With the Coronavirus/Covid-19 in the headlines, what is the door and window industry doing to reassure customers during these uncertain times? Like any industry right now, window and door companies across the supply chain are following official advice and putting measures in place, to protect their customers and their staff.
At the bottom of this article is a current update on the types of work being done right now and why. You can also read more information about what this now extended lockdown means for the window industry.
As of mid-April, a significant number of businesses are now implementing a staged and careful approach to re-open. They’re putting in additional safety measures, re-organising production and warehouse areas and carrying out careful risk assessments.
How the supply chain is currently operating.
To help homeowners and the trade understand better how the supply chain is operating, we’ve separated the three key tiers of the supply chain. Systems companies, manufacturers and installers. In the comments column, where available we’ve linked to their relevant website statements.
The names are just a handful of the many thousands of businesses operating in the fenestration sector and give a snapshot of the industry.
Towards the top of the supply chain, systems companies supply bar length and accessories. All UK systems companies are substantial operations, employing a lot of staff and with complex operations. Broadly speaking, most have ceased manufacturing and distributions. Some are operating a much-reduced service. Others are supporting manufacturers working in NHS, MOD or other essential contracts. Our table below shows some of the major systems companies and their position.
|Aluk||Partially Open||Helping customers restart|
|Aluprof UK||Open||Statement from Aluprof HQ|
|Alutech Systems||Not Known|
|Comar Systems||Open||Remote services|
|Deceuninck||Closed||Some remote services|
|Epwin Group||Partially Open||Some remote services|
|Exlabesa Systems||Not Known|
|Garnalex||Closed||Services suspended 1st April|
|Jack Aluminium||Not Known|
|IKON Aluminium||Open||Open from 20th April|
|Kestrel Systems||Partially Open||Scaled back services|
|Liniar Systems||Planned opening||Planned re-open 7th May|
|Metal Technology||Open||Open from 22nd April|
|Reynaers Systems||Open||Updated Reynaers statement|
|Senior Architectural||Partially Open||Read the latest update|
|Schuco Systems||Open||Reduced Services|
|Smart Systems||Open||27th April service update|
Major manufacturers are those medium-large trade fabricators or those also installing in the commercial sector. Generally speaking, most are closed although some are also operating a skeleton staff and/or quotation and order processing services. Some of these are also active in the commercial sector whether fabricating or installing and are required to service active construction sites.
There are also companies buying fabricated products from manufacturing bases in Europe. We are advised by these businesses that European factories are open and deliveries coming to the UK. As a result they can provide quotations and process orders.
As of 24th April, most are now planning a staged re-opening while continuing to adhere to official guidelines and carrying out risk assessments.
|Acorn Aluminium||Open||Restart of Manufacture|
|Alufold Direct||Open||Open 18th May|
|Arkay Windows||Closed||Latest company information|
|Remote services & support|
|Express Bifolding Doors||Open||Clear statement on operations|
|Centor UK||Not Known|
|CDW Systems||Open||Announcing 27th April opening|
|Customade/Real/Atlas||Open||Company statement on reopening|
|CWG Choices||Open||Aluminium from 27th April|
|Duration Windows||Open||Statement from Duration|
|Remote services & support|
|Granada Secondary||Partially Open||Limited service information|
|Howells Patent Glazing||Open||Servicing customers|
|Made for Trade||Open||Open from 4th May|
|Origin Frames Ltd||Open||April statement from Origin|
|Pioneer Trading Co.||Open||Servicing NHS/essential work|
|Sunflex UK||Partially Open||Remote services and support|
|Solarlux||Partially Open||Quotations/orders processed|
|Swan Doors & Windows||Closed||Opening 27th April|
|Whiteline Manufacturing||Partially Open||Quotes & product support|
Related Suppliers to the window and door industry.
There are numerous suppliers serving the fenestration sector for hardware, finishing, and other essential components or services. Some of the well-known ones we list in this table.
|Open||Open from 27th April|
|Dual Seal Glass||Glass||Open||Open from 20th April|
|Morley Glass||Integral Blinds||Open||Operations Restarted|
|Hitech Blinds||Integral Blinds||Closed||Servicing clients/remote working|
|Vertik-al||Powder Coating||Open||Re-open 20th April|
|Superior Group||Powder Coating||Open||Open from 20th April|
|CMK Treatments||Powder Coating||Open|
|Metal Coating Services||Powder Coating||Open|
|Reddiplex Group||Seals/Gaskets||Not Known|
|Finish Architectural||Metal Fabrication||Open||Fully open 20th April|
|Building Profiles||Hardware||Closed||Closed until further notice|
|Mila Hardware||Hardware||Open||Limited service statement|
|Duffels||Hardware||Open||Key Service- remains open|
|Glazpart||Hardware||Open||Continue to operate|
|SE Controls||Mechanisms||Partially Open||Essential Activities Only|
|Glass Systems||Glass||Open Soon||Statement on LinkedIn|
|Thermoseal Group||Glass Components||Open|
|Glass processing sites closed|
|Clayton Glass||Glass||Open||Sites open|
|Padiham Glass||Glass||Open||Restart of Manufacture|
|Saint Gobain||Glass||Open||Gradual opening from 27th April|
|Supertuff||Glass||Closed||Open from 4th May|
|Window Ware||Hardware||Open||Phased reopening|
Home improvement showrooms and installers.
For home improvement showrooms, there are many currently servicing enquiries and even taking orders. While their showrooms may be closed and their manufacturers also shut, they’re found ways to keep working and keep trading even at a reduced level. And we’ve helped some of these.
First of all, much of the home improvement work nowadays doesn’t require the traditional salesman visit in the home any more. In fact, this is a declining service with many. Drawings, plans and a more knowledgable customer means most can prepare accurate quotations.
We’ve found savvy aluminium home improvement companies still selling, still taking deposits and even better for them and their customers, booking production slots with their manufacturers. They can do this because most major manufacturers operate online ordering systems. Therefore, when we all return to work, these installers will have booked the production slots in advance. And where jobs require a survey they can do this while working safely, responsibly and to official guidelines.
Others have set up video links to their showrooms. Using Facetime, Skype, Facebook messenger and other video apps, we’ve experience of window companies having one member of staff in a showroom and demonstrating products to the customer at home.
The customer can show them their old door, the wall they want knocked out, and more. That is enough for an expert home improvement company to provide a quotation and keep working. The customer gets a service too.
Additionally, many are now more active on their social media pages, engaging with potential customers and keeping customer service going.
Homeowners, choosing the right business, are therefore well-placed to still plan or book their forthcoming projects if they want to. They won’t get a firm installation date, but they will at least have planned and pre-booked.
While the advice is to avoid non-essential contact, it’s also possible to think and plan future home improvements online. And our research indicates installers are responding and adapting well to the current situation.
There are also those home improvement companies that are doing their bit for the community and helping their brand too. We know of businesses making their storage units and showrooms available to charities and local groups to store food and essentials, vans for deliveries to the needy and elderly.
We are updating this article on a regular basis.
The situation with the diverse supply chain that is windows and doors is not the same for everyone. Following the advice of the Government has meant some systems companies, manufacturers and suppliers have had to change their policy. Not only are they trying to do their best for their customers, staff and the public, but they’re also trying to service a complex customer base.
Some have fully closed with all operations suspended. Most have their staff working from home. Others are continuing to operate albeit with a much-reduced service and complying with official advice.
Importantly, many businesses are directly or indirectly involved in the construction sector. Not just for windows but powder coating, metal fabrications and other material used extensively on construction sites. Therefore, while there is a grey area around construction, some commercially orientated installers are continuing to work while following Government guidelines.
We are being contacted by window installers and manufacturers telling us they’re either actively involved in ongoing work, or receiving actual orders. NHS, Government or other essential work. This includes work such as converting existing buildings or building new ones. This is just one area needing new windows and doors. Systems companies need to provide material, manufacturers need to make it and installers are needed to fit it.
But it’s not just windows and doors. Related industries are also working alongside fenestration to get the facilities needed completed fast. Window ventilation and smoke control systems, fire door actuators, remote window controls, aluminium partition systems and even PVCu doors used to make infection control doors and privacy screens in hospitals.
Some domestic installers with no experience in anything other than their local replacement window work remain critical of others in the window supply chain continuing to work. Windows and doors, replacing draughty old windows in a home, may not be essential work. Converting or building a much-needed hospital or other government facilities right now is.
Some companies have made the decision to close altogether. We respect their decision. Others have made a decision to service essential contracts and support their commercial fabricators and doing everything they can to keep safe too.
If you can work from home, you must. You cannot operate a saw, machining centre, welder or fit these windows from home. If the workplace is open then observe the guidelines and let’s keep a steady focus even in these difficult times.
The message remains to Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives.
The Aluminium Trade Supply Website is also here to help.
As an online free information resource, we are here to help, advising and informing on aluminium windows and doors, putting you in touch with the right suppliers. Get in touch with us today.