What Direction is the Bifolding Door Market Heading?

Bifolding doors have become extremely popular in homes and offices. The market has had a huge impact on the entire fenestration industry. Customers have requested these doors in huge numbers in the construction industry and the market analysis proves it. Patio doors and conservatories remain popular. Market reports as of late may be predict even higher rates of growth for bifolding doors.

There are now numerous choices on the market. Advertising has increased as has the number of fabricators. The prices have started to decline as well. The bifolding door market is beginning to change and there are also many other factors to consider besides cost declines and the advertising seen in trade magazines. Smart products are not the only ones seeing lower prices; such trends are being seen across the industry.

Product differentiation may be another trend to hit the market. Suppliers could soon offer bifold doors for low budget customers and high-end units. Even a market flooded with bifolding door suppliers supports this and especially a decline in pricing. Higher end companies are beginning to look toward the middle range consumer base, but are not necessarily slashing prices.

Bifolding doors have been popular for years, particularly in Europe and America, while a highly established bifolding door company from Australia has enjoyed market success. The products are not new, but are seeing a tremendous rate of growth. In the name of innovation, companies are making slimmer doors designed for thermal efficiency. Flexibility in size is also impacting the fabrication process. Companies are also offering advanced locking systems, automatic opening systems, and other hardware.

Some say the market may be close to saturation. Future growth is nonetheless expected as the bifolding door market in the UK is young. Future market and product development is being closely watched.

British Standard BS8213-14 and Window and Door Survey and Installation

Fewer than 50 window companies in the UK hold a British Standard, or a Kitemark in Surveying and Installation. Considering there are over 14,000 window companies in the country, the proportion is not many. British Standard BS8213-14 is specifically for surveyors and installers, whether conducting window and door replacements or for new projects.

In the UK, standards cover glass for specific applications, extrusions, powder coatings, and security. The home improvement market here is highly regulated and standardized, yet many window companies have overlooked one important standard. Most companies, however, realize the importance of the Kitemark or Secured by Design designations to customers. This is often not addressed by surveyors and installers, or related services offered by window companies.

Every company praises their installation quality – all this takes is the basic About Us section. Some companies employ fitters or surveyors; others rely on self-employed contractors. Customers still need to check on adherence to British Standards and the company’s credentials. Making a sound investment depends on this step.

Standardized Surveying and Installation

One specific standard covers the surveying and installation of windows and doors. Written to address residential window installations, few home improvement companies follow this standard. It recommends options such as materials for non loading bearing windows and doors. Also included is guidance on surveying and installation practices regarding windows.

The companies holding the standard are not more or less capable than others. This just exemplifies how many window installers and surveyors are not formally qualified. Few are in fact. The truth comes in the face that it’s not hard to obtain the Kitemark/British Standard. All it takes is an analysis of the company by BSI. The organization learns what it needs to do to become qualified using manuals and references to regulations. Assessments and inspections related to installation methods, fixing methods, measuring, and more uphold the designation. For Kitemark, companies can even choose self certification.

The Standard Offers a Unique Selling Point

Obtaining BS8213-14 should be a unique selling point. Small window companies are often confident in their services. They might not depend on the standard, as much of the industry has chosen not to. Since so few have obtained the standard, doing so opens the door to greater reputability and provides an edge over competitors. Quality of service, word of mouth, and longevity are also good promotional points but many businesses can point to these.

A Kitemark or British Standard helps a company stand out. Also, many choose to buy fabricated products; the competition does too. Again, hardly anyone holds the standard so it is an opportunity to stand out and use it as a marketing tool. Think about what advertising a standard so few hold could mean to customers.

Reducing Lead Times on Aluminium Windows

A window fabricator was recently highlighted in the news for working to reduce aluminium lead times. It began carrying extra stock to address the longer lead times in the sector, when compared to PVCu. The goal was to work on the same schedule while producing aluminium windows. In fact, there have been improvements to the supply chain, as other companies have worked to bring down the lead times and satisfy more customers.

While carrying extra stock has been a proven solution, there are still questions to answer. More stock, however, raises the questions of whether to carry more of one color or finish over another. Should painting and powder coating be outsourced? Stocking more popular colors of doors and bifolding doors has been beneficial. Windows, however, have more options, add-ons, cill sections, adapters, and other variables. What to keep in stock therefore can present a challenge. Some companies are resorting to a PVCu Service in these situations, particularly when non-standard colors are used.

Established aluminium fabricators can offer a two week lead time. Businesses need to consider how specific color requests, powder coating, variable ancillary sections, and add more time to delivery. They can integrate a PVCu Service, but must identify which products it applies to. Manufacturers often compete to offer the best service. Certain color requests, for example, can extend lead times, especially if the customer wants a dual color product. Painting the inner and outer extrusions first and then rolling the extrusions will take longer as third party companies and additional processes are needed.

While some companies have relied on systems companies to manage the supply chain, putting new systems and procedures into place is the way to offer better lead times. This move positions a company to provide better service, expand, and support additional orders. Any window and door manufacturer is better off when they take measures to improve lead times, whether selling bifolding doors or a product with specialized sections and produced with the aid of a trade supplier.

Is Aluminium or PVCu the Better Choice for Windows and Doors?

Window and door shoppers often go online to look up the benefits of aluminium or PVCu. Material selection queries are seen frequently by Google, yet some still don’t have an answer as to which is actually better. Companies selling one will advise against the other just to retain customers. They’ll even discredit aluminium yet it has proven advantages over plastic.

Aluminium allows for a slimmer frame and is more durable. Pricing remains a concern for most customers and is typically the deciding factor no matter how detailed a comparison is made. It is easy to mass produce PVCu windows and therefore they are cheaper. An aluminium product is hand crafted, more expensive, yet more desirable when the cost difference is not the main issue. This is also preferred by architects.

In regards to thermal efficiency, energy ratings guide the customer in making choices. Both materials are available in the same high efficiency models. When it comes to life span, aluminium beats plastic because it can survive up to 20 years in great condition. That’s rare for PVC windows especially if they are regularly exposed to the elements. Metal with a polyester powder coating is often guaranteed for up to 25 years.

Aluminium is also a winner in the environmental argument. Research and the results of many studies prove this fact. It is also more versatile in the types of applications it can benefit. Windows made of PVC are suited mainly for residential installations even though businesses and schools have installed them. The foot traffic in a school, shop, or commercial setting is too much for a PVC door, while windows will not last long in high moisture or dirty environments.

Newer building developments contain few PVC windows. Another benefit of aluminium is its security. A strong material, it does not require reinforcement and passes standards beyond the minimal requirements set by national organizations.

Aluminium windows were produced before PVCu ones. They were silver anodized and built into a hardwood subframe. These single- or double-glazed products also featured externally beaded aluminium. Similarly, the first PVCu windows had identical designs to their metal counterparts and were externally beaded. Plastic beads were found to be too weak, so manufacturer’s then resorted to internally beaded windows.

What it comes down to is the likes of the customer and affordability. Discussions on materials raise product awareness, so the debate continues and customers are well informed on the options they can choose from. Still, it is important to outline the benefits of aluminium over PVCu to window and door buyers.

What Makes an Aluminium Window or Door Unique?

Aluminium windows and doors are versatile and affordable. They can be installed in almost any setting and contribute to an energy efficient lifestyle. Each order is unique as the product can be custom fabricated. Color is one option available. Many customers prefer black, graphite grey, or slate grey, but other colors yield a sleek and modern look. Some companies offer hundreds of different color choices.

The powder coated aluminium adds durability and visual appeal compared to plastic versions of the frame. Also, the material enhances the appearance of the color and brightness which are retained over time. Another factor making the products unique is the types of glass available. Slim framed windows and bi-folding doors are designed to allow more light in and can feature glazing to optimize the insulating properties of the units.

Investing in aluminium windows and doors is wise and allows you to pick from many options. The types of glass available can contribute to better energy efficiency, lighting control, and self cleaning so you never have to worry about maintenance. One type minimizes heat loss and keeps an interior warm in the winter and comfortable in the summer. It also reduces condensation inside.

Energy efficient glass provides insulation and low condensation. Another choice is self-cleaning glass. The dirt is actually broken down by sunlight, so you don’t have to perform regular maintenance on the glass. There are many unique options for slim aluminium windows and doors. They can also feature blinds, built right into the double glazed construction. Users can control the shutter tilt and fully retract the blinds when desired. These are also offered in various colors. Choices of color, glass, and blinds make each custom sized window and door unique and convenient for the customer.