Just the ticket for heritage

Jason Thompson, group managing director for the Glazerite UK Group, explores how the fabricator is helping installers take on the popular heritage market.

With nearly 10,000 conservation areas across England, and over 500 in Wales, a number of Glazerite’s customers are subject to stringent guidelines when it comes to window and door installations.

To protect regions of historical interest, conservation areas are subject to increased scrutiny from local authorities, and PVCU wasn’t even in the running as a replacement material for wood until relatively recently. Fortunately, times have changed, and with the advent of increasingly authentic-looking windows from the likes of the Residence Collection, Veka and Halo, more planners are giving homeowners the go ahead to use the material.

As a fabricator, giving our installer partners a choice of heritage styles on short lead times in a range of classic foils means they can better meet the needs of their own customers. The high quality and styling of R9, R7, Halo Flush Sash and Imagine Vertical Sliders is matched by the benefits of PVCU, from energy efficiency and durability to security, meaning homeowners don’t have to sacrifice authenticity to get the best material for their needs.

In response to the growing popularity of heritage, and the intricate detailing and craftmanship required, Glazerite first set up a specials division in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire in 2014, and later moved the division to a bigger, dedicated site in 2017. The site is around half a mile away from our HQ, and has a team of 24 dedicated employees.

Fabricating heritage styles is more manually intensive, and R9 in particular requires mechanical joints and glass bonding. Add to that intricate gearing and hanging techniques across the range, as well as applications like astragal bars, it was important to us as a fabricator that we dedicate a whole site to the production of heritage frames. The specials division is also home to specific machinery, like millers, and cutting and welding equipment adapted to these types of products.

One of the heritage installers we supply is Ecologic Windows, run by Fred Doodey. Ecologic covers Herefordshire, which has 64 conversation areas, and Worcestershire. The city of Worcester itself has 18 conservation areas alone, so Fred’s customers are often subject to strict planning rules. He has, however, seen a gradual relaxing in some conversation areas in favour of PVCU of late and, to meet the needs of these homeowners, he needs a fabricator that can offer a premium quality, and varied supply.

Ecologic regularly installs R9, R7, Halo Flush Sash and Imagine Vertical Sliders across a range of domestic properties.

Fred said: “Thanks to the likes of R9 and Halo, and the flexibility of Glazerite, we are able to install aesthetic windows, which impress both the customers and the planners. Styles like R9 mimic timber well, but one of the key benefits for the homeowner is they’re much more durable, and won’t rot like wood. As a material, PVCU is low maintenance too, and doesn’t need re-painting like timber.”

One of Fred’s most recent installations took place in a Worcestershire conservation area, on a Georgian coach house. Despite initial objections to the use of PVCU by local planners, the homeowners appealed and Fred has since carried out the installation of 18 R9 windows in Corse Lawn, as well as a Solidor stable-style door, taking the house on a journey to restore it to its former glory. Phase two of the installation is due to begin in July, dependent on the current government restrictions being lifted.

As heritage-look windows and doors become increasingly popular, Glazerite will continue to expand and flex our portfolio to ensure installer partners like Ecologic Windows have access to a range of styles to suit differing budgets. This year, we are launching the Timber Weld mechanical joint option on the Halo Flush Sash and R7, giving installers another option to tempt homeowners with.

Suppliers like the Residence Collection and Veka have worked hard to meet customer demand and appease local planners with the detailing and intricacy required on heritage styles. As well as having access to these profile systems, Glazerite also offers further traditional touches like run-through sash horns, deep bottom rails, and heritage-style hardware like the Pear Drop and Monkey Tail styles from Fab&Fix. This means installers can ensure every element of the install replicates the traditional look.

We’ve cut lead times on many of our foils for the Halo Flush Sash and Vertical Slider to just five days, and we can support our installer partners with a range of heritage marketing materials. This includes heritage-specific drop cards, brochures and banner stands, which can be used neutrally branded, or which an installer can brand as their own.

It’ll be interesting to see where the boom in heritage styles takes us next, but as a fabricator, it’s our aim to be at the forefront of that journey.