Opportunities generated

Bohle tells Glass Times how Skyforce, its new Juliet balcony, is creating new revenue streams and pull through of core product for glass processors.

Bohle launched Skyforce, its fall protection for French balconies, earlier this year. Its USP, according to Bohle, is its flexibility for use in on-site installation, fixed direct to brick work or masonry, or pre-fabricated as part of door manufacture.

This is something that Bohle argues creates a new market opportunity for glass processors, plus pull-through of core product.

“Skyforce has been designed to simplify French balcony installation with rapid on-site surface mounting, “Dave Broxton, managing director of Bohle, said. “It can also, however, be pre-fabricated as part of door manufacture.

“We’re already seeing that generate opportunities for window and door fabricators who are offering Skyforce as part of an added-value sell to their own customer base.

“This means that glass processors get two bites of the cherry: supply into the fabrication sector but also direct to the end-user and developer at higher margin. Either way delivers opportunity and pull-though of core product and higher value laminates.”

Since Skyforce doesn’t use a top-rail system, it offers an uninterrupted view. To achieve the minimum horizontal line load of 0.74kN/m required for residential applications, you need to specify higher margin laminate glass.

“If you’re taking on installation work, you own the entire process and can add-value and each stage from processing through to the fit, maximising margin,” Dave said. “Even if you don’t, there’s still a great opportunity to supply into retail indirectly through fabrication and installation markets.

“The use of glass in residential applications is on trend. Skyforce maximises opportunities across markets, delivering that all important pull through of higher margin product.”

Tested to General Building Inspection Test ABP and BS6180, SkyForce accommodates single glass width of up to 3,000mm using one complete two-part aluminium fixing and glazing system.

It’s supplied by Bohle in three pre-assembled profile sets for glass heights of 900mm, 1,000mm and 1,100mm. These can accommodate multiple glass thicknesses from 12mm to 21.52mm, depending on the rubber glazing set selected.

Where being installed directly into the wall substrate, specialist fixings are available for masonry, concrete and stone.

There are also specialist fixings for use with aluminium, wood and PVCU French doors, dependent on the type of reinforcement used in door construction.

“While there’s the opportunity to access the market indirectly, the argument for going direct is compelling,” Dave said. “Installation on site is simple. Other than working at height, and as long as brick work and masonry are in a good state of repair, there’s very little drilling involved and absolutely no drilling or on site preparation of glass required.

“You measure and fix the profiles, offer up the glass, apply gaskets, facias and concealing clips and the job is done. Installation can be completed in 30 minutes or less.”

SkyForce is available from Bohle in anodised aluminium, anthracite grey and mill-finished options.

“If you look at the direction of travel of the UK housing market, the opportunities are clear,” Dave said. “There’s pressure on house prices, people can’t afford to move, and they are converting roof spaces, adding annexes and extensions.

“That’s generating demand in home improvement, while new build is increasingly higher rise and higher density, with developments increasingly defined by the specification of French door balconies.

“That is a lot of potential demand for glass and very positively higher margin laminate, regardless of whether you’re going to market direct or indirectly.”


Five easy steps

1          Profile is pre-applied or drilled and fixed on site to a suitable French door frame or masonry using suitable fixing anchors.

2          Glass is offered up to and sat on base of profile/frame.

3          Aluminium fascia clips and slides into place to conceal fixings and secure glass.

4          Gasket applied using glazing tool.

5          End/weather sealing caps applied to the top of each profile.