2024: The year to go upmarket (If only we had triple glazing)
By Danny Williams, managing director, Pioneer Trading
During the intensive brain-storming and editorial planning meetings that always precede the research and production of every Rear Window column (!), for this issue editor Luke asked me to give my crystal balls a polish and, quite simply, predict the future. Not too much of a task, he said, just 2024…
Playing safe to begin with I can predict that there will not be a FIT Show. I needed to check this as, in the best traditions of this otherwise sterling event, the dates, or to be precise, the frequency, have been all over the place in recent years.
The next, I am assured by the organisers, will be held in 2025, reverting to its biennial format. And following my cautious opening gambit, I can predict that, unless the world meets a sticky end, I will once again be there exhibiting my Gerda engineered entrance doors.
As FIT Show will revert to its ‘odd year’ format, Fensterbau looms large on the horizon. And I intend to be there. The event suffered badly throughout Covid, becoming a shell of its former size as so many of the big German brands pulled out.
Now it’s back and I can confidently predict that a new super strain of Covid notwithstanding, we can look forward to a revived show.
There, now where next….?
As I tap away, the Future Homes consultation document has just been published. And without having the time to study the document personally, I am advised that the much-anticipated improvement in the U values for windows and doors for new homes has not happened. There is no change from current values.
Which means that the one hope that triple glazing had of becoming a serious proposition for window manufacturers in the UK has been dashed.
For without the compulsion of regulation, we will keep churning out double simply because it’s easy to do nothing.
If I had my way, we would not manufacture or sell another double glazed window. I have triple throughout my home and the benefits are far more tangible that any U value might suggest in terms of warmth and comfort but especially in terms of shutting out the noise from the main road that runs a hundred feet or so from my front door.
I have manufactured and installed thousands of triple glazed windows now and the arguments about weight, transport and installation are fatuous. Triple is better for our industry and also for our customers.
So, with that out of the way, my shiny balls tell me that actually the main hope for doing any more than keeping our heads above water, will rely upon appealing to punters that remain unaffected by what will be a continuing assault on homeowners’ budgets, with those at the lower end of the income spectrum being unwilling or unable to find any spare readies for new windows and doors.
The pressures that did for Safestyle and UKWDG will continue and actually, worsen for 2024, leading me to the conclusion that improved, added value products at least – such as triple glazing, for example – are the best way to wrench the readies from people that already have the money, not those that need to borrow to improve their homes.
The further upmarket we can go, the better the chance of making money through what will be, in my humble opinion, a tough old year.