REAL Aluminium by Customade – an Introduction

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Nick Dardalis

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Customade UK is one of the longest established fabricators of PVCu and Aluminium in the UK. One of the earliest manufacturers of the former and best-selling Monarch aluminium system, they are now firmly set up with Smarts.  They are also behind the brilliant Atlas Glazed Roof product meaning that Customade is a very experienced aluminium fabricator and installer in the UK, and they have now introduced the REAL Aluminium brand.

For a while, Customade has provided installers and the trade market with a broad range of fabricated aluminium windows and doors.  They have now launched a new branded product and trade service to help the trade buy and sell aluminium better. Consumers will benefit as well.

‘REAL Aluminium’ from Customade.

smarts windows and doors.
REAL Aluminium features great systems from Smarts

The REAL Aluminium brand from Customade is designed to help their existing or new customers, their network of installers and anyone interested in benefitting from the growing aluminium domestic market.

We already know that this is the growth area for doors and windows in the UK, but it is also the case that many small and medium-sized installers want to sell aluminium but don’t rightly know how to.  Weaknesses that constrain some smaller installers from selling aluminium well can include:

  • Lack of product training
  • Lack of product literature and information to help them sell
  • Not understanding how to order aluminium and the processes
  • Lack of staff and salespeople training and knowledge.

In these areas and more Customade hope to provide a solution with their REAL brand and service.

Does REAL Aluminium provide benefits to installers and the trade?

the bifolding door is one smarts product that trade supplies are offering cheaper and cheaper and cheaper
The business benefits from being able to price, sell and order bifolding doors, residential doors and windows easily and efficiently.

We think so if an installer can sell aluminium and is given the tools to do so. REAL certainly appears to do this. The good thing about how Customade have developed the REAL Aluminium brand is that the typical residential products that will be required by a homeowner are covered. These include:

  • Bifolding and Sliding Doors
  • Casement Windows
  • The superb Atlas roof
  • Residential doors.

Customade has cleverly looked at all the areas where an installer may struggle to specify, sell and order aluminium to the end user and appears to have covered all bases. Let us look at these individually.

REAL Aluminium Marketing, Sales and Technical Support.

Customade has put together well-designed trade and consumer-facing literature designed to help their installers sell their products.  REAL will also have in-store displays, samples, swatches and even local area advertising. Also available will be profile charts, assembly instructions and installation information.

Fast Quotations on REAL Aluminium.

A promise is made where quotations are provided to their customers in 24 hours or via immediate pricing online. Customade are using their Custodian window pricing and surveying software.  Custodian is designed to be linked directly to the company price list so that their customers can obtain real-time quotations for their products.

Two versions of the Custodian Software are available.

  • Custodian Basic Version offers an estimating service for doors, windows and lantern roofs. The facility exists to build a frame via the software, design the windows and doors as well as create drawings that the end user can understand. Also, the software is branded with the customer details so as not to confuse the end user.
  • Custodian Full Version provides the Basic software with more functionality and features.  Custodian Full Version will be of great benefit to window companies that want a deeper analysis of their costs, profit margins and other critical data.  The software produces far more detailed reports for both the installer and the end user, offers to price for a wider range of products and can even add goods and costs from other suppliers.

Software addresses a wide number of issues installers have had for a long time such as estimating and processing aluminium.  We look forward to trying it out. The facility to place orders, to raise invoices and other administration is very useful indeed.

Any special products that the software can’t price will be priced on application and in line with the fast 24-hour turnaround service on quotations.

For the many that still prefer to work with a paper price list, Customade offers the REAL Aluminium Price Book.

REAL Aluminium on consistent delivery times.

Customade promise to hold profiles and stock colour aluminium extrusions so deliveries on these products are consistent and on time. On-time deliveries are essential where previously colour or material delays would hinder the promised delivery of an order.  By having a choice of profiles, a range of products and a delivery promise, installers can more confidently quote their installation times to their customers.

A two week turnaround time is promised for all aluminium stock products.

Homeowners benefit from a consistent brand with REAL Aluminium.

retail double glazing brochure.
REAL Aluminium offers an easy to understand yet highly comprehensive retail brochure that sells and informs on aluminium.

Customade has developed a very modern, easy to understand and complete retail brochure with the REAL Aluminium brand. It features the expected high and medium end images of properties with new windows, glazed extensions and bifolding doors to reach out to the typical customer and beyond.

The brochure simply yet accurately explains the fine details such as security, weather performance, U-Values and guarantees that today’s customer wants to know but not be confused with technically.

The brochure covers the complete range of products and is designed to not only sell the brand to the end user but also give Customade’s customers an efficient selling tool without relying on a range of literature that often confuses customers with multi-branding.

The colour, glass and hardware options are very well explained and having read this brochure cover to cover it sells a product yet informs and educates about aluminium at the same time.

Aluminium Systems used with the REAL Brand.

Customade moved from the SAPA brand some years ago (although they still provide the SAPA Crown Patio Door) and focused on Smart Systems.  The REAL Aluminium range is based on Smarts and their respective products as well as the Atlas Roof.

On offer is the Alitherm 300 and Classic-Al windows, the Alitherm Plus Door and Visofold 1000 and Visoglide Plus.

Should the trade consider buying REAL Aluminium?

real aluminium trade service.
REAL Aluminium will be of great benefit to the smaller and medium sizes installers that want service and products, with easy ordering and pricing.

One of the most important factors about buying ready-made windows and doors is about service and well made windows and doors – not the lowest prices.  When an installer gets a consistent and reliable service from their aluminium supplier, it benefits their own business.  Installations run smoothly, products arrive on time. The installation is done on time and they get paid. This is far more important than buying windows and doors at the lowest possible prices to save money.

We have known of Customade for many years and they are an excellent and experienced trade supplier with the systems, products and procedures in place to deliver.  If you are considering buying fabricated aluminium Customade should be considered.

The delivery promises, the quality aluminium systems (notably the magnificent Atlas Roof) and the software and pricing tools on offer we think address the vast majority of issues suffered in the supply chain. Getting prices quickly has always been a frustration with installers and this is something that remains an issue although many good firms are addressing it.

The REAL Aluminium brand offers a one-stop shop solution for the trade and a potential homeowner.

If we were to be critical, it would be about using the Smart Systems product names such as Alitherm and Visoglide. In our view, it would have been better to re-brand these with a different name. Having said that, the Smarts brand is immensely strong in the UK and their products are in a vast number of showrooms.

For a smaller or medium-sized installer that wants to sell aluminium and have none of the multi-supplier issues, pricing and ordering headaches, REAL Aluminium appears to offer a great solution.

Images courtesy of REAL Aluminium and Smart Systems.

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16:42 30 Oct 23
Nick responded incredibly quickly to my enquiry (on a Saturday too!), and was able to offer invaluable advice on both aluminum systems and manufacturer / suppliers. Thanks Nick!
chris steerchris steer
16:18 09 Oct 23
Had a meeting with Nick during the grand designs show. Was extremely helpful and professional would highly recommend
Chris WesthorpChris Westhorp
19:55 13 Sep 23
Extremely helpful with pointing us in the right direction to find the products we required and suggesting firms that could reliably fit them.Nick was quick to reply and very detailed in his advice.Highly recommend reaching out to them.
Cathy GreenwoodCathy Greenwood
07:03 11 Sep 23
Update - A second email to nick for help on bifolds resulted in a detailed informative reply even on a Sunday ! This guy is so knowledgable and helpful .I approached Nick for an independent view on sliding doors v bifold and the different brand options . His reply was extremely detailed and prompt and allowed me to navigate this often confusing world in a much more informed way . Thanks so much Nick
Anthony CraigAnthony Craig
12:45 05 Sep 23
This is a must site for anyone looking for advice. Great service and very quick answers to questions. Nick has been of great help quiding us through the maze of aluminium products. Thank you
Philip DuffieldPhilip Duffield
20:24 26 Jul 23
I contacted Nick @ ATS for guidance on what aluminium sliding door systems would be suitable for an opening in an extension that is going to be both wide and tall. He came back really quickly with very detailed and incredibly helpful advice. He is clearly extremely knowledgeable about the systems on the market and their respective features and capabilities. If you’re feeling a bit lost by the overwhelming range of choices out there, I’d definitely recommend contacting him.
Dariush HekmatDariush Hekmat
17:25 19 Jul 23
Nick's advice is great. He is always quick to respond and spends time on responses, which really help to make an informed decision.
Alan FosterAlan Foster
07:51 12 Jul 23
Absolutely fantastic. Asked for advice about replacing Crittall (?) windows late last night and early this morning received 3 great suggestions and contact information for suppliers
Rachel LauRachel Lau
09:24 16 Jun 23
Fantastic website full of valuable and pragmatic advice about product selection and comparison: no other website gives information like this. Truly written for public interest. Don't hesistate to reach out to Nick via the mailing system. He responds very quickly, is friendly, and has very sound and high knowledgable advice. I have already shared this with my friend planning her own grand design.
guard Charlieguard Charlie
12:28 14 May 23
I emailed this company just on the off chance they could help me with new magnetic sliders for my patio door. They were not able to supply those but were so very helpful providing me with the name of a company who could. I am so very grateful at the great service. Dare say customers must be very happy. thank you so much.
Benjamin LewisBenjamin Lewis
10:06 04 May 23
Nick is very helpful indeed. Extremely knowledgeable on bifolds which was in relation to my query. Great website as well, some very useful articles. Particularly appreciated the article that lists all the major bifold options in order of their sightlines! Thank you!
P JonesP Jones
08:07 15 Apr 23
I asked Nick some questions about an installation we were considering and he replied within hours with some very useful suggestions that will probably lead us to using a different make and supplier. Thanks, Nick. Great work.
Nicholas WallNicholas Wall
13:18 02 Apr 23
Looking for fair and honest expert advice on all aspect of aluminium windows and doors? These guys will arm you with all the information you need to make the RIGHT choice in a highly complex, crowded marketplace. post a question and you will get a very quick professional answer you can rely on being based on fact. Thanks guys!
Giorgia SiriacoGiorgia Siriaco
16:25 21 Mar 23
After a lot of research to find doors that would meet our unusual size requirements and feeling increasingly uncertain about the best way to spend our small budget, I stumbled on the ATS website, and I'm so glad I did! I contacted ATS to request advice and Nick promptly replied with a wealth of information, providing us with options and relevant contact details. I only wish I'd found them sooner!
Carol NortonCarol Norton
10:01 17 Mar 23
I've been so confused about how to achieve the look I'm after, and going round in circles with various window/door companies, trying to get away from the huge chunks of plastic currently around my windows. I didn't expect an email to a company found through a Google search to really help - but I was desperate, so I tried. I'm SO glad I did. Finally I have clear explanations from ATS of where I've been going wrong, exactly what I'm looking for, and a list of local companies that might be able to provide it! The response has excelled my expectations and I feel as if I'm finally inching closer to a home with which I'll be happy and comfortable: thank you.
David NunnDavid Nunn
20:54 14 Mar 23
It is rare that I write reviews, however after my very positive communication with Nick - enquiring about suitable slim sash aluminium windows for my project, I felt that a review was definitely warranted. I can reinforce the many positive reviews posted so far, Nick was very quick to respond, providing comprehensive detail, with excellent independent advice.In summary, great service, thank you Nick.
Chantal AuerbachChantal Auerbach
13:04 09 Mar 23
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply was incredibly helpful informative and pleasant to deal with. He responded quickly to emails and was very knowledgeable. Highly recommend being in touch with Nick if you are considering new aluminium windows or doors.
Lee JonesLee Jones
20:21 22 Feb 23
I dropped Nick at Aluminium Trade Supply an email re high security slim sightline bi-folds and their alternatives and he responded that quickly (and so comprehensively) that I felt bad I’d not paid him for his time!Nick Sir your product knowledge is outstanding and you are providing a level of service that goes wayyyy above and beyond expectations. I’ll definitely make sure I mention Aluminium Trade Supply to anyone I encounter looking for a fenestration solution 🙏🏼
15:13 13 Feb 23
We are looking to replace some old UPVC patios doors with aluminium ones. The ATS website is a great source of advice in an area where clear information is sorely lacking. Having used the website, I then followed this up with a number of specific questions relating to our search, and Nick came back very quickly with clear, detailed and very useful advice.I have been very impressed with both the website and with Nick's advice. My only regret is that I didn't come across ATS before replacing various windows in 2021 - I'm sure it would have saved me a lot of grief and money! Thanks again Nick.
Azza McCabeAzza McCabe
17:47 01 Feb 23
So impressed with this company.Responded to my query quickly andgave valuable advice. Nick was extremely helpful and we were able to move forward with our project.
Adri LoloçiAdri Loloçi
11:21 08 Jan 23
Nick was super fast to respond and provided some great recommendations. I would recommend this website to anyone looking to find bifold or sliding aluminium doors.
Stephen HoustonStephen Houston
16:16 03 Jan 23
Looking for aluminium crittall style internal door and external patio French doors. Noted good reviews and thought would ask for advice. Comprehensive reply with excellent independent advice and lists of fitters who could provide products and installation. Great service.
Inga GeachInga Geach
08:25 21 Dec 22
Nick from Aluminium Trade Supply has been extremely helpful with navigating the jungle that is aluminium glazing for our upcoming extension project. His advice was prompt, detailed and always impartial. Very grateful for your input, thanks Nick!
Amanda BurtonAmanda Burton
10:54 16 Dec 22
Brilliant website and an excellent service. Nick provided not only detailed advice and supplier contacts, but highlighted the considerations of various products so I could make an informed choice. Our Sunvista minimal sliders were fitted this week and I couldn't be happier, stunning. Thanks once again for your advice and recommendations, invaluable!
Keith BarnesKeith Barnes
17:18 10 Dec 22
Very helpful advice given to my question, including the name of 3 different companies that i could try for the product being enquired about. Many thanks
Munim ChowdhuryMunim Chowdhury
11:45 13 Sep 22
Nick has been very helpful on signposting me to a number of partner organisations for steel/aluminium doors.
SUSAN wallaceSUSAN wallace
17:26 31 Aug 22
My experience with this firm was exceptionally good and this is notalways the case as a female, dipping a toe into technical waters.I was spoken too with courtesy and at a level that helped me consolidate what was needed .On top of that I was given a list of companies and places where I could obtain the type of product I needed.I could not thank them enough and would certainly go there again and reccommend others do too.
Paul SalterPaul Salter
22:39 22 Aug 22
Contacting Aluminium Trade Supply is like contacting the Oracle direct. Advice is always comprehensive and balanced. On multiple occasions they have provided me with options that fully meet our objectives. Many thanks.
Nick McCormackNick McCormack
20:25 14 Aug 22
Really helpful and useful came back to me on a Sunday with some invaluable information. Highly recommended.
ray addisonray addison
13:14 14 Aug 22
received a prompt reply to my query,and helpful information from ATS