Category

Analysis

Engineering-in value

By | Analysis | No Comments

The bi-fold door sector is going through a period of significant change with the launch of a series of new generation PVC-U systems.

“There’s an affordability gap” says Steve Mines, Sliders UK, “The end user demand is there but not everyone can afford an aluminium door. New generation PVC-U systems close that gap, delivering a high level of performance but increase end-user affordability.”

Mines’ is about as an impartial assessment as you’re going to get. Alongside a raft of inline sliding doors, Sliders UK manufactures two aluminium bi-fold systems and with effect from last month – and the launch of the Duraflex bi-fold – three PVC-U bi-fold doors.

“It’s a genuinely interesting time for the industry.  Not only do we have some very strong forecasts of growth on the horizon (at the very least for bi-fold doors), we have some PVC-U systems coming online, which genuinely challenge aluminium bi-fold systems. Duraflex’s new offer is a case in point.”

Sitting alongside the Aspect bi-fold from Eurocell and Imagine from Veka, Sliders UK began manufacture of Duraflex’s new bi-fold system last month.

PAS24:2012 and Part Q compliant, the new Duraflex bi-fold is fully integrated with the systems company’s Diamond suite, featuring bevelled 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.

“This is one of those statements that is possibly open to misinterpretation but a real selling point that we see for the Duraflex bi-fold is that it doesn’t stand out”, says Mines.

“It’s fully integrated with Duraflex’s diamond suite and is available in either chamfered or fully sculptured options.

“It means that it offers a strong aesthetic match to PVC-U systems which don’t carry a bi-fold door option or where the options that do exist don’t deliver the same high levels of performance.”

Sliders UK has also built on the core Duraflex offer to include a white PVC-U outer frame on a traditional cill in addition to the black and silver aluminium threshold options offered by Masco as standard.

“We felt that there would be demand from the market for a white threshold and traditional PVC-U cill in addition to the solution offered as standard by Duraflex”, says Mines. “It’s just another option for our customers and we hope will support future sales.”

Contrasting with forecasts for the industry as a whole, which at best remain turbulent, forecasts for bi-fold door sales remain positive going through to 2020.

The Window, Door and Conservatory Markets in Housing in Great Britain, report, published last month by Palmer Market Research, bi-fold doors saw 7.9% growth in volume in the home improvement sector last year.

Palmer also forecasts that this continuing growth and that forecast in new build bi-fold sales, will collectively contribute to a 44% leap in volume through to 2020 on 2015 figures.

“Forecasts are promising. Aluminium continues to dominate but this doesn’t negate the potential reach of PVC-U.

“Across product ranges, PVC-U is still by far and away the dominant frame material, accounting for more than 80% of all window and door installations.

“If you can offer a product that delivers a really great performance but equally as importantly a strong match to PVC-U systems already installed, it generates a lot of potential retail opportunities.”

Sliders UK’s other PVC-U bi-fold offerings, the Eurocell Aspect and Veka Imagine also carry the same Part Q security approvals and offer an advanced thermal performance with U-values as low as 0.94Wm2/K.

The Ultimate Aspect delivers a real step change in the appearance of PVC-U bifold doors with slim sightlines, elegant hardware and wide choice of foiled options.

The Ultimate Aspect delivers a real step change in the appearance of PVC-U bifold doors with slim sightlines, elegant hardware and wide choice of foiled options.

“The energy efficiency offered by PVC-U systems is another key point. Aluminium systems in general, aren’t as energy efficient as PVC-U systems and the cost of an advanced thermal performance in an aluminium system can put it beyond the reach of homeowners.

“PVC-U systems with strong sightlines like the new Duraflex door, the Imagine and the Aspect, provide an alternative option.”

Despite its recent PVC-U additions, Mines goes to lengths to emphasise that the door specialist remains committed to manufacturing a range of products.

To this end, it launched the Ultimate Evolution aluminium adjustable jamb bi-fold system at the end of the summer alongside its established ALUK offer. PAS24:2012 and Part Q approved, the Ultimate Evolution features strong sightlines even by the standards of aluminium systems and a highly innovative adjustable jamb option.

“The Ultimate Evolution sits within our over-arching strategy to offer our customers access to the UK’s widest range of inline sliding and bi-folding doors from a single source supplier”, says Mines.

“We have brought a couple of new PVC-U systems on board already, and there are further announcements on our aluminium offer coming down the line. We’re covering all bases.”

He concludes: “That has to be the key. Aluminium is going to continue to sell but there are also some interesting opportunities on the horizon for aluminium systems, particularly in retail but also increasingly in new build.

“The point is that the market for bi-fold doors is going to grow. We are working to position ourselves but also more importantly our customers to maximise the opportunities that this delivers. “

 

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

 

Grounded growth

By | Analysis | No Comments

Sliders UK added Duraflex’s new bi-folding door to its rapidly expanding range last month.

Sliders UK’s exponential expansion of its product offering has continued at pace. With three new product launches already under its belt this year alone, the door specialist added a fourth – Duraflex’s new bi-fold door to its offer this autumn.

“If you’re manufacturing a wide range of products, windows, doors, roofline – you perhaps don’t need quite the same level of investment but when you’re a specialist, it’s absolutely critical that you remain at the leading edge of technology and service”, says Steve Mines, Sales and Marketing Director Sliders UK.

“That’s what’s driven our investment. We see our growth coming from that of our customers, so if we identify an opportunity which we believe will give them a little more reach or a new platform in what remains a competitive market, we’re committed to pursuing it.”

This is a key point. Mines lays emphasis on the fact that Sliders UK’s market development strategy is built around the growth of its existing customer base, not necessarily the acquisition of new business.

“Don’t get me wrong – if the right customers come along we’d be delighted to work with them but as a business we’re now relatively mature, we have a good customer base and a good order book.

“We’re much more focused on growing our market through our existing customers. That drives a definite shift in thinking. As a business it’s made us look at the fundamental customer benefit of what we do, what determines – and still limits – our growth and that of our customers.”

Sliders UK’s development of its bi-folding door range and the addition of the new Duraflex bi-fold is a case in point. Although it has an established pedigree as a manufacturer of aluminium systems, it has also built a portfolio of PVC-U bi-folds.

“There are a couple of factors that have driven our thinking”, continues Mines. “The first is that when we started out, PVC-U bi-fold doors in general, couldn’t manufacture the aesthetics and architectural merit of aluminium systems.

“New generation PVC-U bi-folds have now changed and offer a far higher level of performance. The Aspect from Eurocell, the Imagine from Veka – both of which we already fabricate – and now Duraflex’s new offering, give aluminium systems a run for their money.

“And this really is the second point. If you’re looking at the limits on bi-fold market growth, it’s product affordability not end-user aspiration, which puts a ceiling on market potential – PVC-U bi-folds lift it.”

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.

PAS24:2012 and Part Q compliant, the new Duraflex bi-fold is fully integrated with the systems company’s Diamond suite, featuring bevelled 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.

“Sightlines on the Duraflex door are great – it’s such a transformation from where PVC-U bi-fold doors were”, continues Mines.

“Thermal performance over aluminium systems is another major advantager. At 1.1Wm2/K, in common with the Eurocell Aspect and Veka Imagine, the Duraflex bi-fold delivers a level of performance out of reach of aluminium systems.

“The aesthetics and high end architectural quality delivered by aluminium systems mean that they are always going to be an important part of your portfolio as an installer but new generation PVC-U products give a different area of reach.”

So what of forecasts for the bi-fold sector? Well although fortunes for the window industry as a whole may be mixed, it remains tipped for continuing growth.

Published in October, Palmer’s new market research report, The Window, Door and Conservatory Markets in Housing in Great Britain, argues that it will see growth on current figures of 44 per cent through to 2020 and although still dominated by aluminium, PVC-U will see growing volume.

In addition to last month’s launch of the Duraflex bi-fold, Sliders UK had already significantly expanded its PVC-U product offer. This includes the launch of the Premiline Pro inline Sliding Door from Kömmerling, with its PAS24:2012 Part Q and Part M, accredited patented interlock shootbolt system in January.

Sliders UK then brought the Imagine from Veka – on board in the early summer and its new Ultimate Evolution aluminium fully adjustable jamb system at the start of the autumn.

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 .

“We have added products which we see as adding opportunities for the installer. The PremiLine Pro is a very strong sliding door proposition, particularly in the commercial sector” says Mines.

“The Veka Imagine and Duraflex Bi-fold, each offer something slightly different and with the Ultimate Aspect give us and our customers reach into a wider bi-fold door market. The Ultimate Evolution compliments our ALUK offer.

“For us it’s been about covering the market from a single point of supply. Our customers aren’t tied into systems but can also access a wide spectrum of products from a single point of supply.”

In addition to the expansion of its range, the door specialist is also in the process of delivering a 10,000 sq ft addition to its six-acre state of the art manufacturing centre.

“This year has been about laying down the foundations – literally but also in terms of our product portfolio for growth, ours but also that of our customers by adding to our range and investing in our infrastructure. It comes down to that same basic analysis of customer benefit – what can we do to support their success because that’s what delivers our growth?”, concludes Mines.

 

For more information contact sales@sliders-uk.com

Analysis: aluminium bi-fold doors

By | Analysis | No Comments

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

The importance of ‘Q’

By | Analysis | No Comments

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

 

Analysis – UK market prospects

By | Analysis | No Comments

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’

By | Analysis | No Comments

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

‘Origin of Species’

By | Analysis | No Comments

The Ultimate Evolution from Sliders UK, represents a shift in thinking in bi-fold door design as a system built from the inside out.

Darwin wrote in the Origin of Species that it was ‘not the strongest of species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change’. In a period defined by the economic and political turmoil of the Brexit era, the words published by naturalist more than 150 years before have something of a haunting poignancy for business.

“I don’t believe things are disastrous but to suggest things haven’t changed since June’s referendum would be naïve. Things are tougher and are going to be tougher and it’s the businesses which adapt to that change, which will continue to grow”, says Steve Mines, Sales and Marketing Director, Sliders UK.

Sliders UK has been going through a period of significant growth. It reported that it was 30 per cent up year on year Q1 2016 – something which has gone hand-in-hand with product development and for a large part, it’s aluminium portfolio.

The launch of the Veka Imagine as a second PVC-U bi-fold system in addition to its established Eurocell Ultimate Aspect PVC-U offer, was immediately followed by that of PremiLine PRO inline sliding door from Kömmerling in the Spring.

But while reporting continuing demand for its PVC-U ranges, its aluminium which has been the engine house of Sliders UK’s expansion – this included a 225 per cent jump in aluminium bi-fold door sales last year.

There continues to be a definite shift towards aluminium among fabricators and installers, driven, by the ‘Grand Designs effect’. Pre-Brexit referendum forecasts identifying the end user appeal of aluminum with its slim sightlines as s a key driver of overall market growth of around five per cent.

“Brexit has probably been less of an influence on our thinking than consumer and market trends before the referendum”, continues Mines. “The ceiling on aluminium has always been end-user affordability. It has appeal but for a strata of the market there is a potential affordability gap.

“PVC-U systems pick up some of this but we believe that there are other significant areas of opportunity and by offering our customers an alternative aluminium system, we can help them to access them.”

Sliders UK has now followed the launches of its two new PVC-U its two earlier product launches with the launch of the Ultimate Evolution. A second aluminium bi-fold door system to its existing ALUK range, it  gives Sliders UK one of, if not the, industry’s largest bi-fold door offers.

“We have seen growth across our portfolio”, continues Mines. “We have seen a real coming of age of the PVC-U bifold systems that we carry, the Veka Imagine and Ultimate Aspect from Eurocell, which have both been drivers of growth and with slim sightlines, are really strong products.

“But it’s probably aluminium which has underpinned our longer term growth. We have seen sustained demand for the ALUK bi-fold, which again, is a really well-consider and well-designed product.

“The Ultimate Evolution compliments that core offer. It’s technically very advanced – there are some great hardware innovations.  But it’s also that little bit more affordable, which opens up a new sector of the market.

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.

“Time is money. It’s not just the installation efficiencies at the time the door is fitted that count but in making it easier to fit it square, it’s also the potential time saved in call backs”, adds mines.

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 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.

“Given the changes that we’re seeing in the market you really do need to be able to offer end users choice and in reality, a lot of that is going to be based on pressures or otherwise on household income”, says Mines

He concludes: “There is no question about the end-user appeal of aluminium, it comes down to price-point.

“We offer some really good high-end PVC-U systems but the addition of the Ultimate Evolution as a technically advanced but high margin system, gives us and our customers the additional flexibility to sell into a different strata of the market where we believe that their competitors can’t.”

 

For more information contact sales@sliders-uk.com

Are you making these common bi-folding door installation mistakes

By | Analysis | No Comments

They’re a major growth area but bi-folding door installation can be full of pitfalls for the unwary.

“Most of the time the problems tend to come up where the door has been sold on to a third-party either a builder or someone fitting the doors themselves”, says Barry Pease, Regional Technical Manager, Sliders UK. “Installers are generally pretty good”, he continues, “the benefit to them is that the support is there if and when or even before they need it.”

Bi-folding doors have been a massive growth area for the window and door industry. According to the latest market report from D&G Consulting, this growth topped 20 per cent in the last two years, with forecasts of 14 per cent growth this year and 12 and eight per cent respectively through to 2018.

“It’s difficult to overstate bi-fold appeal”, says Steve Mines, Sales Director, Sliders UK, “as a fabricator we have seen great growth on the back of our aluminium and PVC-U bi-fold ranges as have our customers.

“They’re in theory straight forward to fit but as we know sometimes theory and practice don’t always align so it’s useful for our customers to know the support is there if they need it and if it’s a manufacturing issue, we’ll put it right under warranty.”

Sliders UK launched its Technical Support Service last year. Team members include Regional Technical Managers Ian Bartam, Cliff Thomas, Barry Pease and Lee Handley [pictured], who tot-up well over 100 years of collective experience in window and door installation and manufacture.

In addition to the expertise that they bring to the role, each went through several weeks of extensive training in the factory before heading out onto the road, manufacturing Sliders UK’s full range of ALUK, Distinction, Duraflex, Eurocell, Kommerling and Veka, bi-fold, inline sliding and composite doors.

Fitting large bi-folding doors well takes expertise. We support our customers with an assisted-fit programme

Fitting large bi-folding doors well takes expertise. We support our customers with an assisted-fit programme

 

“All of us have been doing this for a long time, either manufacturing or fitting windows and doors”, says Lee Handley. He continues: “There’s the experience that you have from general window and door manufacture and fitting but in spending time fabricating doors from across the range, you get additional understanding.

“Each door will have slightly different characteristics and knowing what they are can make installation a lot easier.

“But it’s definitely bi-folds that we get most call-outs to.”

As part of its quality control process each bi-fold door supplied by Sliders UK goes through a full operational testing programme in a rig before supply. “The testing in the rig shows that the door does what it’s meant to do –  as long as it goes in square, it’s packed correctly, toed and heeled correctly, there shouldn’t be a problem”, says Barry.

“On the rare occasion that it’s a manufacturing fault, we’ll come out and fix it under warranty but problems tend to come up where it’s not been quite fitted right.”

 

Sliders UK ‘sinful six’ bifold installation errors:

  1. Not using enough or too many packers to level under the cill properly
  2. No hinge locking screws – make sure locking screws are in place before the glazing goes in!
  3. Lubrication – make sure anti-friction sprays are applied to rollers, hinges and gaskets after installation
  4. Not enough fixings/packers used in establishing fix to walls, leading to movement/out of square
  5. Toe & Heeling errors – always start at the bottom of the hinge side of the door, pack it square and then toe and heel to the opposite corner
  6. Cutting gaskets too short – allow additional length for expansion and contraction

 

Sliders UK’s bi-folding door range includes the Ultimate Aluminium Bi-folding Door and PVC-U systems, the Ultimate Aspect from Eurocell and Ultimate Imagine, from Veka, with Duraflex’s new offering following soon. “It’s not about aluminium being better than PVC-U to fit or the other way around” says Barry. “It’s about the tolerances and the size of the door.”

He argues that this is more of a challenge in aluminium installations, purely because they tend to be specified for larger openings. the Ultimate Aluminium bi-fold door – the UK’s first Secured by Design accredited aluminium bifold door – for example is available in two to seven panel configurations, with inward or outward opening and traffic door options.

But capable of spanning distances of up to 6000mm by 3000mm in height, it delivers critical extra distance and importantly greater structural integrity and flexibility, where larger weights and spans are part of the requirement. This, however, creates potential pitfalls.

With four Regional Technical Managers on the road, Sliders UK offers an unparalleled technical support service

With four Regional Technical Managers on the road, Sliders UK offers an unparalleled technical support service

“If you’re just a mm out along the length of a six panel door, you’re significantly out by the end of it and if you’re not square it’s going to be a problem”, says Barry.

He suggests that one of the biggest challenges that the industry faces is, in common with other areas of the construction, the skills set. “You get subbies on jobs, they aren’t always confident or competent to do the job because they haven’t had the training.

“They may only last a few months, get the the push and move onto the next job so don’t get the time to develop and end up repeating the same mistakes elsewhere.”

This is in part something that Sliders UK is attempting to address through its assisted fit programme. The specialist fabricator’s technical team will go out with fitting teams, the first time they carry-out a new product installation, taking them through product characteristics and fast-tracking learning.

“It accelerates the process”, says Steve. “Fit a product a couple of times and you know it but when you start out for the first time, there’s a learning curve for anyone. This speeds up the process and avoids the costs associated with call backs.

“A lot of our customers see real value in it because time in call-backs can quickly make a job unprofitable. But they also see value in having that technical support there in general at the end of the phone or out on site, when and if it’s required”, he concludes.

 

To find out more please  email sales@sliders-uk.com or call 01772 698222.

 

 

Equity

By | Analysis | No Comments

 

Steve Mines, National Sales Director Sliders UK explains why sustained but slower growth in the housing market is good news for installers.

According to the latest data from the Finance & Leasing Association, so-called ‘second charge mortgage lending’ is galloping ahead and has leapt to its highest level since 2008. During the year to 29 February, £887m of second mortgages were taken out by homeowners.

That’s 36 per cent up on the year to February 2015, and more than three times the £293m of second mortgages in 2011-12. So why are homeowners borrowing more and what does it mean for the UK window industry?

“There are a number of factors that have come together”, says Steve Mines, Sales Director, Sliders UK. “House prices are going up, there isn’t a huge amount of movement in the market because we haven’t built enough new homes.

“At the same time and despite concerns about the ‘Brexit’ consumer confidence is high. Those people who either can’t find their next home or afford the ‘leap’ to it because of house price inflation are tapping in to the equity that that delivers to fund home improvements.

“In addition to this there are a generation of products that are coming to the end of their lifetime and collectively, this alongside the trends highlighted, are generating some real areas of opportunity.”

This view is consistent with the forecasts of market analysts. According to market research by D&G, more than 1.8 million PVC-U patio doors have been made and fitted in the UK since 1980. The authors of the Window Industry Market Research Report, add “additionally there are many produced in aluminium that could be ready for replacement as the economy recovers”.

The replacement of early generation PVC-U conservatories, which frequently used PVC-U patios as both entrance doors but also room dividers, extends the reach of the potential market for second time replacement inline sliding patio doors and bi-folding doors still further.

Mines continues: “Bi-folding doors clearly have masses of end user appeal. I don’t want to overplay the whole ‘Grand Designs-effect’ but if Channel 4 have done one thing for the window and door industry, its putting the bi-fold door on the homeowner’s radar.

“And that’s something, which we see reflected in our sales. We’ve seen a tremendous growth in our core aluminium bi-fold door offer but also new generation PVC-U systems, for example the Ultimate Aspect bifold door and the Veka Imagine.”

But while aluminium and PVC-U systems are seeing significant growth, Mines argues that this has not been to the exclusion of inline sliding systems.

Available in up to six panel combinations, Sliders UK’s three chamber Ultimate Aluminium Inline Sliding Door is manufactured in the ALUK system. Configurable to a multiple combination of fixed lights and sliding doors, on single, double or triple tracks, the door specialist also offers an easy to use straight slide or ‘lift and slide’ specification.

“Slimmer and sleeker sightlines, plus significant innovations in security, coupled with the highest levels of thermal efficiency and low maintenance, mean that a new generation of PVC-U patio doors is generating end user appeal”, argues Mines.

The Kömmerling PremiLine PRO, which was launched by Sliders UK in January this year, sits firmly within this camp.

It’s USP is a PAS24:2012 and Secured by Design accredited high security locking mechanism operated through patented interlock shootbolt system. This means that in addition to strong aesthetics it gives Sliders UK customers extended reach – as a Part Q but also Part M – accredited door.

The PremiLine PRO delivers enhanced security without the use of interlocking bolts or exterior security measures, leaving sightlines uninterrupted.

The PremiLine PRO delivers enhanced security without the use of interlocking bolts or exterior security measures, leaving sightlines uninterrupted.

 

The Kömmerling PremiLine PRO is offered by Sliders UK in 2, 3 or 4 panel openings. High quality stainless steel tracks guarantee the maximum possible service life and smooth running, while the clean sightlines of the 70mm outer frame are further enhanced through a wide choice of colours and low sightline black or grey gaskets.

According to D&G total patio door sales of patio doors as a whole grew by an estimated seven per cent to 55,000 in 2014, with further growth predicted last year.

Still enjoying sustained appeal in new build, as a space saving but also comparatively low-cost product, Mines suggest the deficit in the building of new homes should also provide an additional stream of growth through to 2018.

“Even before the new build housing sector fell off a cliff in 2008, the rate of construction of new homes was falling far behind the Government’s own target to build 240,000 new homes per year at an average of 100,000”, says Mines.

“Things are picking up but there’s still a long way to go before we catch up on demand as a nation for new homes. Until we do movement in the housing market is going to be more modest.

“At a time with low mortgage finance and high equity, plus the the majority of the 1.8million early PVC-U doors fitted since 1980 still in use, the second time replacement market that has potential to deliver exceptional growth.”

 

To find out more  email sales@sliders-uk.com  or call 01772 698222.

 

Bi-fold door supply ‘re-Imagined’

By | Analysis | No Comments

Sliders UK added the Veka Imagine to its bi-folding door range last month, part of a strategy to become ‘the go to’ single source door supplier.

Sliders UK has expanded its product offer significantly in the first half of this year. Adding the Premiline Pro inline Sliding Door from Kömmerling, with its PAS24:2012 Part Q and Part M, accredited patented interlock shootbolt system in January, it has now brought a second PVC-U bifold system – the Imagine from Veka – on board.

This is alongside aluminium offers from ALUK, the Eurocell Ultimate Aspect bi-folding door, plus longstanding offers from Duraflex and its recently relaunched composite door range.

“We believe that there are lots of benefits to single source supply of doors”, says Steve Mines, Sales Director, Sliders UK. He continues: “That extends to installers but also other fabricators who might not be doing the volume on sliding and bi-folding doors to justify a dedicated line.

“It’s about offering choice – working with the systems and products that maximize market opportunities for installers and which are also good to fit. The Imagine bi-folding door sits very much within this strategy.”

The fully suited Veka Imagine system (the Ultimate Imagine bi-folding door in its Sliders UK form) is available in 19 different panel configurations to a maximum of seven sashes, closing apertures of up to 6000mm wide and up to 2400mm height. The maximum sash width is 1000mm, while doors can be set to open inward or outward.

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.

“These are important features in a fairly competitive market place”, continues Mines, “you have to be able to deliver on security and energy efficiency and this door does both and more.

“But for me, the other key benefit it delivers are the aesthetics. It’s a very good looking system and that’s something, which puts distance between it and the PVC-U bi-folds that came before it.”

This, in common with the wider gargantuan leap in PVC-U aesthetics, is in part down to finish – the system comes in a choice of 18 foiled options. But in its availability in a choice of bevelled or sculptured sashes and beads, the 70mm Ultimate Imagine also delivers significant flexibility to match to multiple systems and properties.

Hinges are also fully adjustable and again come in a choice of white or black, while adjustable locks shootbolts and bi-directional hook locks, also provide additional security and compression.

 

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 .

 

Ultimate Imagine:

  • Slimline 70mm energy efficient PVC-U system
  • 19 different panel configurations to a maximum of seven sashes
  • Can span up to 6000mm wide and up to 2400mm height. The maximum sash width is 1000mm
  • Available in 18 foiled finishes
  • Choice of beveled or sculptured sashes and beads.
  • Doors can be set to open inward or outward
  • Custom designed hardware from ERA
  • PAS24:2012 accredited with SBD option
  • U-values as low as 0.94W/m2k and an indicative DSER rating of A+13 *indicative testing by Veka

 

This focus on performance and aesthetics is also evident in the Ultimate Aspect bi-fold door. Manufactured in a two to seven panel configuration and with multi-point locking, anti-jemmy pins, SBD and PAS24, low threshold options its USP is that 90 per cent of the glazed screen can be opened – that’s on a PVC-U bi-fold door.

Mines argues that this is reflective of a wider ‘evolution’. He says: “If you look at what’s happening in the market there’s been a real evolution of PVC-U bi-fold offers and the Ultimate Aspect and Ultimate Imagine epitomize that.”

This is born out in industry research. According to D&G Consulting, the window industry may have so far underestimated the market potential of PVC-U as a material for bi-fold manufacture.

The authors of the UK Annual PVC Window Door & Conservatory Industry Market Report, predict that bi-fold door sales will top 30,000 per year by the end of 2016 and 40,000 per year by 2018 – with PVC-U bifolds accounting for 39 per cent of total volume.

Mines continues: “We obviously manufacture aluminium and PVC-U systems and both have a place in the market in part defined by preference and in part by affordability.

“Certainly new generation PVC-U bi-folding and for that matter inline sliding doors, increase the competitiveness of PVC-U systems with far better performance and improved sightlines.”

He concludes: ‘What we offer is an opportunity for installers and fabricators to hedge their bets.  As installers, they can fulfil orders regardless of end-user preference. As fabricators buying-in, they get similar flexibility without disrupting core activity or tying up or risking capital in dedicated lines.

‘But what is unquestionably exciting is the new generation of products now coming on line and the opportunities that they are creating, particularly in the second time replacement market.”

For more information contact sales@sliders-uk.com