Published On: Wed, Oct 15th, 2014

Swagger returns to the window industry

There is no denying that the swagger has returned to the window industry over the last few months. If reports on the overall prospects for the construction sector are to be believed, this trend is set to continue. Construction intelligence provider Glenigan has recently forecast a 7.4 % increase in project starts during 2014, as rising private sector investment and improved consumer confidence underpin further industry growth. Other indicators also back up this upbeat news. The equity release market has also grown by 26% in the first half of 2014, with released money increasingly being used to improve standards of living, with 66% of customers using some or all of the cash to fund home or garden improvements. This compares with 55% last year.

The rising levels of demand are having differing effects on the supply chain. In our own industry, fabricators and component suppliers that have successfully ridden the economic storm are well positioned to capitalise on the rise in demand. There are concerns though, that demand is outstripping supply at the moment, and in the wider house-building sector there is pressure, according to Steve Turner of the Home Builders Federation, ‘on a whole list of building materials at the moment largely because of the significant increase in housebuilding activity.’ Within our own sector, regional difficulties have been reported on the immediate availability of finished products. Lead times have crept up as fabricators are experiencing full production schedules. This is a welcome break from the situation many found themselves in at the height of the recession. At the consumer end this can lead to a rise in prices as the power returns to the installer and retailer when negotiating an order. For long have we wished to say to a homeowner: “That’s the price and if you don’t want to pay it I know someone who will!!”

On my travels this month it was apparent that window and door component manufacturers are busily ramping up their stockholding in anticipation of an upsurge in demand. Further up the supply chain, fabricators are investing in plant and equipment again, and also working in partnership with their suppliers to bring to market innovative and cutting edge products. The signs are encouraging; lets hope it all comes to fruition and the good times return to the fenestration sector.

John Cowie – Editor