Factory fitted windows

Steve Hardy, managing director of Sidey Solutions, talks about the shortfall in the number of new homes being built and how fitting windows in the factory can save time and money.

On March 5, 2018, the prime minister announced changes to planning laws in her Building a Britain Fit for the Future speech to tackle the housing crisis.Theresa May talked about some of the issues faced by the UK including house prices out of kilter with wages and the lack of affordable housing. In response, she said the government is rewriting the rules on planning to help developers and local authorities build more properties to restore the dream of home ownership. She added that for decades the UK has failed to build enough of the right homes in the right places.

Planning permission has been granted for many development sites, but delays for various reasons means that a lot of homes haven’t been built. Reading, for example, where more than 2,500 homes with planning permission weren’t started, shows the extent of the problem. The Mrs May said there would be penalties for developers sitting on land where planning permission has already been granted.

The housing crisis means there is pressure to build good quality homes fast. Currently, most domestic buildings use traditional construction methods. One of the issues for the low number of dwellings that get completed is the well-documented shortage of skills and labour.

Looking at ways to speed up the building process has to be the top choice for any builder or developer. Offsite construction tackles these issues head on, it reduces the time spent on site and the level of skilled tradespeople needed. The government is backing offsite construction; at the end of 2017 it helped to broker the £2.5 billion deal with China National Building Material Company to build six offsite factories around the UK to deliver 25,000 homes a year by 2022.

At Sidey, we agree that offsite construction is the key to delivering the bigger number of new homes needed. While most offsite construction still relies on fixing windows and doors on site, we have a system to change this. For timber frame and SIPs panels manufacturers, the Sidey Kitfix System brings window and door installation into the factory environment. It cuts time spent on site and reduces the skill level needed to install them.

The Sidey Kitfix System means windows and doors can be fitted in the factory. Using the Kitfix brackets that are twist-fitted to the window or door frame, they are installed when the walls are horizontal during the production cycle. This makes achieving Building Regulations easier as much of the process is completed in a quality-controlled factory environment. Higher performance levels are often specified as thermal and acoustic seals can be added in the factory, and it’s easier to get air tightness. Time savings are impressive with the first fix taking just three minutes per window by semi-skilled labour.

The Sidey Kitfix System makes transportation simple and, once on site, the panels are erected as normal. This means homes are windproof, watertight and secure much sooner, and greatly reduces the overall time from the start of the build to when people can move in.

There’s also a reduction in transportation as the windows and doors arrive onsite fitted within the wall elevations. No extra storage is needed, and that means there are fewer opportunities for damage and breakages. It also reduces manual handling of windows and doors into individual plots. Costly scaffolding adjustments are eliminated too. Each one of these benefits gives time and cost savings to the builder or developer.

Factory fitted windows are a clever solution to tackle the issues in the housing crisis. Fixing windows into timber frames or SIPS panels with the Sidey Kitfix System means developers and builders can deliver new homes faster and more efficiently, and that means more can be built.