Monthly Archives

September 2016

Indian Summer: Sliders UK supports Indian Schools Rugby Programm

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A pioneering programme to promote educational achievement by bringing rugby to some of India’s most deprived cities and districts, has completed its 2016 tour.

The Delhi Hurricanes School Rugby Development Programme is built on a model first pioneered in the UK by the Atlas Foundation.

This promotes discipline and team working through the sport and has been shown to increase academic achievement in areas of social and economic deprivation here in the UK by 12 per cent.

It’s connection to the UK window industry comes courtesy of Sliders UK’s Operations Director, former London Irish loose-head prop Alex Murphy who coaches as part of the scheme.

He first formed links with the Delhi Hurricanes during his time as Business Head of Fenesta Building Systems. India’s largest PVC-U window manufacturer the company is part of the chemicals giant, DCM Shriram.

And also in the form of a sponsorship donation from Sliders UK with support from Duraflex, through the Atlas Foundation, which will finance three full-time coaching posts in Delhi.

The Atlas Foundation provides a link between businesses looking to make a contribution as part of their CSR strategies and grassroots rugby worldwide as a funding organization.

The Atlas Foundation provides a link between businesses looking to make a contribution as part of their CSR strategies and grassroots rugby worldwide as a funding organization.

This year’s summer programme culminated in a festival of rugby held across Delhi, Chennai and Calcutta. “I went out to coach and support the programme and  the engagement that we got was absolutely incredible”, said Alex.

He continued: “The final day we had more than 300 kids there. These are people with very little, and they travelled some really long distances to take part.

“There were these two little girls who came from miles in their very best dresses and to see them running around playing rugby was a wonderful but at the same time, a very humbling experience.

“The programme makes a really big difference to people’s lives for not a lot of money and I’d like to thank the industry for the support its shown for it.”

The Atlas foundation was set up by 114 England Cap loose head prop Jason Leonard, to provide a link between businesses looking to make a contribution as part of their CSR strategies and grassroots rugby worldwide as a funding organization.

It’s also developed a network of ‘Champions’ who work with projects around the world, providing leadership and support to development programmes.

 

For more information on the Atlas Foundation please visit www.theatlasfoundation.org.uk.

For more information on Sliders UK please email sales@sliders-uk.com

Analysis – UK market prospects

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Consumer spending held-up throughout the summer and with forecasts for renewed growth in the housing market within a year, could the ‘post-Brexit stars just be aligning’?

Being definitive about Brexit is just about impossible. Predicting its long-term impact on the UK economy and consumer confidence is even more so. But while Brexit has been sobering for business, it appears to have had less of an impact on consumer confidence.

In the immediate aftermath of the referendum a flurry of reports declared a collapse in consumer confidence. This included the market researcher GfK, which recorded the biggest slide in consumer confidence for 21 years in its one-off poll following the referendum on 23 June.

The group, which has been monitoring UK consumer confidence since the 1970s, said measures of confidence about the economic outlook, people’s personal finances and big purchases, had all fallen.

But at the end of the summer it seems that the UK’s actual spending habits are so far little changed and where they have, for the UK home improvement sector, isn’t by default a negative.

“I wouldn’t suggest for a moment, that Brexit hasn’t and won’t have a big impact on the country, the economy and our industry but dealing with the facts as they are now, things are far from catastrophic”, says Steve Mines, Sales and Marketing Director, Sliders UK

“Figures from Visa showed that UK consumers continued to spend right through the summer, albeit the rate of growth in consumer spending fell compared to the early part of the year. The adjustment in the housing market is also no bad thing, with growth forecast again within a year.”

According to Visa’s analysis, consumer spending rose 1.6 per cent year-on-year in July, up from a growth rate of 0.9 per cent in June. “What we have to be careful about is that a lot of this was driven by spending on ‘experiences’ rather than things, for example home improvements”, continues Mines.

“But what’s also interesting is that forecasts for home improvement also remain reasonably positive despite the initial slowdown in the housing market post-Brexit.”

Published at the end of the summer, a study by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICs) survey showed house price rises slowed significantly in the three months to the end of July.

It reported new buyer inquiries, home sales and new instructions all fell over the period with the number of surveyors reporting price increases outnumbered by 5 per cent by those seeing falls – dropping to its lowest in three years.

However, the RICs survey also suggested that house price inflation could accelerate within a year although it added that this new rate of growth was likely to be modest compared with 2015, or the start of 2016, when prices were rising by up to 10 per cent a year.

“Some realignment to increase the affordability of housing is probably a good thing”, continues Mines. “And if the Brexit vote has led to an immediate slowdown, it appears home owners are still prepared to spend on home improvements.”

The findings from the RICs and a suggested short-term cooling of the housing market, are consistent with those of another poll by Plentific which showed post-Brexit vote, one in 10 homeowners are now more likely to consider home improvements instead of selling.

Mines argues that while in ‘normal’ market conditions a slowdown would be likely to lead to a worsening of market conditions, the Plentific poll of consumer attitudes to home improvement coupled with record low rates of interest, suggest investment may be sustained.

“The Bank of England cut the base rate of interest to 0.25 per cent in August, making money far cheaper to borrow. The other significant factor is that unlike in 2008, the UK financial system is far more robust and banks are primed to lend.

“If people are sitting tight for a period of time while the dust settles, they may not just be far more inclined but also able, to invest in their properties.

“It may not necessarily be the big ticket items but investments which enhance their quality of life or which prime their properties for sale further down the line should continue to have appeal.”

This, according to Mines, gives door installations new weight in retail. He argues that with memories of summer living still fresh in the minds of homeowners and with the autumn chill ahead, bi-fold, inline sliding and composite doors are affordable, low disruption and high return home improvement options.

“People aren’t getting a return on their savings so the incentive isn’t there to save, with the base rate at 0.25 per cent borrowing is lower cost and if they’re waiting Brexit out for the next year or so rather than move, it’s worth investing in home improvements”, he says.

Offering lead times of just two weeks, Sliders UK model is built around the delivery of an expansive Part Q compliant bi-fold, inline sliding, French and composite door offer, from a single point of supply.

To this end it added a second aluminium bi-fold door system to its existing ALUK range, in the late summer, giving Sliders UK one of, if not the, industry’s largest bi-fold door offers.

The Ultimate Evolution features a fully adjustable jamb option, which fitted to both sides of the door, makes squaring and setting faster - significantly reducing installation time

The Ultimate Evolution features a fully adjustable jamb option, which fitted to both sides of the door, makes squaring and setting faster – significantly reducing installation time

 

The Ultimate Evolution draws on innovation in hardware, combining a ultra-smooth bottom running system with impressively slim sightlines – even compared to other aluminium systems.

This may give it end-user appeal, but it’s an innovative fully adjustable jamb option which dramatically simplifies door squaring and setting and increases tolerances, which is perhaps the biggest single innovation. An easy-adjustment system making if far simpler to align the door even where apertures are out of square.

“The Ultimate Evolution is technically very advanced – there are some great hardware innovations and it has some really slim-sightlines, even by aluminium bi-fold standards.

“The fully adjustable jamb option is another key feature, making it far simpler to square and set the door saving installation time but also ensuring smooth running, potential time lost to call backs.

“I’s also that little bit more affordable, which may just be the difference in persuading homeowners to part with their cash.”

Pas24:2012 and Part Q compliant, it’s also fully BS6375 Part 1 Weather Tested, the Ultimate Evolution is second bi-fold launched by the door specialist this year. It follows the launch of the Veka Imagine as a second PVC-U bi-fold system, in addition to its established Eurocell Ultimate Aspect PVC-U door range at the beginning of the year.

This followed the launch of the PremiLine PRO patio door from Kömmerling. “We have invested in our offer so significantly this year because regardless of Brexit, the market is changing.

“Brexit has perhaps increased focus on the importance of continued investment in supporting our customers in accessing new market opportunities.

“To date things have been good. Realistically, there are some slightly tougher times ahead as UK consumers adjust to the lower spending power of the pound.

“But it’s not 2008 and while growth may have slowed, Brexit doesn’t by default equate to crash. The decision has been made and it’s going to be what you make of it.”

 

For more information contact sales@sliders-uk.com

‘Genetically engineered’

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Sliders UK launches its new bi-fold door, the Ultimate Evolution, last month.

 

Sliders UK announced the launch of the Ultimate Evolution aluminium bi-fold door this summer. Another new addition to Sliders UK’s expanding inline sliding, bi-folding and composite door portfolio, it features a number of ‘neat’ benefits for installers – most notably a fully adjustable jamb option, which simplifies installation.

But in a competitive market with competition from a raft of manufacturers does it offer enough to win over installers?

“We wouldn’t have launched the Ultimate Evolution if we didn’t believe that it delivered more opportunity to our customers”, says Steve Mines, Sales Director, Sliders UK.

He continues: “We have some really strong products in our range, our established aluminium system, the ALUK Ultimate Aluminium bi-fold and some really strong PVC-U systems, the Eurocell Ultimate Aspect and the Veka Imagine, which we launched in the Spring.

“But having looked in detail at the retail market, we felt that the Ultimate Evolution, offered our customers something that was different again and with that the new opportunities that go with it.”

Coming as part of strategic growth plans, Sliders UK’s track record for new product launches this year puts the door specialist in a league of its own.

The launch of the Veka Imagine as a second PVC-U bi-fold system in addition to its established Eurocell Ultimate Aspect PVC-U bifold offer, was immediately followed by that of PremiLine PRO inline sliding door from Kömmerling. The launch of the Ultimate Evolution brings the tally to three so far this year, with further launches to follow.

The Ultimate Evolution features a fully adjustable jamb option, which fitted to both sides of the door, makes squaring and setting faster - significantly reducing installation time

The Ultimate Evolution features a fully adjustable jamb option, which fitted to both sides of the door, makes squaring and setting faster – significantly reducing installation time

“As a specialist door manufacturer we have scope to manufacture doors in multiple systems, giving our customers choice. We’re better placed than most fabricators because we aren’t running other products –  just doors.

“But that still requires investment on our part so the addition of any new product has to fit within a strategic framework and it has to give something more, or perhaps more accurately different, to our customers.”

The Ultimate Evolution draws on innovation in hardware, combining a ultra-smooth bottom running system with impressively slim sightlines – even compared to other aluminium systems.

This may give it end-user appeal, but it’s an innovative fully adjustable jamb option which dramatically simplifies door squaring and setting and increases tolerances, which is perhaps the biggest single innovation. An easy-adjustment system making if far simpler to align the door even where apertures are out of square.

“We have a four-man maintenance and support team out on the road, to support customers – normally builders but one or two installers – to correct the running of installed doors.

“9 times out of 10, the issues are caused because doors haven’t been installed square. Everything we do is built in a jig, its fully tested and filmed as part of our quality control procedures so we know it works.

“Over-packing, under-packing against walls – it all contributes to putting the door out of square. The adjustable jamb option simplifies installation – it’s forgiving! And that saves time on site and time lost in call backs”, argues Mines.

The Ultimate Evolution has been developed to build in increased margin at the retail point of sale

The Ultimate Evolution has been developed to build in increased margin at the retail point of sale

The Ultimate Evolution is available in multiple panel configurations including open-in or open-out, with a maximum sash height and width of 3000mm x 1200mm. With colour-matched handles and magnetic door holders, a low threshold option and 30mm polyamide thermal break for increased thermal values, it is also fully tested to PAS 24 and BS6375 Part 1 Weather Testing.

“The other thing to emphasize’ he continues, is that it looks really good, all the standard colours are there, the sightlines are stunning, there’s colour coordinated hardware. The Ultimate evolution is a really well considered product.”

According to the Window Industry Report, at the last count 4,834 installers offered aluminium doors and windows – the majority bi-folding doors – as part of their product portfolio. This represents a six per cent increase. With analysts forecasting continuing growth in bi-fold door sales, particularly aluminium products, the market presents significant opportunities.

Mines argues that the launch of the Ultimate Evolution brings additional flexibility to its trade customer base, giving it one of if not the UK’s widest bi-fold door ranges. He also suggests that alongside aluminium PVC-U continues to have its place.

“The Veka Imagine and Eurocell Ultimate Aspect PVC-U systems pick up a sector of the market. I would describe them as new generation PVC-U doors, delivering far slimmer sightlines and massively increased reliability and durability but also increased affordability”, he says.

“At the other end of the scale you’re looking at the ALUK Ultimate Aluminium bi-fold. The Ultimate Evolution sits somewhere in between. It generates the higher margin opportunities delivered by aluminium and combines it with installation efficiencies and a competitive price point.

“It works for homeowners, increasing affordability but giving them ultra-slim sightlines and installers because it’s good to fit and supports them in building margin into their businesses.”

 

For more information please email sales@sliders-uk.com