NATFEN Digital Magazine Edition 27

" W E ' L L M E E T A G A I N "

These are unprecedented times for us all. Life is changing by the day, and its clear that nothing will be the same again when all this is over. UK fenestration is facing the toughest challenge it has ever had to face. the National Fenestration Awards will play its part to help the industry, in particular it's installers, in as many productive and innovative ways it can.

We are all in this together. Stay at home. Protect the NHS. Save lives.

GENERAL

CLIPPINGS AND MUSINGS MARCH - HELEN DUVAL

S pring and Summer are always seasons where the consumer gets restless for change whether it’s a house move or a renovation project. Whichever, it generally gives a feel good factor for the next six months as consumers look to upgrade, one way or another in the upgrade market. The calibre of skillsets available on the building market, continues to show a severe lack of trained proficiency. Sourcing the right skills on site to build and install to a consistently high standard during a period of increased building activity, has been proving difficult for some companies, particularly those who rely on sub-contracting . It would seem the good, reliable workers are either too busy or too expensive for the job. So what is the solution? Investing in training would seem the logical answer to getting the skills right, whether onsite or in the office. Whether it’s training courses for individuals or on-site training for employees, improving build processes and managing sites well will guarantee to keep quality standards high. These are good incentives for the Generation Z graduates.

Aluminium continues to increase in popularity, consumers with an eye on contemporary design will undoubtedly look to blend modern living with an overall sleek appearance. While the appeal of aluminium frames was previously found in the commercial sector in projects such as schools, restaurants, and government buildings, as new technologies have evolved over recent years, it is now firmly established as a main contender on the domestic front. Improvements in thermal insulation, increased strength and the ability to manufacture in dual colour finishes, will continue to inspire home owners. Techniques to manufacture products that perform to the highest levels remain prevalent across the industry, as climate change and managing its effects has taken a real toll on the environment lately. Australia has suffered dreadfully in the bush fires with wildlife and homes utterly destroyed. Here at home, the flooding appears to be the worst on record and it is evident that pressure will be on to develop building products that can radically reduce global carbon emissions.

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GENERAL

Glass machinery manufacturers continue to evaluate methods for leaner, cleaner automated production, introducing faster, more efficient cycle times and ways of enabling processors to create more progressive designs. As window design becomes more creative, it is certain that the niche practice of frame bending will keep manufacturers busy. QUALITY GUARANTEES With guarantees being of paramount importance to both installers and homeowners, a recent survey has shown that the BSI Kitemark is recognised by 82 per cent of the UK population. Locksmiths are grasping that a BSI Kitemarked products are a key selling point to homeowners. For 91% of the population, Kitemarked products are synonymous with quality and assurance, making these much more popular with end users. It would seem that locksmiths are increasingly recognising that a BSI Kitemark offers viable reassurance, with the enhanced security

it provides. People trust the symbols, with consumers and businesses accepting the logo as a sign of durability and quality. Locksmiths can prove that the products they are installing have been authenticated independently by an approved authority. BSI procedures include an audit of the lock makers’ manufacturing facilities along with their quality management systems. BSI also insists on regular retesting of products.

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COVID-19 CORONA VIRUS INFO 31 YEARS OF SASH WINDOW EXPERIENCE – AT YOUR SERVICE

Due to circumstance, this might be the very first time you are considering changing your sash window supplier. Or, perhaps you just want to try an alternative award winning sash window specialist to offer your customers a wider choice. Either way, we would like to help you to increase your VS sales. With 31 years focussed on manufacturing high quality timber alternative sash windows, we are true specialists and confident that our products will impress your customers. We have also earned a sound reputation for always providing an exceptional level of personal service and our entire team are committed to delivering this. Having just launched our new specification for 2019 featuring exclusive new Masterframe Systems, standard with patented Timberweld ® technology, we would welcome the opportunity to take you through the improved product offering and delighted to quote you within 24 hours. No matter the size or design of a home or project, if sash windows are required then we can help. If a specialist solution is required for a conservation area, modern development, school or historic building our sash windows add the right amount of authentic styling to either fit seamlessly into original settings or set the property apart from other new developments. Tel: 01376 510410 email: sales@masterframe.co.uk FEEL FREE TO CONTACT US ANY TIME!

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F E N E S T R A T I O N N E W S F R O M A D I F F E R E N T P E R S P E C T I V E

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Tackling genuine, thought provoking UK glazing industry issues on a daily and independent basis

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W W W . D O U B L E G L A Z I N G B L O G G E R . C O M

COVID-19 CORONA VIRUS INFO

NATIONAL FENESTRATION AWARDS TO RESTRUCTURE 2020 CAMPAIGN TO REFLECT THE NATIONAL EFFORT I n response to the rapidly changing developments with the coronavirus crisis, the National Fenestration Awards are announcing a series of changes to it’s 2020 campaign to reflect the current situation. Much of the installation community remains at home, not working right now. Therefore it has been decided that the planned re-launch of the Cool Wall installations competition will not go ahead this year. Jason Grafton-Holt, Director, commented: “at this time, when the installation community in our industry is at home, unable to work, worried about the future, it seems insensitive to run an installation-specific competition at this time.” The start of the 2020 campaign saw the introduction of some regionalised categories. The idea being that champions would be found for each region, and then an overall national winner voted on. Allowing for a range of winners in each region, as well as a national one. This idea will remain part of the NFAs going forwards, but will instead be moved to the 2021 campaign. Any nominees put forward thus far will be included and all categories will revert back to their national format. In light of the current national effort to help reduce the spread of the virus and help protect the NHS, a number of categories for 2020 will be turned into new “Covid Hero” categories. These will be aimed at shining a light on people and companies in UK fenestration that have gone above and beyond to help others in need. There are already amazing acts of kindness and charity coming from people in UK fenestration, and the NFAs wants to focus on those for 2020. Jason went on to say: “we have already started to see a lot of people and companies doing some amazing things as part of the national effort to

beat COVID-19. Its right that the NFAs switch focus and praise those that are doing incredible things.”

Finally, the National Fenestration Awards has announced that dates for the 2020 campaign will now be open-ended until further notice. The team have explained that whilst lockdown conditions look set to continue for longer than we all hoped, and social distancing appearing to be required for at least the rest of the year, it does not make any sense to apply dates to its nomination and voting phases whilst the industry isn’t working or able to operate as normal. Jason commented: “there is nothing certain right now, and if you take a closer look at previous government and SAGE advice a couple of weeks ago, its clear social distancing measures are going to be here for a while, perhaps until the end of the year. We thought it was prudent to allow as much time as possible for the 2020 NFA campaign to run, which is why we have suspended all campaign dates and it will run for as long as is needed. We will announce new end dates for each phase when the picture becomes clearer.” “I also want to say a massive thank you to all our sponsors for their continued support. The NFAs is a positive platform with an inspiring ethos. If, during all of this sadness and difficulty, we can at the end of the year bring a ray of sunshine to the industry, then hopefully we will have achieved something great”. Alterations to the NFA website to reflect these changes will appear on the NFA website over the coming days. Web: www.fenestrationawards.co.uk Twitter: @NatFenAwards Facebook: www.facebook.com/NatFenAwards Tel: 01924 911234 Email: info@fenestrationawards.co.uk

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The NFAs wants to thanks the fantastic staff at the NHS and the entire health care network for the amazing work they are doing in looking after the UK during this very tough time!

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MORLEY LAUNCHES NEW AND IMPROVED APP U ni-blinds® integral blinds manufacturer Morley Glass & Glazing has developed a new and improved app with home Using the app, blinds can be programmed to open and close at set times of the day, especially useful when homeowners are on holiday, and they can even be linked via a subscription service to temperature controls, allowing them to close automatically before rooms get too hot.

integration company Loxone, allowing users to open and close their motorised integral blinds from a tablet or smartphone. By integrating Morley Glass & Glazing’s fully electronic MB System Uni-Blinds® into the Loxone app, blinds can now be operated using WiFi connected devices from anywhere in the world. The app is available for immediate installation into MB Systems, including retrofitting into previous projects. Ian Short, Morley Glass & Glazing managing director, said: “We were inundated with requests from customers for a way to operate their integral blinds remotely using an app. We worked closely with DV Smarthomes in association with Loxone to make sure the final product not only offers all the features we have been asked for, but a lot more besides.”

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UK SELF-EMPLOYED SUPPORT SCHEME ANNOUNCED

I n an announcement that has long been awaited, Rishi Sunak, the UK Chancellor unveiled the next set of measures, designed to help the self-employed workers of the UK. This affects our fenestration industry

as many in sales and installation are self-employed. It will be called: Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme. THESE ARE THE KEY DETAILS ACCORDING TO THE BBC: • a taxable grant will be paid to the self-employed or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month • this will be available for three months in one lump-sum payment, and will start to be paid from the beginning of June • more than half of a claimant’s income needs to come from self-employment • the scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 • those who are recently self-employed and do not have a full year of accounts will not receive any help under this scheme There are two points here that will stand out for a lot of people. The cash not being available until June will be far too long for a lot of people, and may still result in job losses and bankruptcies. Second, if you have been self-employed for less than a year, you’re not going to be eligible. There will be calls already for the money to be made available much quicker.

Whilst I agree that the length of time is going to be difficult for many self-employed, we have to consider that the infrastructure to pay people doesn’t exist yet and that takes some time to put together. THIS IS HOW TO CLAIM: • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will use existing information to identify those eligible and will invite applications • the application will require them to confirm that they meet the eligibility requirements • it will be paid straight into a bank account, which eligible taxpayers will need to confirm on their application form • people do not need to contact HMRC now, if they are eligible HMRC will contact them directly Will the self-employed be happy with this? No other scheme exists like this in most parts of the world, so the fact its been announced is a big deal in itself. With no existing infrastructure to start the scheme immediately, it will take some time to build.

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ALOK SHARMA PUBLISHES LETTER TO UK CONSTRUCTION ON COVID-19

To help ensure that it is safe for you to operate in your workplace, the industry has worked to develop Site Operating Procedures (SOP), which were published by the Construction Leadership Council. These align with the latest guidance from Public Health England. As this health guidance updates, the SOP will reflect any changes. I am in regular contact with industry leaders about the developing situation that faces the sector. And I am fully committed to continuing to engage through the coming days, weeks and beyond. Thank you again to everyone operating in the UK construction sector. You are making a hugely valued and critical contribution to the resilience of our Nation and I salute you for the enormous efforts you are individually undertaking to support the UK economy.

A lok Sharma, The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has written to UK construction with updated guidance with regards to Coronavirus. This is the statement:

To everyone working in the UK’s construction sector,

In these challenging times, I want to pay tribute to all those who are working tirelessly within the construction industry. Delivering on large or small construction sites across the country, in builders’ merchants and logistics providers, or producing construction and mineral products. Our country and our economy needs all our support. And the construction industry has answered the call to action. Whether by building temporary hospital wards, installing complex and life-saving oxygen systems, constructing the infrastructure that society needs to function or ensuring that people have safe and healthy homes to live in, you are delivering for our Nation through this difficult time. My heartfelt and personal thanks for everything that each and every one of you is doing to support our joint national effort. The Government has advised that wherever possible, people should work at home. However, we know that for many people working in construction their job requires them to travel to their place of work, and they can continue to do so. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice.

Yours sincerely,

THE RT HON ALOK SHARMA MP

Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

Where I’m struggling with this guidance is that Government are trusting major construction companies and their workers to abide by the PHE guidelines. We have all seen images and video over the past couple of weeks of construction sites and tubes in London packed. The problem is Government is relying on people and companies to do the right thing, yet we all know that the reality is many won’t. We’re into April now, and this phase of the lockdown is about half way through. I doubt the Government will leave it until the last day to lengthen it. Spain and Italy and other’s have moved quickly to extend theirs, I suspect ours will be extended in the coming days. And when they do, it will be until at least the end of April.

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ALAN BURGESS: LIFE AFTER COVID

T his is a guest article by Alan Burgess, Director Owner of Masterframe Windows Ltd: As we each reflect upon self isolation, the restrictions to halt the spread and the past times we are missing, whilst the NHS staff, doctors, nurses and other emergency services work tirelessly to combat this plague our thoughts must turn towards LAC, Life after Covid. Be sure, life will resume after this virus loosens its grip on the country. Different, certainly, normality, maybe but the sun will rise again, the birds will still sign their songs and human nature will make us hold onto cash. This however will be a further disaster. After the financial crash 2008, the circulation of money dried up. If each person were to pay 90% of their bills (keeping 10% because there isn’t enough money at the moment) by the time the 2nd person in the chain, does the same etc, there’s barely enough cash to pay the last person 10% of what they were expecting! With government loans, grants, VAT holidays etc and staff costs being covered with Furloughed scheme, it is vital that we each play our part to get the cash flowing again. Retail customers and large

companies alike, need to pay their contractors and suppliers promptly, no delays or excuses, so that medium sized companies can themselves pay the smaller firms and their suppliers. Dont misunderstand me, its going to be challenging. Most businesses juggle cashflow monthly (if not weekly), and with everything thats happened, it will be so easy to say, “theres no cash available” but this will simply delay our individual recovery and that of the country. Additionally, we are highly likely to see preferencial treatment given to those who do pay their bills on time, again its human nature, companies will be reluctant to offer extended terms to those they offered, pre virus. Obtaining the governements funding should therefore pay dividends, even though it creates a financial noose for the term of the loan. Financial prudency and good planning now, will pay dividends later. Dont wait for 3 or 4 weeks, start now to ensure your business is adequatly funded for a quick recovery, post Covid. Perhaps we will also reflect upon the salaries of those critical front line staff who have given so much, at the time of greates need! Discuss. Let me know what you think!

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UP TO ONE MILLION BUSINESSES COULD CLOSE IN WEEKS

S ounds dramatic doesn’t it. But thats the stark reality as businesses struggle to access the Government loans announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak a couple of weeks ago. Major banks have been in the firing line as they have been offering their own, more expensive commercial loans before offering the Government interest-free option. Then putting up further barriers to businesses when that option is presented. According to a BBC article, a network of accountants have warned that 800,000 – 1,000,000 businesses could be closed within the next few weeks. BANKS PROVIDING BARRIERS My colleague was talking to his accountant the other night and they predicted the same amount of businesses would close if cash was not given

immediately. The major banks appear to be trying to profit from a painful situation as they have been offering their own commercial loans with high interest rates and not offering the more preferable Government loan option, called the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans. These are interest free for 12 months. The mistake here by Government was trusting banks to provide these first before their own options to businesses. In this time of crisis, what should have happened is these loans should have been delivered by HMRC or local councils. Or at the very least it should have been legislated that the banks offer this to struggling businesses first before all other options. Banks have been hit with a massive surge in demand for CIBLs and five smaller lenders have since pulled out of the scheme saying they cannot cope. This is only going to make the situation worse. You can read more about the hurdles in

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front of some businesses which means 18% of companies may go to the wall: www.bbc.co.uk/ news/business-52114414 Banks are asking Directors asking for loans of more than £250,000 to sign personal guarantees. In this current climate, who is going to sign up to something like that? The Chancellor has warned that not every business would be saved during this period. It seems as though if cash does not start getting to some of these businesses in the next few days, we’re going to see the rate of closures ramp up dramatically in the next week or two. ECONOMIC FALLOUT RISING At the start of this crisis, as people were trying to predict what would happen after, many said that this wasn’t an issue of demand, and that it would be a V-shape recovery once we have got on top. I think its becoming clear now that the V-shape recovery is going to look more like the Nike tick. Steep drop, then a long time to recover. The argument that this is not a demand problem is now not valid. Regardless of whether the Government loads come in in time for the SMEs who need it, a big chunk of them still won’t survive the crisis unfortunately. We already know some companies are choosing to lay off staff rather than furlough them, despite Government support available. The reality remains that a lot of people will lose their jobs. In a report I referenced in an article on Monday, the Cebr predicts a rise in unemployment to 7%, and a drop of at least 5% in household consumption in 2020, recovering only to +4% in 2021. Business investment is also forecast to only recover to 2017 highs in 2032.

All of these points and more mean that demand is indeed going to be weakened and in a significant way. That doesn’t mean installers should not try their hardest to get in front of home owners and do their best to win their business. But we also have to be realistic. Once the all clear has been given, there won’t be a magic tap that is turned back on. Many will have lost their jobs. Businesses will have closed, including in our own sector. All of this serves to dampen demand as some home owners will have been unlucky enough to have lost their job, or some will hold on to their money until they feel more confident about the current situation. We won’t see a total shutdown of orders, not at all. Indeed some companies are still reporting some orders trickling in, even during lockdown which is of course welcome. But we have to be more realistic in our expectations once the UK gets the all clear. I have seen articles in the past few days which sound more like pleas for a bit of “pip pip, stiff upper lip” instead of realistic analysis of the data and predictions coming from a plethora or respected business institutes. Of course forecasts are there to be beat, but we’re going to need a bit more than some positive vibes. I have put together a 10 point list for installers to make best use of their time during this crisis. The more agile out there who can ride this out stand do well once the dust settles and there is a less crowded market: www.doubleglazingblogger. com/2020/03/10-tips-for-installers-during-the- coronavirus-crisis/

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10 TIPS FOR INSTALLERS DURING THE CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

H ows the first week of lockdown been for everyone? Much of the installer community in UK fenestration has downed tools and gone home as part of a national effort to stop the spread of coronavirus. Its going to be a challenging time for many of us. Indeed, this will be the single event that changes life as we know it for all of us. Like the second world war for our previous generations. Nothing will be the same. Whilst we are all at home though, there are things that can be done to help keep your company in the spotlight and keep people interested in windows and doors. Winning orders is perfectly possible as well, even though installation is unlikely to take place for a number of months.

These are my ten tips for installers, and anyone else who might find them useful, during this crisis.

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1. GET YOURSELF UP TO DATE

The share price in Zoom has more than doubled since January by the way. Create a page on your website to host PDF versions of your brochures for people to download. You can’t fit right now, but you can do as much as you can to build up interest and future orders. 4. TAKE PRE-ORDERS Some out there will still be willing to spend money on new windows and doors. Perhaps not as many as we’d like, but there will be a portion out there financially secure enough to do so. Start taking pre-orders. Offer a special low deposit and obtain either a digital signature or email confirmation of order and secure that commitment, then, when you can return to installing, you have even more work on your order books than when you stopped. 5. MAKE PLANS FOR REOPENING If you listened to the Government’s press conference yesterday, it was suggested that lockdown conditions could last until early June. What needs to be made clear, is that even after we hit the peak, which is now being touted as a couple of weeks away, it doesn’t mean that lockdown will be lifted after a couple of days of declines from that peak. But, what that does give you is time. Time to make plans for reopening. Time to plan to make it a big deal as well. When work resumes, this is a chance to be as loud about as you can be to encourage home owners to start buying your products again. Social distancing will still very much be in force, so restrictions will need to remain in place at work. However, taking business will be allowed again, so use this time to make the most of what we hope will be a bounce. 6. TAKE A BREAK Most small installers work flat out, most days of the year to run their business. While there isn’t much work to do, take this time to have a break.

Many installers will have been sitting on quotations as we all went into lockdown. And in the past week it will have been easy to have been consumed by the gravity of the news and the shock of what was happening. As we are starting a new week, hopefully some clarity of mind has returned. Make sure to get all remaining quotations out to customers. Remember, this is not a recession. This is not a credit crunch. At least not for the time being. Assuming their job hasn’t been lost to companies shedding due to the virus, demand for home improvement work will not have totally disappeared. Indeed, just as our place was shutting down we had a number of customers contact us to say that they wish to go ahead once things return to some kind of normality. 2. BE ACTIVE ON SOCIAL MEDIA Digital marketing is the only marketing that exists right now. Its a very good time to up your social media marketing. Its free, its quick, its easy to do and you literally have all your captive audience right where you want them. If its B2B activity you’re after, Linkedin is your best bet. B2C and its Facebook. Twitter I have found to be a mix of both. Make sure to use imagery and GIFS as well. There is a brilliant free graphic design site called canva.com that I use every day. I recommend you use it! 3. USE TECH You can’t see people right now, and probably not for a while. But that does not mean you cannot quote. There are a whole host of tools you can use to help communicate with home owners about their new window and door options. Solidor have their online door builder and quote request system. TruFrame have their online window and door builder and pricing software. Zoom is a brilliant tool to video-conference with others.

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If you’re own your own or are a couple, spend as much time together as you can. If you have a family with young kids, do the same. It will be all guns blazing when we get to reopen again, and you’ll miss that time at home with loved ones when you do. Recharge the batteries, take stock of what is important in life, and go back to work with a refreshed and happier perspective. 7. REVIEW YOUR PRODUCT PORTFOLIO Use this time at home to reflect on what you’re offering to home owners. You rarely get chance to carry out a big review fo your products and services, now seems like a very good time to do that. You could decide to expand what you offer to home owners, in which case you can start speaking to new suppliers right now. You could decide to thin out what you offer and focus more on what you sell the most of. 8. PLAN TO REVAMP YOUR SHOWROOM If you have one, perhaps now is the time to give your showroom a breath of fresh air. We did ours a couple of years ago. Not the easiest thing to do when you’re still trying to use it to sell to customers, but it has to be done at some point. You can look to put new products in there, decorate, or even just a lick of paint to brighten the place up. You can install TV screens to play videos, ask for pop-up banners and posters from suppliers to display more product information. Your showroom is still one of the strongest sales tools you have, so the better it is, the better the chance you have of winning new business. 9. DON’T BECOME MEDIA OBSESSED I appreciate that is going to be difficult to do, considering we’re all at home and there are screens everywhere. But watching the news channels on TV and online is not healthy. Its easy to become consumed by stats, figures, new cases, new deaths. It is right to be informed on the situation as well.

You should though allow yourself some time away from your screens. Whether that’s going out locally for a walk or being in your garden. You could cook, clean or do other tasks in the house that need doing. Its something I am learning to try and do myself. You’ll drive yourself mad though, so make sure you have some non-screen time in your day. 10. INVEST IN IT AND TECH If this crisis has shown us anything, its that our daily life and how we conduct business can very quickly become disrupted. In this case, by something we can’t even see. We do not know where the next major problem is going to come from, or if another pandemic might cause us problems again in the future. So it would be wise to use this experience as a lesson. All installers should invest as much as they can in up to date IT systems and technology that allows them to work smarter, quicker and remotely. There will be questions when all this is done as to how many of us really need an office to work in. Some of you might find working from home more suitable in the future. Either way, technology and digital platforms are going to be the future and this crisis will only cement that further. Use this to your advantage now.

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YOUR DIGITAL DOSE OF THE NEWS THAT MATTERS CHANGING THE STATUS QUO

#BETTERNEWS

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BORIS JOHNSON IS MOVED TO INTENSIVE CARE

L ast night we were told that the UK Prime Minister was taken to intensive care after his coronavirus symptoms worsened during the day. He was given oxygen treatment, but was not put on a ventilator. The fact he was in hospital at all was a big enough story, but the move to intensive care is a very serious one, and if you look at the stats of those that enter ICU, it certainly is a cause for concern. GET WELL SOON BORIS We have seen during this crisis that the character of Boris Johnson has been able to convey to the public the seriousness of the situation, but to also keep the public relatively calm during what is our worst crisis since the second world war. Very few politicians are like him. His own personal way of communication is able to inspire and inform few others can manage. During a time of crisis, a reassuring, personal tone in the way Boris has is very much a necessity during this war against the virus. His hero is Winston Churchill. People will be already comparing him to Churchill. Perhaps not the right moment for comparisons, but during the second world war, it was said that his leadership, his ability to speak to the nation, was one of the major factors in pulling us all together to help in the national effort 80 years ago. I believe Boris has been able to recreate that spirit during this crisis. Some will rightly criticise the way he was still going about meetings, shaking hands etc. And he will know himself that it probably wasn’t wise now to do so. But I also understand why he continued like that. He will have wanted to show strength, continuity, thinking that it was better for the country to see him like that. Admirable, but foolish and risky at the same time.

We have seen the daily news conferences since he went into self-isolation held by various cabinet ministers. They’re simply not the same. When Boris did them, there was an air of authority, usefulness, inspiration to those watching and an energy that simply is not there when other cabinet ministers, other than perhaps Rishi Sunak. He is now going to be out of action for a while. Hopefully he makes it out of ICU as quickly and as strongly as possible. But he will be laying low for at least a couple of weeks as his body now desperately needs time to recover. The timing could not have been worse as the UK faces its toughest two weeks as we approach the predicted peak of the virus. We need Boris and his style of leadership back as soon as is possible. I personally want to wish him the best. He is a father, a son, a brother. He’s getting married, and has a child on the way with his fiancee. This will be a deeply worrying time for them all, as it will be for all those suffering around the country at this terrible time. THE WORST OF SOCIAL MEDIA In the minutes after the announcement, I checked looked on Twitter at the replied to the tweets coming from breaking news accounts. I probably shouldn’t have done. Almost immediately there were a despicable amount of tweets from people seemingly revelling in the suffering of the Prime Minister. I know social media place is generally an awful place to be most of the time, and I only have accounts on certain platforms for business reasons, but last night really was the worst of social media that I have ever seen.

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Where has our humanity gone? There is no place for politics right now, all opposition parties have been good enough to understand this. I have seen tweets from people, if we can call them that, wishing he never leaves intensive care, that he deserves the worst of the virus. Should their dad, brother or son be in ICU, I am sure these same people won’t be thinking the same thing. Politics has no place here. There will be a time for it, much further down the road, but we all need to be pulling together, no matter how you vote or your own personal opinion of our leaders. The fact is, the leader of this country is in a very bad way and we should all be hoping that he pulls through and gets back to leading our effort to beat this nasty disease.

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WHAT A CONVERSION! VICTORIAN SLIDERS SCORES CELEBRITY CUSTOMER

S tunning Victorian Sliders sash windows are gracing the home of none other than ex- Wales rugby coach Warren Gatland. Warren led the Welsh national team to a string of high-profile victories

the laborious maintenance required by traditional timber products – and that were made in Wales! We were more than happy to oblige!” ECOSlide is the award-winning vertical-sliding sash window from Victorian Sliders, offering a balance of traditional aesthetics, first-class thermal performance, and exceptional value for money. ECOSlide is extremely secure – unlike many competitor products, it uses top and bottom toughened glass as standard, and features an anti-jemmy bar. It’s versatile – available in a vast array of foils and any RAL colour, and offering the option for plant- on or run-through sash horns. It comes with ‘A’ Window Energy Ratings as standard, and A+-rated with an Argon-filled unit. It’s available with just a 7-day turnaround, and a 10-year guarantee. And best of all, installers can benefit from all this, at any size up to 1300mm by 2400mm, for just £199.

during his 12 years in charge, including four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slams, and two World Cup semi-final appearances, most recently in Japan in 2019. While his next appointment is taking him back to his native New Zealand, Warren is still keeping his Welsh home – he’ll be returning in 2021 to coach the British and Irish Lions – and it’s that property that now boasts some high-performance ECOSlide windows. “We were absolutely delighted to work with Warren,” comments Victorian Sliders Group Managing Director Andy Jones. “We’re a proud Welsh business – and over the last twelve years, he’s become a real hero to thousands of rugby fans throughout the region. “He contacted us because he wanted windows that offered convincing vintage aesthetics without

For more information visit www.victoriansliders. co.uk or call 01269 846200.

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Take a different view in 2020

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CASH FLOW IN FENESTRATION IS GRINDING TO A HALT

I n these past couple of weeks I don’t think I have spoken to as many industry folks as I ever have done. I appreciate the conversation. Its a nice change of pace to the otherwise monotonous lockdown life. What has become increasingly clear in those conversations, even more so in the past few days, is that cash flow in the upper parts of the fenestration supply chain has begun to grind quickly to a halt. Companies are not being paid, and its about to have some severe consequences very soon. CASH, OR NO CASH? I have been privy to a number of communications from various friends in various parts of the supply chain which demonstrate quite an immediate inability to pay. Now, there is a question as to

whether there are companies who have the cash but are sitting on it, or whether they genuinely don’t have the cash and simply cannot pay at all. The ramifications of this are already taking effect. The flow of cash has quickly dried up. We’re into a new quarter, another month has just passed and there will be masses of invoices sat on desks, unpaid, leaving companies nearer the top of the supply chain with some immediate and quite serious problems. There’s two camps. Companies that have the cash but won’t pay it, and those who have nothing to pay with. If you’re in the latter, I feel your pain. If however you are in the former and have cash to spend, pay your bloody bills! Our industry requires any cash that is currently available to keep moving around the system so that companies can remain operational. If not, within a matter of a few

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weeks we could see a tsunami of administrations and insolvencies. And that doesn’t just mean for UK fenestration, that means for most sectors around the UK. Our industry has a decision to make. We’re very vocal on certain subjects. Last week it was the moral decision on whether to stay open or to close. In the past it has been about whether to deal with companies that have phoenixed or gone under and rebooted oweing money. This time is whether to pay suppliers and other companies that form the top of our supply chain. If you have the ability to pay, something, not even all of it, then pay it. As and when things return to normal, you are going to want those suppliers to keep supplying you with product. You’re going to want that nice friendly relationship. As of now, people will be making mental notes as to who was helpful and who wasn’t during this time of national crisis. People will remember. CBILS NO GOOD A second problem compounding the issue is the CIBLS. The loan scheme set up by Government, delivered through commercial banks. When these are eventually being offered to companies, many are being caveated with Directors having to sign personal guarantees on their assets should they not be able to pay the loans back. Consider the fact that the Government is supposed to be guaranteeing 80% of the loan, so the banks would only be exposed to 20% of the loan should it go bad. Why insist on PGs on such a low percentage? This is the reason why so many companies will choose NOT to go for the loans. In this climate, where even tomorrow is uncertain, would agree to such a risk like that? Very few. And that’s why businesses are in such a bad position. These loans, unless Government cracks down on banks and their T’s and C’s, are useless. Consider this for a moment as well. The recovery from this is going to take a very, very long time. You can read some predictions here about how long it might take. I continue to see predictions of a V-shape recovery, which are baffling me

considering the most recent forecasts out from the institutions that matter are all now saying prepare for a long haul. Yes there will be some sort of bounce, from the portion of the population that have money to spare, are safe in their job, didn’t suffer personal loss from the disease and are relatively debt free. That’s not a huge swathe of the population to go at. So are companies really going to look at the long term recovery and be sure enough that they would be able to pay any loan given back? I suspect not. Would you take out a big mortgage on a new house if you weren’t sure your job was safe? No, you wouldn’t. In the next few weeks, and it really is in that short a timescale, businesses up and down our industry are going to have to make some very hard decisions. Even with the Government support for wages for furloughed staff, there isn’t enough realistic support right now for businesses as far as I can see. Unless Government decide on a radical, immediate shake-up of the CIBLS. The bottom line is this, if you can pay, pay. You’ve had the product. You’ve turned it into a sale. Now complete the agreement.

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DGB | 2020

WWW.DOUBLEGLAZINGBLOGGER.COM

DYNAMIC, SHARP, AND ENGAGING WITH OVER 4100 PUBLISHED ARTICLES, 6300 COMMENTS AND APPROACHING TWO MILLION PAGE VIEWS, THE GLAZING INDUSTRY'S FRESHEST, SHARPEST AND RELEVANT OPINION AND DISCUSSION IS ON DGB. During 2020 DGB is set to be read by over 250,000 people, with over 170,000 of those unique. They will generate over 350,000 page views this year alone. DGB continues to grow and expand, covering even more of the diverse sector that is UK fenestration. Join the industry's best conversation: www.doubleglazingblogger.com

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DECEUNINCK STATEMENT ON CORONAVIRUS

D eceuninck’s priority is the health of our employees, customers and suppliers. We’re taking comprehensive measures to address the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), provide business continuity where possible and protect the health and safety of our workforce.

We remain committed to serving our customers and honouring all obligations, and we’ve been working closely with customers to monitor the ever-developing situation. However, the Coronavirus pandemic has now affected our supply chain, so from 1st April 2020 Deceuninck will be operating with a reduced workforce. During this time, a dedicated team of staff will provide close support and regular updates to customers and suppliers. Deceuninck will be assessing the situation on a regular basis and working hard to resume normal business as soon as it is safe to do so. Visit www.deceuninck.co.uk and follow @DeceuninckUK to learn more about our #BestInClass product and colour range. For enquiries contact Louise Currell on 01249 810427, email louise.currell@deceuninck.com.

GUEST ARTICLE: MAT GIBSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF CHASE TAYLOR RECRUITMENT B eing a recruitment specialist dedicated to the window, door and fenestration industry we have watched how the spread of COVID-19 has impacted recruitment prior to the government’s lockdown. 1st interviews were being changed to telephone calls and video calls where possible, candidates completed inductions via video conferencing and many companies put recruitment on hold. Since the measures introduced last Monday and to follow Government guidelines the majority of the industry has shut down in every capacity in which they could and to protect our staff the decision was made to close the Chase Taylor office temporarily.

There is uncertainty surrounding our industry and understandably recruitment will be delayed until it is right to continue. It’s important for companies to support each other in these times of hardship for our industry to survive, keeping the supply chain and cash flow moving is crucial otherwise we will see mass casualties commercially. Chase Taylor will support our candidates and clients in any way they can whilst the office is closed. Managing Director Mat Gibson is available and can be contacted via telephone: 01543 897800 or email: info@chasetaylor.co.uk. We look forward to a time when we can get back to fully helping the fenestration industry with their recruitment needs. www.chasetaylor.co.uk.

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