Fabricators, installers and manufacturers across the glass and glazing supply chain must do more to promote the benefits of high-performance products to homeowners if they are to secure the future growth of the industry, according to a new report published by Pilkington United Kingdom Limited.
With a significant amount of R&D taking place across the domestic glazing sector, a number of innovative products are coming to market. Despite this, key industry figures believe more needs to be done to promote products with properties such as advanced energy performance to consumers.
Speaking in ‘Framing the debate: What does the future hold for the domestic glazing market?’, Mark Catchpole, sales director at SWC Trade Frames, said: “Product development and innovation is happening rapidly, and the energy performance that windows can deliver is getting better and better. However, what doesn’t seem to be happening is these products filtering into the market with any speed, and we, as an industry, should see this as a major point to address.”
Elsewhere in the report, developers’ focus on low-cost products rather than quality solutions is highlighted as a concern by fabricator and installer H Jarvis. Whereas, VEKA plc cites standard frame sizes as an obstacle preventing the widespread adoption of triple-glazing in the UK.
Dave Jones, managing director at VEKA plc, said: “The hesitance of the UK market to adopt triple-glazing is due in large part to the fact that 70mm frames are still the standard offering here, while the continent moved to 82mm+ systems as standard long ago.”
Despite these challenges, those in the supply chain recognise a number of opportunities that the industry can capitalise on, including an increasing demand for products with a premium appearance. With consumers moving away from white PVCu frames, designers are increasingly specifying silver or dark grey frames that give the appearance of metal and high-end aluminium alternatives while offering the affordability of PVCu products. This growing demand for a wider range of colours has the potential to create new revenue streams for the industry.
John Spiby, national sales manager – domestic products, Pilkington United Kingdom Limited, says: “The latest Palmer Market Research report made for unsettling reading for those of us in the domestic glazing sector. While it predicts some growth in demand, the rate predicted is significantly lower than it was a year ago and there are clear challenges facing the industry.
“However, it’s not all doom and gloom and, while demand from existing housing stock looks set to continue at the slow pace we have seen in recent years, the new build sector shows promise.
“Within this report, we have spoken to a number of key figures from across the industry to gauge their thoughts on the current market and address some of the issues businesses face. It’s clear that the sector is going through a period of change, and while there are challenges to navigate, the opportunities for growth are promising.”