Reinforcing the message

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell looks at the latest industry debate, which concerns steel window reinforcement.

Last week, Glass Times published the news released by Anglo European that its steel window reinforcement had received a series of independent test approvals.

The story said: “Conducted by Build Check, testing found that reinforcement options from Anglo European matched requirements set by Rehau, Veka and Liniar, for reinforcement; weathertightness tests were fully compliant with BS6375-1:2015.

“Completed at the end of November, the series of independent assessments also found that both of the coating grades offered by Anglo, which include GZ275UK and GZ140EU, met reinforcement performance criteria set out by the three leading systems companies.”

Three systems companies – Deceuninck, Liniar and Veka – have since come forward to express dismay at the news.

Rob McGlennon, managing director of Deceuninck said: “We spend hundreds of thousands of pounds testing our products to make them safe and perform, to simply take a key component out and stick something cheap up it, is exactly what the legislature is going to recommend doesn’t happen.”

Published in this newsletter are two other responses: one from Liniar; and one from Veka.

Martin Thurley, group managing director of Liniar, said: “There are many reasons for the exact specification of the Liniar system, and it doesn’t just stop with third party testing of a single window or door. Every window system is subject to a mass of requirements from specifiers, fabricators, installers and consumers, from wind loading and thermal performance calculations to test results at maximum sizes for security and overall performance.

“When we see a company claiming that ‘the reinforcement we supply is equal to that supplied by systems companies, meeting and exceeding, all of the criteria performance that they’ve laid down’, we feel it’s time to lift the lid on the inaccuracy of this bold statement – which we regard as fake news.”

Veka UK’s MD Dave Jones said: “We invest a great deal of time and money in our product development and this includes our recommended reinforcements. Substitute steel suppliers often cannot supply all geometries required by all systems companies but by using a substitute, quality is most certainly compromised.

“If a product uses a component not recommended by Veka, we cannot apply our kitemarks and honour product warranties and guarantees. To put it quite simply, it’s not a Veka window unless it’s got our steel in it.”

Glass Times understands that there is some consternation from other systems companies, while others are choosing to stay away from the debate altogether.
In response to the points made Liniar and Veka, Paul Sullivan, Anglo European’s managing director, also issued a statement, where he said: “With more than 250 million metres of steel reinforcement supplied since we first went into business in 1989, without a single reported failure, the test results have, and are, reaffirming our confidence in the performance of our products.

“This is not about value-engineering but engineering-in value.

“We do this through the products we supply and the cut-to-size reinforcement service that underpins them; something that is saving our customers up to £200,000 a year in reduced labour and wastage.”

When I started working in this industry, the concern was that some window fabricators were leaving out the reinforcement altogether. The fact that the debate has shifted to the potential consequences of changing the window’s specification, in my opinion, reflects the growing professionalism within the industry, which is a positive development.