NATFEN Awards Magazine Edition 8

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GENERAL

CLIPPINGS AND MUSINGS BY HELEN DUVAL - MAY 2018

T here seems to be continuing issues regarding the supply and demand for housing, despite mutterings that the housing market is still buoyant, it would seem that UK millennials must brace themselves for the possibility of a lifetime of renting. The supply and demand for housing remains at best fragile, despite initiatives that have been launched over the years which promote more ecologically built homes. The numbers seem to show that figures are down regarding enquiries from new buyers, which combined with the fact there are fewer properties coming onto the market, according to RICS UK earlier this year, means we are still in a state of continuing flux. Although under current conditions the probability of house prices crashing is highly unlikely, a property boom equally seems even further out of the question. There is good news on the horizon for those in the owner-occupier sector but helping first timers

onto the property ladder doesn’t seem high on many agendas at the moment.

As it stands, landlords have a greater buying power than first time buyers as they are well established, and so, with the competitive edge now virtually diminished in the first time buying sector, the void will continue to get bigger. The duel problems of too few houses at too high a price continue to restrict many, certainly the first time buyer sector. Even if interest rates remain low however, the idea of a huge property crash still seems highly improbable, with little expectation that house prices will rise. Property itself could remain a big temptation from a taxation point of view. MORE THAN JUST GRAND DESIGNS Substantial and modest designs are still being encouraged across the building sector though, for those inspired by eco-friendly renovations with glass continuing to be a premium material for many reasons.

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GENERAL

While some housing issues have moved progressively forward, and greener issues filter their way into our vision, there still seems to be a real lack of high profile support. Self-building looks like a sensible and popular option as the footfall for the Grand Designs exhibitions will no doubt attest. Good news for the suppliers if this takes off. It certainly makes a lot of financial sense, with this type of project worth around 25 percent more than the cost of building and land once a property is completed. The problem here is finding suitable land where a first time investor or self builder can start to look at real term benefits, as building land continues to remain a premium outlay. It certainly would seem to be an area of great possibilities for installers and suppliers however, who would be able to answer the call of the niche home designer who lacks the technical skills to build it himself.

For the glazing sector, glass extensions still continue to be the growing trend, as conservatories and glazed canopies offer a competitively priced solution to adding more luxury and value to an existing home. Architects and designers create more stunning concepts and the glazing industry rises to the challenges those bring, with innovative solutions. High specification glasses, continue to be a cost worth making, with home-owners enjoying the benefits of style and performance combing beautifully. When it comes to new and self build properties then renewable energy will continue to be a focus as the popularity of exhibitions such as Ecobuild and Grand Designs continue to increase. Installers and builders have never been in a better position to add viable benefits to their core skills, by training to become renewable energy installers and educating consumers on ways to reduce their energy bills and and their carbon footprints. Higher profile support for these types of products would make a great start for everyone.

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SECOND GENERATION SUCCESS FOR FRAMEXPRESS CUSTOMERS

T he use of a coloured wood foil finish has made a striking impression on one of FrameXpress’ most recent renovation projects. Set in a leafy Essex suburb, all windows and Composite doors were supplied by the leading fabricators. The homeowners decided to upgrade the whole appearance of their home, wanting to improve thermal performance, soundproofing and security. FrameXpress was contracted to supply all windows and doors by the homeowner, in a growing domestic sector trend, of using colour to be distinctive and personalise their properties. On the finished renovation, the homeowners commented, “The original windows and doors were looking very shabby and we knew that it was time to renovate the existing white windows and doors we had inherited when we bought the house. Energy efficiency and soundproofing were really important to us but we also wanted to add our own personal touch to our home. The green windows and doors look great and complement the style of our property really well. They make an incredible difference and the whole house is now so much warmer, which are benefits we can pass on to others when we eventually sell our home.” The Optima system remains a firm favourite with FrameXpress Ltd customers as it is so easy to install and there is a wide choice of products available with a good variety of colours that suit all tastes. Launched as a product for tomorrow’s market, with enhanced performance and quality guarantees the FrameXpress production department has seen orders increase dramatically since adopting the Optima system.

Stylish design with improved security options also not only reassures homeowners with complete peace of mind, but satisfies specifiers and insurance company requirements. The reliability of the brand and after sales support from the team ensure that the high standards and reputation of the FrameXpress customer are always maintained. Ian Davis, Sales Manager comments, “Optima is very easy to install which together with proven benefits and a contemporary clean look, which make it a good choice that can be used for a wide range of applications. There is a broad choice of ancillaries including cills, maypoles and packers which gives customers more flexibility. Also, there is a good range of security features which make Optima attractive to homeowners. Colour choice is now a large part of the decision process when consumers invest in product upgrades. Optima is a product that is just about as close to an original wood aesthetic as it is possible to get which homeowners love when making large investments on their properties.” FrameXpress is a leading window, door and conservatory fabricator, manufacturing an array of pvc-u and aluminium products to the trade from its large facility in Telford. For more information on the range visit www.frameXpress.co.uk to download a trade brochure or alternatively call one of the sales team on 01952 581100.

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MORLEY GLASS HELPS GET SCHOOL ON THE ROAD

M orley Glass & Glazing managing director Ian Short has helped provide Mill Field Primary School in Leeds with a new set of wheels after he raised more than £10k for children’s charity Variety. Last year, Ian trained for three months alongside professional dance partner Olivia Choi from the North Leeds Dance Academy before competing against 9 other amateur dancers in Variety’s Strictly Ballroom competition. Ian and Olivia wowed the star-studded judging panel with their samba and were crowned the winners on the evening. Best of all, the charity event raised a total of £39,500, enough to fund Mill Field’s new Sunshine Coach. Presenting the coach at the school last week, Ian said: “The last year been a fantastic journey for me, from quitting smoking and getting fit to learning to dance and losing over six stone in weight so far. To be able to present the new coach to teachers and students at Mill Field Primary School was a wonderful conclusion to the story.”

Mill Field Primary School in Leeds is a large, multi-cultural primary school that offers facilities that are used to enhance learning experiences for all its students. Serving a diverse community in an area of significant social disadvantage, the school employs a play therapist to help support its students, is a member of a food waste programme and provides a breakfast club for over 80 students. The Sunshine Variety Coach will allow the school to plan activities without worrying about the cost and timing of public transport. The students, including two wheelchair users, will benefit from greater access to their communities and the opportunity to engage in extra-curricular activities. Every year, Variety provides coaches, wheelchairs and grants for specialist equipment to children and school across the UK. The charity also helps fund days out for disadvantaged children via its Great Days Out Programme.

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BYSTRONIC GLASS UK AND HEGLA UK ACKNOWLEGED FOR EXCELLENCE BY LEADING INDUSTRY AWARD

T he combined successes of the Bystronic glass and HEGLA Preferred Partnership in the UK was acknowledged at the end of April with the presentation of the Best Machinery Company Accolade at the National Fenestration Awards (#NFA) in Doncaster, England. The Independent Industry Awards event recognised innovation and service to the sector in the glass and glass processing industry across the UK. Both Steve Goble and Steve Powell celebrated with members of both teams, with acknowledgments to the skills and experience of the preferred partnership collaboration. Nominated and voted for by key figures in the sector, this accolade brings together the best of both worlds with both Managing Directors believing there is great belief in the products and customer support in relation to both companies. With the National Fenestration Awards (#NFAs) being industry led, this has award has demonstrated that the reputation of both companies has been judged in a fair and open way.

Steve Goble, Managing Director HEGLA UK Ltd comments, “As awards go, this is the one we wanted to win. It exemplifies the high standards set by both Bystronic glass and HEGLA with both teams committed to customer satisfaction, which has been acknowledged overall by the industry and it is considered a hard won victory. That is quite an achievement.” Steve Powell Managing Director Bystronic glass UK comments, “After such a positive year this is great recognition from our industry colleagues. It’s really encouraging to know that our commitment has been acknowledged by the whole sector for our support services and quality standards.” The diversity of both brands brings to the market a unified capability for customers which surpasses those of competitors according to both Managing Directors. The broad range of HEGLA’s modern automatic cutting, sorting and automatic storage systems works alongside the Bystronic range of IG line solutions in complete synchronicity, and this increases the efficiency and output across the board for customers.

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Together the companies work with key decision makers, with the teams recognised for carefully evaluating business plans so that production methods can be streamlined to provide the fastest manufacturing solution. The pedigree of both the Bystronic glass and HEGLA brands is well recognised both nationally and internationally. Working in tandem with the Bystronic Glass UK team which provides service support on all products from the Bystronicglass/HEGLA ranges, ensure that customers’ production methods are as efficient as possible. For both companies the NFA Machinery Company of the Year Award reflects the success of that partnership. For Bernhard Hoetger Managing Director HEGLA GmbH, the win has been a morale booster for everyone worldwide and he considers it as a great acknowledgement for the UK teams. He comments, “In a tough market this is a truly wonderful achievement. No doubt the UK success story can be attributed not just to the technology, but also to the drive and commitment of the team. It is a great job well done!” Burghard Schneider, CEO Bystronic glass commented, “This is exceptional recognition of both teams in the UK. Bystronic glass as a company is very proud of the successes achieved and the acknowledgements by the UK industry as a whole. Many congratulations to everyone involved!”

The National Fenestration Awards recognise excellence in the UK glass and fenestration sectors, with peer led nomination and voting in 28 categories that focus on innovation and diversity in the industry.

For more information on the Bystronic glass UK and HEGLA UK product portfolios or to arrange an appointment to discuss requirements please call 01908 261933 or 01952 677971.

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MORLEY SPONSORS SEVENTH ANNUAL CHARITY EVENT

M orley Glass & Glazing has sponsored the 7th Annual North Leeds Charity Beer Festival, which this year raised more than £7,000 to fund worthwhile projects in Leeds, as well as nationally and even worldwide. Organised by the Rotary Club of Roundhay, this year’s annual community charity fundraising festival debuted a gin bar alongside the 35 real ales from seven breweries and seven ciders. As always, the fine selection of real ale, cider and gin was complemented by pork pies and vegetable samosas, as well as a fantastic programme of local bands. The Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Jane Dowson, who stopped by to visit the event on Saturday 7th April, praised the work the festival has funded in the local community.

She said: “One of the most inspiring things I heard was the funding of a pupil from a deprived area attending Roundhay School who was sent on a one week Youth Sailing programme; her aim in life was to become a doctor, and she has now been offered a place at Imperial College London because the university was impressed by her get up and go attitude”. Since it began in 2012, the North Leeds Charity Beer Festival has raised over £30k for charities. As headline sponsor, Morley Glass & Glazing enjoys the chance to share in and engage with a great community event whilst helping good causes at the same time.

Ian Short, Managing Director of Morley Glass says: “We are delighted to have been able to sponsor the 7th Annual North Leeds Charity Beer Festival. This is exactly the type of initiative we like to be involved with as it perfectly reflects our ethos of giving back to local communities.”

For more information, visit www.morleyglass.co.uk

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APRIL 2018 NFA DIGITAL 21 7 day turnaround applies to standard stocked colours and refers to manufacturing date from time of order, delivery will then be made on the customer’s next scheduled delivery date. Free delivery subject to standard T&Cs and covers mainland UK only. Full terms & conditions available upon request.

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CWMTILLERY INVESTS IN OPTIMAX FROM HEGLA

C wmtillery Glass based in South Wales has recently further streamlined production with the installation of a HEGLA Optimax cutting table with laser technology and two loading systems comprising a double sided loader and a shuttle loader, providing the double sided loader with considerably more glass types. The investment has enabled the company to increase cutting productivity and works in unison with the two Bystronic I G Speedlines that were installed last year. With demand increasing for the various glass types manufactured at the company, Managing Director Paul Hayward, wanted to simplify production methods and increase efficiency down the production line. The investment in the HEGLA Optimax system, with laser technology enables Cwmtillery Glass to deliver a broader product range in a considerably shorter timescale. Staff are now deployed elsewhere so that their technical expertise can be put to better use, while flow-through and output on the production floor have increased considerably. Technically, the Optimax cutting table now speeds up the whole manufacturing process and enables the company to automatically load and cut a more varied range of glass types the introduction of laser marking on the table has allowed alternative production methods within Cwmtillery that have increased output. The HEGLA team’s extensive industry understanding ensured that the right products could easily fit into the facility and that they would work seamlessly with the existing Bystronic equipment. The advanced cutting and loading system includes greater health and safety guarantees with the

machines fully fenced to current standards and electro mechanically interlocked. The loader is sequenced fully automatically with the cutting table instructions via the cutting code. This all ensures that the quality of glass is improved so there are fewer scratches during production. HEGLA’s experience and skills enabled the team to create a fully tailored design which was an essential aspect to this particular project, with lead engineer, Greg Smith creating a bespoke programme that connected the laser to the cutting table. The assembly process was considered ‘perfect’ by Paul Hayward, who was impressed with the speed of the team, as installation, commissioning and training of the new system was completed within 3 weeks. Cwmtillery Glass’ portfolio comprises high quality processed glass units which are supplied to the domestic sector nationally, producing in one of the most modern glass processing sites in the country. Long-term efficiency was essential when making the investment with the laser technology simplifying the whole production process and the Optimax cutting table allowing for larger batch sizes to be cut more quickly. POSITIVE RESULTS The HEGLA pedigree has already had a positive impact with the speed and reliability having already proved itself, as Cwmtillery further automates its methods and the company has achieved excellent results on the back of this. Consequently, the relationship with the Bystronic glass and HEGLA team is firmly established as a partnership rather than customer/supplier.

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CONFIDENT CUSTOMER CARE Customer care and reliable engineering is vital for Cwmtillery Glass and quality engineering is interwoven into the business. Steve Goble, Managing Director at HEGLA UK, comments, “Our high engineering standards are mirrored in this project - tailored solutions that will achieve optimum results remains our priority. Our engineering team knowledge is second to none and this was reflected here with excellent technical advice and software programming produced specifically for Cwmtillery Glass.” For more information on the HEGLA Optimax, laser technology and automatic loading systems please call 01908 261933.

Paul comments “It is essential to know I can get things right and to get that done quickly, which can only be achieved on machinery that is reliable. Neither Bystronic nor HEGLA have ever let us down and this latest installation has brought us real time saving benefits in a number of ways including internal efficiency.” The initial CAD drawings enabled the production department to visualise how the Optimax could be accommodated into the factory unit, which resulted in a carefully planned adjustment to the floor design. When the machines were delivered and installed, manufacturing was not disrupted, with down-time minimised. Paul continues, “Since installation the HEGLA equipment has proved its worth many times over. The after sales care from the engineering team is superb, so any issues we had with the machinery were sorted immediately.”

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Tel: 0113 277 8722 Email: info@morleyglass.co.uk Direct fax for quotations: 0113 277 8723 Morley Glass & Glazing Ltd, Unit 3, Leeds 27 Industrial Estate, Bruntcliƒe Way, Leeds LS27 0HH To find out why you should oƒer your customers Uni-Blinds integral blinds, call us now. ORDER TODAY

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DGB | 2017

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COOLWALL

PREFIX PUBLISH A COMPLETE GUIDE TO ALUMINIUM

P refix Systems have just published a new 52-page brochure dedicated to aluminium glazing. The brochure includes various types of windows, patio and bi-folding doors, along with roofs for full kit aluminium extensions such as the URBANroom and of course the beautiful OPUS hybrid range of glazing. Despite the aluminium glazing sector remaining one of the most buoyant parts of the industry, installers have lacked information on product ranges and have been limited with the images and marketing deliverables from the

Given aluminium’s diversity in terms of finish options, there’s a final spread on colours from the metallic Sensations range, heritage Cotswold shades and the rich Naturals collection. Hannah Gilrane, marketing co-ordinator at Prefix Systems commented: ‘We’ve worked tirelessly to put this aluminium brochure together, which we believe is unrivalled in terms of content and breadth of information. It’s the perfect flagship publication to support our dedicated aluminium manufacturing plant, which supports our four branches which serve the entire UK mainland.’ For further information on Prefix Systems and to request the new aluminium brochure, contact the head office on 01254 871800, or e-mail marketing@prefixsystems.co.uk. For other information including brochure downloads visit www.prefixsystems.co.uk or add to their following on Twitter @prefixsystems.

systems houses, who have typically focussed their efforts on the commercial sector. This comprehensive new aluminium systems brochure from Prefix Systems has been designed as a single source of information for installers, but it can also be used with consumers too. Pages and spreads cover a very capable and detailed range of systems with key product features highlighted and supported with cross sectional images, along with opening configurations as a separate section. Security is highlighted with Ultion and Lock Lock options which are becoming increasingly specified, as consumers look for the reassurance of extreme home security. Glazed roofs, lantern roofs are covered as is the impressive contemporary URBANroom with its unique contemporary deep section gutter shroud. The final product within the guide is OPUS which is a range of windows, doors and glazed roof types that benefit from aluminium to the outside, with the sheer beauty of hardwood timber to the inside.

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COOLWALL

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INDUSTRY NEWS

I’M NOT SURE THE WINDOW INDUSTRY CAN EVER RECOVER E ver get the feeling that running a business in the window and door industry only gets harder? Each year there seems to be more and more issues for our industry to have to deal with. GDPR, lack of skilled labour, price increases, skewed consumer protection law, poor product quality, poor supplier customer service, masses of red tape. I could go on. There are more than what I have just stated here. Of late, I feel as though the industry is becoming a more frantic, disjointed, bad tempered industry that is lacking patience, vision, guidance and any sort of leadership. And I think that if there isn’t a fundamental change pretty much immediately, our industry may never recover from the coming crisis.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

stick around, so they have to go. Often it is the lack of quality workmanship. So we end up with a remedial list longer than we’d like because of said poor work, which affects cash flow and the overall experience for the home owner. Not to mention our stress levels go up accordingly which doesn’t help productivity either. In our particular scenario, these issues are made even worse when others go on vacation. These past two weeks have seen my parents, also the Directors, go on holiday. They’re back to work next Tuesday. That leaves me and my brother running the place for a while. Not that we mind, we enjoy it. But as fate would have it, these would be the weeks where we are bombarded with all sorts of issues. Extra skilled hands would of course be very much welcome, as we could do with a refresh on a number of fronts. And it would have helped if the product quality would have been as it should have. Back to the lack of skilled workers though. There just seems to be very little genuine talent out there. We have been very lucky in the last few weeks to welcome on board a new surveyor/ service engineer who has been putting in some absolute shifts these past few weeks. But apart from that, we’re left scratching our heads wondering how we’re going to facilitate our growth if we cannot find the right people to carry out our work. Long term, this isn’t sustainable. It’s not sustainable now to be completely honest, and it’s a monumental effort some weeks to even keep to schedule and keep everyone happy all at the same time. After what I would think is at least two decades of all kinds of trades being ignored by the education system, I do actually think we’re now way beyond the point of no return. I know there are a number of efforts being made in various quarters to at least restart the process of encouraging young people into our industry. But that hill is so steep to climb, and with an economy that is demanding of a different type of workforce, coupled with automation in some areas, I hold no hope that there is going to be any sort of turn around on this front.

LACK OF SKILLS I think one of the most pressing issues for the sector, and the one that causes the most stress is the dire lack of youth and skilled talent coming into the industry. You hear anecdotal storied about installers and fabricators not being able to find anyone decent to do the jobs they need doing. Speaking as a person who has a family run installations business that has been going for 37 years, I can vouch for that entirely. We’re not a big business by any stretch. We have a small team of people on a single, modest sized site, but we do over seven figures a year so you can understand that we are busy pretty much all the time. During the Spring and Summer, as we get busy, we regularly have to start looking for more fitting crews as the work starts to pile up. So, as many of you will do, we go to a variety of outlets to advertise for quality installers. What we get back, frankly, is total dross. So many installers out there still don’t have the right qualifications. Some still don’t even know you need one! We have had electricians phoning saying that they can “fit windows”. I’ll address product quality in a moment. Of the ones we hold our breath and give a shot, more often than not they disappoint and we have to let them go. What we end up with is a core crew that have worked for us long term, but no new crews that have the skills or work ethic to

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INDUSTRY NEWS

POOR PRODUCT QUALITY I have been having quiet little conversations with various installers over the past few weeks to try and gauge the opinion of product quality in our industry right now. It doesn’t sound promising. Last year I wrote about how poor product quality was one of the window and door industry’s biggest and most costly problems. New product saturation in the market, a lack of suitable marketing and technical knowledge, badly adapted factories unable to cope with the pace of change have all contributed to what was one of the defining negatives of the industry last year. I also wrote at the start of this year that this needed to be addressed immediately if the industry was to be spared further financial and organisational disruption. If my anecdotal stories are anything to go by, this hasn’t happened. And if you’re an installer, it’s one of the most frustrating things you have to come across.

Most installers are SME’s, too busy, not big enough to individually unwrap, check thoroughly and re- wrap each and every item that gets delivered to their yard. So, they take delivery of their products, which their installers then load on to their vans to go to site. So imagine turning up to start fitting a house full of new windows and doors when you find that some of the frames have been damaged. Or the wrong handles have been provided. Or the glass is scratched. Or there are missing items completely. Trust me, it’s infuriating and incredibly deflating for the installer, as they now have to start putting problems right before they have even removed a single old window. Installers have to be able to rely on supply of quality products, made with care and delivered on time. Take that away and all they get is stress, delayed fitting schedules, reduced cash flow and unhappy staff and home owners. I may do a poll of readers asking for their opinion on the general quality of products being made in our industry right now. The results could be interesting.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

THE OTHER THINGS GDPR. The four letters you’re probably sick of hearing about by now, and seeing in your inboxes. I’m not going to wax lyrical about that in this post, but if you have tried to look into it, and you have by 25th May to make sure you’re compliant, you’ll know it’s about as clear sandblasted glass. So, imagine the task for the OMBs and other very small installers who run websites that collect data when trying to generate leads. They have businesses to run, and many will likely see the task of trying to understand GDPR and what level of implementation applies to them an inconvenience.

that even if there is no tangible issue with an installation, a home owner who knows enough of the law can play on the regulations as they are and hold an installer utterly over a barrel without reasonable cause. If you doubt this, go check it out, it’s something we should all be very clear on. Price increases. Never ending. Always happening. It’s hard enough to maintain profit margins as it is these days. Good luck to anyone starting a new installations business in this industry. I could go on, but you get the picture. Overall, I sense no real leadership in our industry right now. The existing trade bodies and organisations lost their influence long ago. There are one or two individuals out there that stand out for their industry influence, but on their own would not be able to turn around a whole sector. The issues I have addressed have lead to an industry that is increasingly fractured, disorganised, in conflict with itself and without any sort of plan to rectify some of the most fundamental problems. We’re probably beyond the point of recovery.

Red tape. Think we all know about that one.

Poor customer service from suppliers is another. That sort of goes hand in hand with poor product quality and I know that remains an issue for many installers out there.

The current consumer protection laws are also so heavily weighted in favour of the consumer

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INDUSTRY NEWS

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INDUSTRY NEWS

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INDUSTRY NEWS

WINNING AWARDS - AN EXCELLENT WAY TO RECOGNISE GOOD BUSINESS

A pril saw the industry celebrate the with a superb event held at Doncaster races that recognised the best companies and individuals from across the glass and fenestration sector. The NFAs, now in its 5th year, recognises the importance of industry recognition from those within the industry, ensuring that the event is a positive experience all round. It also presents the sector with a platform to highlight the exceptional talent that exists in the glass and glazing sector. The event was considered a great success with an excellent turnout from industry leaders. As business awards are built upon best practice and industry standards, a company can measure not only its successes but also that of the competition. Even if a company does not win, nomination in itself can help directors and key decision makers identify opportunities for improvement and the awards can help to motivate staff to achieve more in time for the following year’s awards. Jason Grafton-Holt, Founder of the National Fenestration Awards comments, “The NFAs are held on an even playing field and all sized companies are welcome. These awards are won by business people who are committed and who have gained recognition for the highest standards successes of the industry at the annual National Fenestration Awards in Doncaster,

by peers, customers and suppliers across the sector. Winners this year clearly demonstrated their dedication to hard work and integrity, with truly original innovation and commitment to industry growth. Completing nominations is an extremely simple process and most people who attended the NFA event considered it as an investment in their business, with hard won reputations for excellence acknowledged. For those who had not won, the event was considered very rewarding and enjoyable, savouring a good day at the races with an excellent networking opportunity. Jason continues: “We had a record number of nominations and voting entries this year, and the standard throughout the entire campaign was particularly high. It is a pleasure to recognise the important roles people play in this industry and to reflect on the exceptional talent that we have - the NFAs gives everyone a chance to acknowledge the successes. I would like to congratulate all of our award winners. Personally, I think they are all exceptional!” The NFAs are for everyone and it is important to remember that it is not just the big companies that have the chance to win. So get ready - the next Awards will soon be upon us!

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INDUSTRY NEWS

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INDUSTRY NEWS

THE TOP 5 FENESTRATION COMPANIES SHAKING IT UP RIGHT NOW O ur industry is a vibrant place these days. It has undergone a transformation in the last decade or so, with a huge wave of new products and innovations transforming the way our industry does business both internally and with the home owner. In this post, I want to take a look at five companies in our industry who are really shaking things up. There is no order to this list, number one isn’t better than number five. The companies I have chosen have been included due to the impact they are having on the industry that no others are doing in a similar way. Please feel free to pick apart the list and add your own recommendations via the comments section below.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

SAFEGLAZE UK

had been caught on the back foot when residential demand for aluminium took off. They had been very well prepared for the commercial sector but not residential. There has been a company however that stands out for me in making the aluminium experience for the installer a simple, productive and profitable venture, and that’s REAL Aluminium. Their marketing methods and background planning has given them a standout lead when it comes to residential aluminium. They were the first to really make the whole process of aluminium for installers that much easier. It is a minefield out there, it’s not as simplified as the PVCu world is. So much care and attention has to be applied when it comes to things like ordering and processing. REAL’s work on simplifying that for the installer is one of the reasons why they have made waves in the residential aluminium sector. For those who may not know, this new company, was set up by the same people who set up Safestyle all those years ago. Judging by their marketing methods so far, they plan to go about obtaining business in pretty much the same way as before. In 2018, with a much more educated consumer and social media a great pressure tool, you would expect them to do something different. But no. That being said, they are taking on huge amounts of business right now, and have many of the established nationals in their sight. Click here to read about a new development connected to this story.

Bear with me on this one. I know it’s a bit left field, but if this is a list of companies that

are shaking things up, it’s hard to ignore them. Whether you like the way they go about their business or not. This company is only a few months old, six by my calculations, and I have never seen such an aggressive growth and market share plan than that of Safeglaze.

REAL ALUMINIUM

I think the rise in popularity of

aluminium caught a few of us by surprise.

Who would have thought innovation would have come in the form of a material long dead in the residential market and at the time confined to commercial projects? Yet, here we are, with a new breed of aluminium products far more advanced in every way in comparison to their ancestors. Aluminium however remains a highly diverse and therefore complicated sector in comparison to PVCu. You only need to look at some of the most recognised systems companies and their vast array of product ranges to see how complicated it can get. If I’m being honest I think a lot of the aluminium syscos

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INDUSTRY NEWS

LISTER TRADE FRAMES

company under his wing and guidance. A year on, the company is thriving once again. It’s almost as if the events of last year never happened, and they appear to be stronger than ever. They’re on this list for their amazing turnaround, but also for their newly developed cloud and app-based pricing software. I have been given a demonstration of it, even though it wasn’t a 100% version, and I can honestly say it was astoundingly easy to use, despite the fact it had 8 different product lines within it. It was intuitive, self-explanatory, and the clean and simpler user interface allowed a complete noob to find their way round in minutes. It’s also a complete system, from quote, to surveyors report, to order and all else in between. It’s one of the most advanced pricing software packages that I have seen, and something that is genuinely going to transform how Lister’s customers do their business with home owners. As I have said before, those who invest in tech and software properly will find themselves on top.

We all remember the terrible news last year when it was announced that industry bastions

Lister Trade Frames had gone into administration. It was a turbulent time in the sector as a whole, with the most volatility in the sector since the Great Recession. Here was a business that was undone by the selfish acts of a single person. Not due to the poor running of the company. Not due to the sector struggling like it did a decade ago. It came as a shock to all. It was a well loved, highly respected business known for their impeccable quality and community spirit both inside and outside the company. At the time I wrote that there would be a happy ending to this. A company of the calibre of Listers would not be allowed to fade away. Indeed, a few weeks later, Roy Frost stepped in and took the

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wondering at this point if the people at the testing centre would actually like their booth back so they can use it for other products! They’re on this list for those, and for what they are about to launch with Sweet. I have seen it, some of you guys may also have seen it too. If you have, then you know why Brisant are on here. When this goes live in the coming weeks, the entire hardware sector will once again be forced to rethink how it operates in it’s own market.

May seem an obvious one this one. But, whenever this company has brought a product

to market, it has, without fail, totally shaken up that sector. Just look at the immense popularity of Ultion both in the locksmith and window sector. Few of us will have seen a single product take off with such force so quickly. They did it again with LockLock and their seemingly un-pittable door handle, which to my knowledge remains the the salt spray booth. I am

As the saying goes, if you’re not innovating you’re dying. This is most definitely innovating.

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INDUSTRY NEWS

EUROCELL

that now finds themselves in a strong place to make acquisitions in 2018.

Eurocell are on this list for two reasons. Firstly, because they seem to be one of few

The second reason for their inclusion is their efforts towards recycling. They have their Rethink / Recycle campaign, which you can find out more about by clicking here. It’s perhaps the most forward thinking attitude towards plastic and out industry. As we know, the image of plastic is about as bad as the pollution is causes right now, and there is already backlash against the use of PVCu windows popping up on social media. Eurocell are tackling this head on, and are one of the only companies I have seen to take a very early stance against the negative news that our industry will now doubt soon have to battle. I have also seen a peak as to what they have planned on this front and it’s going to blow every other effort out of the water.

major UK fenestration companies listed on the stock exchange that are performing well. If you take a look at all of the others that are traded on exchanges pretty much all are flat or down. Safestyle being the most obvious example of a company’s share price that has fallen. In previous posts I have written about how their diversified business model has helped them ride the waves of new niches and help provide more products and services to lots of different areas of the industry. Something which has been ignored by others. The end result is a very strong Eurocell

*This list is of course based on my own personal opinion, and there are plenty of other companies out there in the sector doing amazing work, helping to change the dynamics of our industry.

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