Monthly Archives

October 2016

Analysis: aluminium bi-fold doors

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Aluminium has enjoyed what appears an unrivalled ascendency in the bi-folding door market but can it be sustained?

It’s been called the ‘Grand Designs factor’: Kevin McCloud (other home improvement shows are also available!) has transmitted the virtue of slim sightlines alongside the aspirational appeal of products that connect indoor and outdoor ‘spaces’, into our homes – and bi-fold doors have benefitted.

Recently tweeted by McCloud as one of the programme’s ‘greatest legacies’, bi-fold doors –  and aluminium bi-folding doors specifically –  have achieved a level of aspirational appeal unparalleled by any other fenestration product.

But while McCloud’s eulogizing about aluminium’s architectural merit, may have hit home with consumers, there is a growing challenge from a new generation of PVC-U bi-folds.

“Aluminium delivers incredible structural flexibility and great sightlines”, says Steve Mines, Sales and Marketing Director, Sliders UK. “But it comes at a price and there is clearly always going to be a strata of the market where affordability is the primary driver of sales.”

According to Palmer Market Research, aluminium bi-folding doors will retain the lion’s share of the market for the foreseeable future. Positively, the 2015 Window, Door and Conservatory Markets report forecasts sustained growth for bi-fold door sales across the board through to 2019 – up from a forecast installed value this year of £84million to £111million.

It’s worth nothing that this represents a 32% increase in installed value, compared to the three per cent increase in installed values forecast by Palmer for inline sliding door sales. This is offset by volume, where Palmer forecasts sales of inline sliding doors will remain significantly higher – almost double those of bi-folding doors.

But it’s Palmer’s forecasts on material type that are perhaps most significant, suggesting a 36% increase in aluminium bi-fold door sales between 2016 and 2019 to 26,500 door sets. Palmer goes as far as predicticting a slight fall in PVC-U bifold sales for the same period to 4,400 units, from a forecast 5,100 this year. He suggest timber bi-fold sales will grow from 5,700 to 7,600 units.

Mines continues: “The growth that we have seen in aluminium bi-fold sales has been absolutely exceptional over the past couple of years, whether that will slow a little now with Brexit is difficult to assess but we believe aluminium bi-fold sales are going to remain strong and investing in our product offering to reflect its end-user appeal.

“But we’re not writing off PVC-U bi-fold sales either. We believe that it remains a growing market and one large enough to accommodate growth for multiple material types.”

Sliders UK announced the launch of the Ultimate Evolution aluminium bi-fold door this summer. The third addition to Sliders UK’s expanding inline sliding, bi-folding and composite door portfolio, it sits alongside its established aluminium bi-fold door offer from ALUK.

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.

With a maximum sash height and width of 3000mm x 1200mm, 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 24:2012, Part Q approved and BS6375 Part 1 Weather Tested.

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.

Mines continues: “We have some really strong products in our range, our established aluminium system, the ALUK Ultimate Aluminium bi-fold and some really innovative 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.

“The Ultimate Evolution offers a higher margin price point or can be sold as a more competitively priced aluminium system, increasing end-user affordability and with it potential market share.”

Mines also remains confident about the place PVC-U bifolds can hold in the market. “The Ultimate Aspect, built around the Eurocell system and Ultimate Imagine Veka PVC-U bi-folding doors, demonstrate what is being delivered in new generation PVC-U technology.”, he says.

“The slim contemporary sightlines of the Ultimate Aspect door echo those of an aluminium systems. The Ultimate Imagine offers classic sculptured and beveled profile options but again maximizes glass area – a key innovation and answering traditional criticism of PVC-U systems”, Mines argues.

Featuring custom designed hardware from ERA, the PAS24:2012 accredited Veka Imagine from Sliders UK also delivers top U-values of up to 0.94W/m2k and an indicative DSER rating of A+13 .

Featuring custom designed hardware from ERA, the PAS24:2012 accredited Veka Imagine from Sliders UK also delivers top U-values of up to 0.94W/m2k and an indicative DSER rating of A+13 .

The Ultimate Imagine was launched by Sliders UK in the spring this year. It features the slimline 70mm energy efficient Veka PVC-U system and with 19 different panel configurations to a maximum of seven sashes, spanning up to 6000mm wide and up to 2400mm height, plus a choice of beveled or sculptured sashes and beads, it delivers a high level of flexibility.

PAS24:2012 accredited and Part Q approved it also offers U-values as low as 0.94W/m2k and an indicative DSER rating of A+13.

Mines continues: “The Ultimate Aspect and Imagine are premium PVC-U bi-folds. They deliver on aesthetics and performance and that little more affordable, offer alternate sales opportunities to established aluminium systems.

“That’s really where we find ourselves. It’s not necessarily about aluminium or PVC-U but about offering a high level of flexibility to our customers.

“Whatever the end-user requirement, we’re able to offer them an option to fulfil it and in the pre and post-Brexit era, that flexibility is going to be increasingly important.”

 

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

Triple Crown: Sliders UK adds third PVC-U bi-fold to its portfolio

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Sliders UK has started manufacturing the new Duraflex bi-fold, its third PVC-U bi-folding door system – and the fourth new product, launched by the door specialist this year.

 

Already manufacturing Veka’s Imagine and Eurocell’s Aspect bi-fold systems, the launch of its third PVC-U bi-fold, extends the reach of the company’s expansive product portfolio.

PAS24:2012 and Part Q compliant, this new offering is fully integrated with Duraflex’s Diamond suite, featuring beveled and chamfered options.

With suited hardware, 13 opening and closing combinations, three low threshold options and featuring Duraflex’s Q-lon, low line gasket, the system also achieves a DER ‘A’ rating and u-values as low as 1.1Wm2/K.

Colour options include a complete range of the latest solid and wood grain foils, as well as further aesthetic appeal including grey both sides on grey substrate; woodgrain on both sides, on brown, or tan substrate.

Steve Mines, Sales Director, Sliders UK said: “Our Duraflex’s patio door and composite door frames are part of our established offer and it’s a system which has retained consistent popularity with installers across all profile systems.

“The new Duraflex bi-fold, is also a very solid and considered system. The fact that it complements and is integrated with its Diamond suite, with beveled and chamfered options gives it a high level of flexibility and synergy with a wide variety of profile systems.

“As PAS24:2012 and Part Q as standard and achieving values as low as 1.1Wm2/K, it puts a tick in the box against regulatory requirements at a very flexible price point.”

With suited hardware, 13 opening and closing combinations, there new Duraflex Bi-fold from Sliders UK achieves a DER ‘A’ rating and u-values as low as 1.1Wm2/K.

With suited hardware, 13 opening and closing combinations, there new Duraflex Bi-fold from Sliders UK achieves a DER ‘A’ rating and u-values as low as 1.1Wm2/K.

The launch of its new offer from Duraflex, follows that of the Ultimate Evolution adjustable jamb system aluminium bi-fold last month [Sept].

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

Offering lead times of just two weeks, its launch of the Ultimate Evolution and Duraflex bi-fold door, follows the two product launches by the specialist door manufacturer earlier in the year.

This includes Sliders UK’s launch of the Ultimate Imagine bi-folding door in March and the launch of the PremiLine PRO from Kömmerling to its PAS24 2012 compliant Ultimate inline sliding door range in April.

These come in addition to and established aluminium offer from ALUK and PVC-U systems from Eurocell and Duraflex, plus Distinction composite doors.

Mines continued: “With a growing but still highly competitive market we see our growth and that of our customers as being delivered by having the flexibility to take on almost any job.

“Our sliding and bi-folding door range reflects that. Price point, structural integrity, colour, PVC-U or aluminium – whatever our customers need to win business, we can offer it as a single source supplier.”

 

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

 

The importance of ‘Q’

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A little over a year on, we find out how Part Q has heralded not only a step change in Government policy but is also reshaping the how the industry sells to homeowners.

The introduction of Part Q in October 2015, was a watershed moment in that for the first time, it introduced a security requirement in Building Regulations. It was a vindication of what the proponents of enhanced security specifications had been arguing for a decade or more before – the way we build our homes can have a significant impact for the better, in the case of Part Q, reducing crime.

A year in and the real ramifications of Part Q are now beginning to surface. Yes, it’s delivered a shift in new build door and window specification –  PAS24:2012 is now a requirement if you serve the new build market – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Part Q has the potential to redefine the way that the industry sells.

“Security has always been there” says Sliders UK’s Ian Longbottom, “Part Q simply enshrines it in legislation but in doing so, it reinforces the importance of ‘security’ in the consumer mindset and generates a raft of sales platforms.”

As an early advocate of Secured by Design (Sliders UK claimed a raft of SBD firsts), security has always featured in door specialist’s market positioning to the trade.

The Ultimate Range features what is approaching the – if not actually the – UK’s widest choice of Part Q approved, composite, inline sliding patio and bi-folding doors. It now supplies more than 300 inline sliding doors, 50 bi-folds and more than 200 composite doors to the trade each week

Available in a wide range of glass options, the offer has been carefully selected to meet end-user aspiration and to build in margin and opportunity for installers.

Available in a wide range of glass options, the offer has been carefully selected to meet end-user aspiration and to build in margin and opportunity for installers.

The Sliders UK Chairman suggests that introduction of Part Q, evidences that the mantra that ‘prevention is better than cure’ is increasingly enshrined in government policy – and is also an indication of things to come.

“I’m confident Part Q will follow into the replacement sector within a few years. It doesn’t matter, however, that Part Q doesn’t apply to replacement windows and doors –  that it’s there in new build is enough to generate a high level of consumer awareness”, Ian continues.

“That Part Q is there in new build building regulations, delivers an exceptionally strong message. As housebuilders capitalise on the marketing platforms that enhanced security specifications deliver, the reach of Part Q will extend into home improvements. It’s already happening almost by process of osmosis.”

This, he argues also has potential ramifications for Secured by Design. Having achieved what it set out to do – secure government and consumer recognition of how good building and building product design can deliver a positive impact in society, Ian suggests to a point, it has run its race.

“What we’re starting to see is Part Q edge a little way ahead of SBD. People get Building Regulations, there’s a perception of credibility that goes with association with it.

“We have always advocated SBD but it’s a more complex proposition. You have to educate the consumer first. Part Q/Building Regulations sits perhaps a little more comfortably. People get it.

“The fact that it doesn’t apply to the replacement sector is a plus. If you offer Part Q approved products, you’re offering more – it’s a sales platform.”

If Sliders UK now sees less value in the SBD badge, it remains committed to innovation which supports its message. The door specialist has launched a raft of new product this year, all of which are Part Q compliant.

This includes the Ultimate Evolution. Launched last month [September], unveiled as a second system to its established ALUK aluminium bi-fold offering and Duraflex’s new bi-folding PVC-U system.

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

Ian continues: “The Ultimate Evolution was designed with a really strong focus on hardware including security so by default its PAS24:2012 accredited but it also features great sightlines and a highly innovative adjustable jamb option.

“Standards in door and window performance are moving forward all of the time, sightlines, colours or security – whatever you’re manufacturing it has to deliver across the board.”

PAS24:2012 and Part Q compliant, the new Duraflex bi-folding door is fully integrated with the systems company’s Diamond suite, featuring beveled and chamfered options.

With suited hardware, 13 opening and closing combinations, three low threshold options and featuring Duraflex’s Q-lon, low line gasket, the system also achieves a DER ‘A’ rating and u-values as low as 1.1Wm2/K.

It’s launch and that of the Ultimate Evolution, follows that of two other Part Q tested doors. This includes 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, both feature a high security specification.

And the launch of the PremiLine PRO patio door from Kömmerling. Another Part Q ready door, it sits alongside Sliders UK’s established offer from Duraflex, giving the door specialist one of, if not the, industry’s largest bi-fold and patio door offers.

“The extension of Part Q to residential replacement is the next logical step”, continues Ian. “The industry has already stepped up to the mark and extending best practice into refurbishment simply makes sense.

“This would also simplify the message to the homeowner, that as a PAS24:2012 accredited product their new door, meets and exceeds all relevant building regulations.”

Sliders UK has been running its own security campaign, Home Security Sense, to promote understanding of enhanced security specification to homeowners. The campaign calls on the insurance industry to recognise the contribution high security building products can make in reducing crime by reducing premiums.

“The introduction of Part Q by Government sends a very clear message to insurers, that high performance building products can make a significant contribution to crime reduction.”, says Ian.

He continues: “Ultimately legislation is going to drive change but in offering homeowners reduced premiums for PAS24:2012 accredited doors, would accelerate and support this process.

“But ultimately, the shift is going to happen. The Government has set the ball rolling and we continue to work alongside our customers to communicate the benefits of Part Q to UK homeowners.

“The message is a strong one. Security is as salient a message as energy efficiency and Part Q is a platform made to deliver it.”

 

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