Mastering the extension market

By Ultraframe.

In the last seven years Ultraframe has developed a range of new roof systems and components. Last month Glass Times reported the launch of the Ultrasky Flat Skylight adding to the Ultrasky Orangery, Roof and Lantern systems which are a popular choice for Ultraframe retailers looking for a minimalist aluminium solution.

This month Ultraframe launched Ultraroof All Tile, which is designed around the Ultraroof380 but is delivered on site without the finishing tile and other associated components, allowing the retailer to match the tile on the main property.

The home improvement economy has seen a five-fold increase in people improving their home rather than move, with homeowners turning to their local conservatory retailer for a ‘grand designs’ extension when previously they might have engaged the services of an architect, a structural engineer, a builder and many other associated trades.

Mike Parry, managing director at BellaVista, and Eric Knappett, managing director at Conserv-A-Tech, discuss the evolution of the conservatory industry.

“Right back to the launch of Loggia from Ultraframe in 2012 we’ve been absolutely committed to making the most of the innovations coming through and integrating their new roof systems and components into our designs,” Mike said. “One of the key turning points for us in terms of really taking share from the general builder was the development of the Ultrasky range where the emphasis is on aluminium combined with slim, elegant lines.

“We did a job with two Ultrasky Lanterns as soon as Ultraframe launched it. It was a kitchen extension with two huge lanterns flooding the back of the house with light, absolutely stunning. With the addition of the Flat Skylight into the Ultrasky range, that opens up endless design possibilities.

“But, if we take a step back. I think we need to recognise that today’s homeowner is designing their grand design in their head long before they reach out to firms like us. And part of that process is the hours spent online looking for inspiration and narrowing down their criteria.

“We’ve recently invested in our own website to make sure it’s bang up to date and delivering everything a customer wants: a quoting tool, virtual reality walk-throughs, inspiring photography, recent case studies and a clear call to action.

“Our online interface needs to work hard, yet, it’s the very best opportunity in today’s market to get in front of the customer at a time when they want to actively research their dream extension – any retailer that doesn’t invest in their online presence is basically closed for business.”

It was a Conserv-A-Tech installation that won Ultraframe’s Installation of the Month in June. The job was ‘rescued’ when the homeowner turned to Eric and his team having dismissed the services of a local architect.

“This job was a great example of the capability of our industry today,” Eric said. “The homeowner had a very specific concern surrounding the amount of light that would be lost by extending her living space to include an open-plan kitchen, and remarkably the architect wasn’t able to come up with a satisfactory solution.

“After turning to us, it became very quickly apparent that Ultraframe’s Livinroof was the perfect solution to give the homeowner the privacy of a solid roof, but enough light in all the right places to overcome the ‘light’ challenge.”

Ultraframe’s Alex Hewitt said: “There is definitely a shift in the appetite of consumers for more choice and input into their design. Our range of evolved systems, such as Livinroof together with the entire Ultrasky range will put our retail partners in a strong position to deliver against virtually any design brief in the home extension space.”