PBM speaks with Nick Cowley, Managing Director of Euramax, who explains how design trends are playing their part in opening up the windows and doors market whilst also discussing the company’s milestone 70th anniversary.
Incorporated in 1950 as family-run business Ellbee, Yorkshire-based Euramax now employs 150 people from a 205,000 square foot facility and manufactures over 3,000 products a week. With a story that began with the manufacture of aluminium window frames for narrowboats and the automobile industry, the company states it has witnessed the ‘paradigm shift’ over 70 years from cost-effective windows and doors to luxury, double-glazed materials.
Now part of the building and leisure products group OmniMax International Inc, the company’s Managing Director Nick Cowley said: “Euramax has transformed into a company that adapts to support its customers’ marketplace. Following trends and analysing the requirements of our sectors has allowed us to expand our customer base to a number of home improvement customers and builders’ merchants, leisure home and modular home manufacturers across the country.”
Nick, who joined the business in 2019, continued: “Turning 70 is a great milestone for Euramax. There aren’t many window and door manufacturers that can say they have survived a recession — we’ve gone from barges to building and construction, and I’m very proud of that.”
As the market continues to open up following the Covid-19 lockdown, with significant levels of new build activity resuming and the estimated 450,000 people whose plans to move home were put on hold now fuelling a boom in the housing market, Euramax is considering the trends that are driving the windows and doors sector forward.
Open plan, for instance, has been a popular choice for many years and ‘indoor-outdoor living’ is a major trend with many homeowners seeking to create a bright and airy space that brings a slice of the outdoors into their homes.
However, due to budgets and space, not all homeowners can easily make this a reality yet Nick contends: “This is where additions such as bi-folding doors are able to act as a replacement for an open plan space. These doors have the ability to open up a space by allowing more light into the room, creating the impression of a larger, brighter and more open space.
“As the installation of bi-folding doors requires no extensive alternations or renovation to the home, they prove to be a simple yet effective recommendation for customers living in smaller properties.”
Similarly, the desire for SMART technology is increasing with some 57% of UK homes now equipped with a SMART device. And while most are purposed inside a home, features such as SMART sensors and locking systems for exterior windows and doors can help enhance the end-customers’ high-tech desires ever further, for example alerting them if they have left the house without closing windows or locking doors, or enabling remote locking.
Additionally, in the new build market, secure and aesthetically-pleasing doors and windows can make a significant difference to the kerb appeal of the house and add those ‘aspirational touches’ so in demand. For example, making a change to the material and colour of a door or window, such as a thermally efficient composite door with a woodgrain finish, can provide a traditional, cosy aesthetic for a newly-built property.
Addressing the particular importance of the builders’ merchant sector in servicing the windows and doors market, Nick said: “The purpose that merchants serve is far greater than just providing materials for building and construction projects. Homeowners, housebuilders and DIY enthusiasts alike can take full advantage of the materials and services they supply. The necessity of merchants was made even more evident by the clarification received by the BMF in March (concerning the sector’s capacity to continue trading during lockdown), and we really want to demonstrate our support for this sector.
“We’ve been a reliable supplier to the merchant sector for over a decade; for example we now supply our products to Travis Perkins and Selco, both online and in store. To support the market and help it thrive, we deliver a number of solutions that meet merchant’s wide customer base.
“For instance, our MadetoMeasure service provides the option for bespoke orders to support customers with exact project specifications. This means that whether it’s a commercial build or property extension, we can contribute to the success of any project. Offering bespoke services also improves project accuracy and can speed up completion times, as customers don’t need to worry about their windows and doors not fitting or needing alterations after delivery.”
Nick added: “We’re currently working with our merchants to expand our offering with in-store and digital support, and the market has huge potential. In fact, earlier this year we hired a new Key Account Manager — Kevan Flanagan — to strengthen our ties in this sector and to emphasise the support we offer.
“Builders’ merchants are a vital part of the construction industry, and we look forward to working with more merchants and supporting their prosperous future.”
For more information on Euramax, visit: www.euramaxuk.com