Dutemänn – at the Schärpe end

Martin James
Martin James

Glass Times editor, Luke Wood, talks to Dutemänn’s managing director, Martin James, about the launch of Schärpe, the company’s new, Future Homes Standard ready window suite.

When the updated requirements for Part L were introduced last year, it caught much of the industry napping,” says Martin James, managing director of Dutemänn.

“A big part of that was due to the chaos of the pandemic. Demand was incredibly high and that was combined with other challenges such as material supply. Even some of the systems companies were suddenly scrambling to find solutions to meet the stricter U values.

“We made sure that our portfolio was compliant of course, and in fact our Haus entrance door, which was launched way back at the first FIT Show over 10 years ago, was still ahead of the updated Part L regs, but for many of our customers, the changes for 2022 were not the problem – they were already looking to 2025 and were asking us if we had products that were suitable for the new Future Homes Standard.”

For Martin, this was the catalyst to invest resources into developing a complete aluminium solution that would enable customers to make the most of the anticipated changes for 2025.

In the first instance, he explains, this will mean the launch of a brand suite of aluminium windows, called Schärpe, that will consist of a flush casement, total reversible and tilt and turn options, built around a 90mm system and triple glazing in order to deliver on the expected U values of 0.8.

Further down the line, it will also include an overhaul of Dutemänn’s existing range of bi-fold, sliding and entrance door range, giving the company a complete, ‘whole house’ package of Future Homes compliant, aluminium windows and doors.

“Looking ahead to 2025, there is no way to realistically achieve the levels of energy efficiency that will be required for the Future Homes Standard with 70mm systems and double glazing,” continues Martin.

“A move to deeper, 90mm systems and triple is the only way forward and that will bring some challenges for the industry, primarily with additional cost and weight, as well as hardware, but ultimately, it’s something that, as an industry, we are just going to have to get used to,” he adds.  “The targets for lower emissions, set by Government, are in place and as part of the construction sector we have an obligation to do everything we can to meet them.”

And while it is widely anticipated that the Future Homes Standard will only apply to the new build sector initially, Martin expects that it is only a matter of time before the stricter U values trickle down into the residential market.

He also points out that while the new regulations are not expected to be applied for another two years, there is already a growing demand for more energy efficient products.

“Since the end of the pandemic boom, we continue to enjoy a strong order intake and that’s due to the resilience at the premium end of the market as well as a housing market that’s encouraging people to create more space at home due to the cost of moving.

“Then there’s the cost of living, with homeowners now prepared to invest for the long term in better performing windows and doors. I also see a lot of potential north of the border, in Scotland, for high performance products, especially for reversible and tilt and turn windows.

“Energy efficiency is a big driver for sales and it’s only going to increase, and with the introduction of our new Schärpe window range, and the planned developments to our bi-fold, sliding and entrance doors, our customers will be very well placed to take advantage of that.

“Schärpe will be available very soon,” Martin concludes. “We’re currently working on final in-house testing, we have a new production director in place and we are pushing forward for an official launch. If you’re looking for an exceptionally high quality, Future Homes ready product offer, then feel free to get in touch…”