Time for a new trade association?

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell reports on a burgeoning desire among IGU manufacturers to have better representation, in a bid to raise the profile of glass units.

Yesterday, I took part in a roundtable discussion involving IGU manufacturers and their suppliers. The aim of the day was to examine the state of the market and consider ways that the profile of insulated glass units could be raised so that better margins could ultimately be achieved.

The general feeling around the table was that glass units were the forgotten element of windows, and that no-one was fighting their corner.

The conversation started out by exploring ways that the end user – be that commercial client or homeowner – could better understand the IGU’s value in the window’s performance, and therefore request units with specific characteristics. Currently, glass units are seen as nothing more than two pieces of glass stuck together, even among construction professionals.

The Building Regulations were also discussed, and it was widely felt that not enough had been done to represent the views of IGU manufacturers in the consultation period (which soon comes to an end). The fear was that the government would demand triple glazing in all new-build properties without fully understanding the implications further up the supply chain – ultimately leaving manufacturers worse off.

Slowly but surely, the feeling in the room was that IGU manufacturers would benefit from their own sector-specific trade association; an organisation that was created by and run for glass processors. This association would be tasked with the sole aim of raising the profile of glass units in windows, which would then lead to improved margins and, consequently, more investment in product design and development.

Listening to the conversation, such a development made perfect sense, and I have witnessed similar success stories in other industries. I’ll be covering the debate in detail in the March issue of Glass Times, and I imagine that now the discussion has started, we’ll hear much more about it.