Grant Sneddon, Product Manager for VELUX considers the current state of the UK construction market and explores how homeowner demand for higher specification products can drive industry growth.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the three months prior to July this year saw construction output fall by over 10%, driven both by a reduction in new work as well as a decline in ongoing repair and maintenance jobs. It’s been a tough year, but thankfully for all of us in the industry, we’re experiencing a shift. Construction output has grown over 15% and 20% in the summer months, and there’s now a reason to be optimistic.
The current increase in demand for construction indicates a real appetite for renovations. With office workers now spending more time at their kitchen tables or in box rooms, it’s these homeowners in particular who have been able to better consider how their homes need to adapt.
At VELUX, we have seen a rise in property owners looking to develop more flexible and larger spaces or researching ways to make their homes healthier with more fresh air and daylight. We’re often the first brand owners consider thanks to our wide product portfolio, including sloping roof windows, flat roof windows, sun tunnels and sun-screening accessories, all of which help merchants’ customers, and in turn homeowners, achieve their dream project.
These dream projects don’t necessarily need to be big and bold — even the simplest of upgrades can make the biggest difference to homeowners’ spaces. For example, we know that natural daylight and ventilation are two of the key components for having a healthier home and it is recommended that if glazing covers 15-20% of the floor area in a room, this will ensure adequate daylight is provided.
However, it’s the combination of vertical and roof window glazing that is paramount to making sure daylight travels further into a room, which is especially important in open plan living spaces and single storey extensions. By incorporating just a couple of roof windows, the amount of daylight can make an immeasurable, positive difference to how a room can be used.
For projects which already include roof windows or have them specified in their plans, a simple switch from a standard centre-pivot roof window to an electric or solar powered VELUX INTEGRA centre-pivot roof window allows homeowners to open and close their roof windows with one touch of a pre-paired wall switch — ideal in rooms where roof windows are out of reach. The VELUX INTEGRA system is also available in (mains-powered) top-hung operation, in addition to blinds and shutters which can also be controlled automatically, demonstrating how advances in construction products can make life that little bit easier.
For homeowners keen to ensure their homes are healthier places to live and work, VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO is a complete smart sensor kit which continuously monitors the temperature, humidity and CO2 levels in the home. Working with VELUX INTEGRA products to open and close roof windows, blinds and shutters, ACTIVE automatically helps maintain a healthy indoor environment. What’s more, it can be controlled from anywhere in the world via a smartphone app and is even compatible with Siri and Google Assistant.
Other ‘upgrade’ products include VELUX STUDIO roof windows. These encompass three window sashes in one frame in the form of two centre-pivot windows on either side of a fixed glass unit. With a slimmer profile, VELUX STUDIO offers extended panoramic views, and the single frame design makes it as easy to install as a standard centre-pivot roof window — ideal for loft conversions where space might be at a premium.
But how do these products benefit the industry? Firstly, VELUX has introduced a new incentive which we hope can help builders’ merchants encourage their customers to consider choosing our more advanced products. We’re offering a free VELUX ACTIVE kit with all purchases of VELUX INTEGRA roof windows until the end of December 2020. This is a perfect opportunity for builders to encourage customers to make that extra purchase if they are squeezing in some renovation work before Christmas.
VELUX works hand in hand with the industry to drive interest and sales. This can be through monetary incentives but having been at the forefront of innovative design for over 75 years, VELUX is a highly trusted brand and we provide excellent customer care service to help both our merchant and installer customers’ businesses.
For example, we have quick and easy stock ordering processes which are followed up by a delivery service with lead times often around 2-7 days. Our dedicated local sales representatives span the whole of the UK and Ireland and our customer service team are trained to understand the questions or needs our direct customers may have, so VELUX can support their business needs.
Overall, we aim to support the industry by delivering creative, innovative and well-designed products, and invest heavily into pushing inspirational and educational homeowner marketing campaigns which deliver increases in product demand and benefit our merchant customers. We need to support each other as the industry recovers, and we’re committed to strengthening the recovery for merchants in any way we can.
For more information on the Velux product range and its support for merchants, go to: www.velux.co.uk/professional