Re-engineering an outdoor life

The launch of Verandah at the FIT Show caused quite a stir and subsequently enquiries have surpassed expectations by some way, explains Chris Cooke, managing director of Prefix Systems.

When we looked to embrace our expertise and product development pedigree with Verandah, it was to a degree a calculated exercise. Sure we have always been associated with innovation in conservatory and more recently ‘warm’ roofs, but this has been an investment in a product that’s not necessarily an all-year round affair.

In the UK we’re obsessed with the weather and given the slightest chance we like to enjoy the world outside, light up the barbecue and share a few beers with friends and family. On days with the full benefit of sunshine this is all well and good, but what about those days when there’s a small amount of drizzle? Well, that’s when Verandah comes into its own.

Verandah is a comprehensive system solution, offering straight lean-to designs, along with splayed end bars and ‘L’ shapes around corners, among other design capabilities. It’s representative of the way in which we approach our development programmes, with each product engineered and carefully thought out to offer the widest possible range of options.

The days of Prefix Systems just labelled as a conservatory roof fabricator are now long gone; we’re also a design house now.

The Verandah product is a period-inspired haven from the elements or stripped down with a simple post and polycarbonate sheeting, a simple shelter or car port.

With the option of decorative feet and/or collar, along with ornate structural gallows brackets and unique black crackle finish, we’ve been true to the style and traditional heritage of the verandas that grace period-inspired houses and shopping boulevards throughout the UK.

The classic version of Verandah is a budget offering with 25mm polycarbonate, harnessing coloured Ultraframe glazing bars and a simple post. With several product upgrades, the traditional solution incorporates double glazed units, full aluminium glazing bars from the Quantal system and a number of decorative post options, making for a complete aluminium solution with a premium appearance.

Fitting times can be as little as four hours, with a pad foundation cast before the simple installation process and the use of a fixing plate hidden beneath ground level or to an existing patio, where there’s a suitable existing foundation.

There’s a built-in tolerance for post height levelling and fixing and, subject to size, the post and eaves beam can be delivered as one for even easier fitting.

The sales opportunities for all types of veranda are more considerable that one might expect, when building type and climate are considered. It can be easily installed on to front, side and rear elevations of any dwelling, including outbuildings, as this product is typically open on several sides and requires no direct access from the main building or property.

During spring, summer or autumn the opportunities for Verandah are considerable and with a premium feel it’s an addition that all consumers would be proud of. Awnings are all well and good as a shelter from the elements, as an alternative three-season solution, but also come with inherent problems and lack the permanence and distinct style of a veranda.

There are considerable sales opportunities for this outdoor living solution as we look as a nation to maximise our time outdoors across several seasons. We fully expect to see Verandah appearing on show sites as we generate further interest for the product and with installation times as little as half a day, it’s a product that’s as easy to fit as it is to inspire the consumer.