With an eye on the trade’s evolving requirements, JELD-Wen’s Tony Pell provides an update on the latest innovations in window manufacturing and advises merchants on how to make the most of them.
It’s no secret that confidence in the construction sector has started to grow as the economy becomes increasingly more stable. The forecast for 2015 looks rosy, which is great news for every area of the market, but merchants need to be fully up to speed with the latest products on offer if they are to exploit this growing confidence.
With the market picking up again, not only are more projects getting the go-ahead but the size and scale of these has drastically increased too — good news for manufacturers and merchants alike. However, in addition to orders from larger construction companies, we’re also noticing more demand from smaller firms along with self-builders, so versatility is a key requirement in today’s window market.
Self-builders, in particular, will be more likely to require detailed advice on the types of windows available to them, staying within budget and, more importantly, fitting windows correctly, so manufacturers are working hard to provide premium products that can be installed with minimum fuss, saving time and money. To support the changes in the market, training merchants accordingly remains a priority.
Perhaps one of the most important developments in window manufacturing relates to energy efficiency. On larger projects in particular, there will always be demand for windows that conform to a strict range of energy requirements and savvy manufacturers are developing window ranges that cover every energy performance level — including A+.
In addition to meeting the strictest requirements, these windows can be supplied in various designs. Thicker sashes are available, allowing for double or triple glazing, and factory-finished options in a variety of paint or stain finishes including a dual colour finish, making them ideal for large-scale projects that may demand a wide range of performance requirements, but also a uniform finish.
With various A+ rating window designs available, merchants can now supply their customers with the highest quality products that offer superb thermal efficiency, sound insulation and an attractive appearance. More demanding conservation area projects can be accommodated by A rated windows that meet planning requirements without compromising on modern functionality. The challenge of improving a property’s thermal performance by reducing the costs associated with heating and cooling a property remains important, regardless of the scale of the project.
Another evolution within the windows market is that the latest premium window manufacturers are making the specification process far simpler for installers, housebuilders and self-builders. It’s now possible to choose factory-finished windows that are supplied with premium glass as standard, hardware suited to doorsets, and Secured by Design options, drastically cutting down on project time and costs while offering peace of mind for the customer. Merchants that can offer a one-stop-shop for all project requirements are only going to benefit from more sales.
Of course, sustainability and manufacturing guarantees remain important — merchants and builders need to know that their products are coming from a reliable source they can trust. In addition, shrewd merchants are aware that partnering with long established suppliers who can offer a minimum 10 year manufacturing guarantee for their customers is important.
Tony Pell is Windows Product Manager at JELD-Wen.