters, assuming that the frame is correctly installed in a proper vertically oriented position.

Presumably, in a factory there would be machinery/equipment to assist one in doing so. Doing this only on site seems like a very bad idea, really labor-intensive, and likely to lead to sub-optimal results as described above. Is this common practice in this industry, speaking internationally? I would expect better from a big international company like Deceuninck. I imagine in countries where labor is more expensive, this would need to be done differently. Does anyone have any idea what the prevailing practice in India is?

To be clear, I don't actually know that the fabricators didn't fit the shutters into the window frames at the factory, but comments that their manager made suggested not. I asked him why they didn't pre-fit the windows, and he responded that "no-one does that". And if they had been pre-fitted at the factory, surely it would not have been so much trouble to install them at the site.

EDIT: It seems that my reasons for asking this question was unclear. I'm not trying to take any action against the people who did this work. I just want some information about standard industry practices, since (as I have attempted to explain) I found the process used rather puzzling. Or, putting it another way, I want to know whether I should expect similar things from someone else doing similar work. From what people have said so far, what I have experienced is not unusual, which I find surprising. But I'm not familar with the building industry in India, or anywhere else, for that matter.

  • 1
    This sounds a lot more like a rant than a specific question. – Steven Nov 23 '14 at 17:22
  • @Steven Rant? Please give examples of ranting. I disagree. It is quite a specific question, as summarized by the title. If people prefer that I shorten the details of installation problems, I can do so, but I thought it might be useful to give more details/context than less. – Faheem Mitha Nov 23 '14 at 17:32
  • Does this area have building codes and standardized building practices and was this house built using standardized building practices? Sounds like a retrofit into non-standard construction where proper rough-in opening dimensions weren't available and those always involve a lot of extra makework, tinkering and adjustment. A manufactured window expects a rough-in opening of a specific size and generally drops into place with minor adjustment to make sure it's squared up and then fastened into the opening. – Fiasco Labs Nov 23 '14 at 17:55
  • @FiascoLabs: My main question was really about the shutter pre-fitting, since that had the most problems. I cannot imagine how the window opening would be an issue there, since, as I said in the question, the shutter fitting would be relative to the frame. The fabricators did take measurements of the window aperture and custom made the window frames to size. Given that, I don't understand why major adjustment was necessary. Granted, the window opening was probably not perfectly level, particularly in the vertical direction, but with suitable spacing, that should not have been a problem. – Faheem Mitha Nov 23 '14 at 18:21
  • @FiascoLabs To answer your question, the building in question is over 100 years old, so building codes don't really apply. Though in any case, this is India, land of chaos and confusion, where things like building codes are only honored on paper. Also, the pre-existing window space was adjusted in vertical height from around 8 feet to around 5 feet. Also, a granite frame was added for the window to mount on. So, the window opening was probably slightly irregular, but that should not have caused problems with shutter fittings, at least. – Faheem Mitha Nov 23 '14 at 18:25

Since most of the world's windows are not prefitted with uPVC shutters, prefitting windows with uPVC shutters at the factory is indeed uncommon.

On the other hand, expending considerable energy to get something installed satisfactorily is rather common in the world of construction.

  • To be clear, I'm talking about pre-fitting the (factory manufactured) UPVC window frame with (factory manufactured) uPVC shutters. Both of these were manufactured at the factory. I don't understand what you mean by "Since most of the world's windows are not prefitted with uPVC shutters...". – Faheem Mitha Nov 24 '14 at 5:25

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