A redefined conservatory market

Sliders UK’s launch of its aluminium lantern roof represents a far greater product synergy than may first meet the eye, according to sales director Steve Mines.

The glass is either half full or half empty, depending on how ‘sunny’ your disposition but what it isn’t is dull. Since falling off a cliff-edge in 2012, the conservatory sector has gone through a period a soul searching to come out the other side with a new lease of life.

Volumes may be down but installed prices are up, which means the sector continues to offer rich pickings for those astute enough to navigate potential pitfalls and seize the opportunities as they flow downstream.

The market has shifted towards more substantial and more flexible installations. The opportunities for those who are moving with it, are significant. This includes a significant pull through of complimentary products including bifolds and aluminium windows.

According to Palmer, the total installed value of the UK conservatory market jumped by 9% to £1.05 billion at the last count – the highest level since 2009, while average installed prices also rose by 12%.

The report’s authors suggest that the conservatory market’s reinvention of itself since 2012, and the shift to orangery and hybrid conservatory installations, have been key to driving its recovery and the 12% jump seen in average installed prices.

It’s when you drill down into the detail that things become even more interesting, with 38% growth in orangery and orangery-hybrid installations. These deliver flexible spaces and play to end-user aspiration for family rooms.

The Ultimate Rooflite by Sliders UK is capable of spanning openings of up to 5.8m long by 4m wide, and has been designed to offer installers a flexible but competitive product.

It’s based on the BBA approved Ultraframe Classic roofing system and is suitable for installation as either part of a new build orangery or retro-fit to a flat-roof. Thermally broken, the Ultimate Rooflite achieves typical U-values of 1.4W/m2K, which should also make it popular with homeowners.

Glazing options include self-cleaning, solar control in blue or neutral tints. Colour and finish options include standard white PVCU or powder coated aluminium options in white, anthracite grey or satin black.

The markets we’re targeting with the Ultimate Rooflite mirror those growth areas. It’s a really good new build orangery solution but also it can also be retro-fitted and has reach into the flat roof replacement market.

We have been manufacturing Aluk aluminium bifolds for approaching a decade, while we launched a second aluminium system, the Ultimate Evolution, last year.

This features an adjustable jamb option which, fitted to both sides of the door, simplifies squaring by adjusting to accommodate imperfections in brickwork to ensure perfect fit and ultra-smooth operation – it means the ultimate Evolution can be fitted in as little as 45 minutes.

This is also something highlighted by Palmer; the trend towards higher value products reflects a broader shift across the window and door industry as a whole, including significant growth bifold door sales, up 9.3% in 2016 to 42,700 door sets.

We also added a new aluminium window into this mix, based on Aluk’s 70mm Optio system.

It accommodates double and triple-glazed insulated units of 24mm to 40mm, employing a polyamide thermal break design to achieve U-values as low as 1.2W/m2K. It’s also fully tested to PAS24 and is part Q compliant.

It was logical because of the customer demand that we have seen. We were supplying bifolds into extensions and our customers were being let down time and time again on window supply.

If you’re specifying an aluminium bifold, you’re going to want aluminium windows to match. We’re not talking big volumes – we’re simply focused on reliable supply.

It’s simply about delivering the right product quality and service as a single source supplier. The thread that connects them is our specialism in aluminium and how it fits in a redefined conservatory market.