Protect, defend and promote

CAB CEO Justin Ratcliffe looks at recent activities in the association’s 25th anniversary year, highlighting membership growth, a successful Glazing Summit, and how the association continues to protect, defend and promote its members.

Jade Greenhow, operations director at Insight Data, revealed some intriguing data at the Glazing Summit 2019, including a near 9% increase in aluminium fabricators from 2017 to 2019. Given the increases in membership CAB is experiencing (see below), and the strategic moves many traditional PVCU companies have made into the near 100% recyclable material, it was perhaps an unsurprising statistic.

The figures are also backed up by the latest Q3 State of Market Survey results showing 43% net balance of CAB members forecast growth in Q4, and 57% net balance see growth in the year ahead. In Q3, a sizeable 50% of members saw sales volumes up by more than 5% on Q2.

Jade also highlighted a 26% increase in the number of aluminium fabricators offering sliding doors in the same period and spoke about the trend towards premium entrance doors. The total number of installers has actually dropped away very slightly from 13,281 in 2017 to 12,930 in 2019.

The summary messages were that more builders than ever are competing with installers, and that the rate of change within the industry is the highest ever with consolidation throughout the supply chain.

CAB was proud to be an event sponsor and exhibitor at the Glazing Summit 2019 and, overall, it demonstrated yet again how it has become a natural annual meeting point for the sector and was as vibrant and engaging as ever with an excellent choice of venue.

Echoing the positive vibes emanating from the Glazing Summit, CAB has seen one of its highest level of approved new membership in its 25th anniversary year. To date, we are delighted to have been joined by 25 new members across the aluminium in building supply chain: 3D Aluminium; Acorn Aluminium; Allied Glazing Systems; AOV (UK); Azon (UK); BSI Assurance UK; Contrasol; EP Consultants; Epwin Window Systems; Fentrade; Glasshus Facades; Hoppe (UK); Kestrel Aluminium Systems; LP Window Controls; MBE Glazing Systems; OnLevel; Presstek; Promac; Prosale Automatic Doors; Safeguard Glazing Supplies; Soft Tech (England); The Design Solutions Business; The Rooflight Company; United Anodisers; and Window Ware

However, our focus has always been more on protecting, defending and promoting our members and ensuring added value for membership. We are continuing to develop our member programme and focus on listening to the membership. As a result, in 2020 we will extend the number of added value events and services included in the membership fee, or at a very nominal cost.

Aluminium is an infinitely recyclable material that is an important part of the circular economy. A recent workshop (September 5, held in collaboration with Alfed) explored how the circular economy was implemented in practice and featured some of the latest developments in the supply chain.

It looked at the recycling of 6000 series alloys in the construction sector and highlighted our pilot closed-loop recycling scheme to promote the sustainability credentials of its members, as well as learn more about the A|U|F aluminium recycling scheme for windows, doors and curtain walling that has been running in Germany since 2010.

The presentations from this well supported free event run at the Telford Campus, University of Wolverhampton can now be found from a link on the home page of our website.

Key Themes in 2019 for CAB and its membership have been Closed Loop Recycling (pilot scheme) and developing a CAB Aluminium Curtain Wall Installer training programme (CSCS) in addition to general fabricator/installer training days that will lead to CAB Skills Cards. The programmes, which are due to rolled out in early to mid-2020, have one key aim: to improve competency and drive higher standards throughout the sector.

The need to update members about changes in standards, regulations and best practise has never been more relevant and CAB’s bi-monthly Insight technical newsletter is very often an agenda item for internal member company meetings due to its robust coverage of content pertinent to members across the aluminium in building supply chain. Crucially, members get the opportunity to input into standards updates which form an important part of the association’s coordinated response.

CAB’s events and marketing activities have continued to develop in 2019 with a new domestic website launched in the middle of the year ( It is vital for any trade body to be visible and accessible for its existing members to be able to meet with. CAB has had a key presence at major industry events this year including the CAB Lounge and Pavilion at the FIT Show 2019 (May), and event partner/exhibitor at The Glazing Summit (September).

Regional meetings have been held in Warwick Castle (March) and the Imperial War Museum North, Manchester (24 October) engaging with members on topical issues in captivating surroundings to encourage networking.

The CAB regional members’ meeting on October 24 2019 at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester kicked off the autumn programme and included a short seminar on collateral warranties presented by Geraldine Fleming, operations director, Driver Trett. The main mini conference element saw members of the CAB Training Committee and GQA Qualifications presenting some of the new course content for the CAB Aluminium Curtain Walling Installers course (CSCS) and a Q&A session on industry training.

Geraldine also present a contracts seminar in Birmingham entitled ‘We’ve done the work – now how do we get paid’. Content for the day included: The importance of the contract and contract documentation; Applications for payments, discount and retention; Variations; Daywork; Final account; Pay when paid (and its newer forms); Claims/loss and expense; Remedies for non-payment, including interest, suspension, and your options.

The seminar series, which remains one of the most popular elements of the CAB annual programme, is all about defending members’ positions and enabling them to better protect themselves. Geraldine does this through a mixture of up-to-the-minute case studies and scenario building drawing on her wide experience with Balfour Beatty and as a trained lawyer and QS. A full programme for 2020 will be announced shortly.

An essential marketing workshop day in Birmingham on November 11 – Social Media and Web Analytics – welcomes two experts in their field.

Firstly, David Glenwright, head of training, JC Social Media, will consider ‘Posting with intent – building an effective social media strategy’. From coming up with engaging and relevant content, to using search tools to identify and reach out to specific prospects and opportunities, David will leave attendees with the skills, knowledge and confidence to both grow and demonstrate the effectiveness of their social media presence.

In the afternoon Pritesh Patel, freelance digital marketing consultant, will look at ‘Website performance and measuring what matters’. In this hands on session Pritesh will consider how marketers and directors can use website data to help them understand which part of their marketing efforts are working and which part is not.

CAB will soon be launching its full 2020 programme, which will include new events and activities to create an even stronger set of member value propositions. In times of uncertainty especially, every membership pound must work even harder but the message remains the same as always: that our sector supply chain companies are stronger together in CAB.