Why can’t I rely on aluminium like PVCU?

Pioneer’s Danny Willliams answers your questions. This month: “I am getting more and more interest from my retail customers for aluminium windows. However, I have bought aluminium frames from three fabricators now and there have been delays and problems with all of them. They have all blamed their suppliers but I have a sensitive nose for BS. Can you recommend anything? PJ Lancashire.

I would love to tell you ‘buy from Pioneer and never have a problem again’ but the truth is that the aluminium systems companies are way behind the PVCU suppliers when it comes to delivery lead times and on-time-and-in-full delivery performance.

In other words your suppliers have almost certainly been telling you the truth, so perhaps your BS monitor needs a little re-tuning, though I can’t blame you.

We too have enjoyed a significant growth in aluminium window sales in the domestic market for trade sales through our factory and through our local retail operation. Our commercial aluminium window and door sales and installations are also at an all time high though the markets are unconnected.

Bifolding doors account for Mr and Mrs Jones becoming more attuned to aluminium windows in my humble opinion. When they have the opportunity to check out the relative rigidity and solid feel of the doors compared to the soft touch of their PVCU windows – while having the opportunity to experience the fact that modern aluminium frames are not, as may have been assumed, cold to the eye and touch – they start asking questions.

Aluminium suppliers have developed their products ahead of their service however. We experience constant delays in lead times and regularly have short deliveries with components missing that prevent us from completing the whole job. PVCU systems companies need a good kick in the pants sometimes but as a rule they are a country mile ahead of their metal counterparts.

But, as the great Bob Dylan once sang, the times they are a changin’. All of a sudden the aluminium market seems to be waking up to the increasing popularity of aluminium frames among homeowners and every aluminium systems producer and his dog seems to be queuing up to launch new domestic windows, at least if the exhibitor list for the 2017 FIT Show is anything to go by.

There are some pretty decent names signed up and all will be vying for our business – yours included. Let’s hope that they bring great service with them too – that’s the first thing I will discuss with them anyway, before I look at the products.