Our Managing Director Russell Yates was one of the guest panellists at yesterday’s highly successful Glazing Summit, held in Solihull.
He took part in the morning’s opening debate on materials, alongside representatives from the PVC-U, timber and hardware sectors, analysing trends and predicting the key drivers for future change and innovation.
Russell quite rightly acknowledged to the 400-strong audience that the resurgence in demand for aluminium in the retail sector was driven largely by the popularity of the bi-fold door and property programmes like Grand Designs. However, he also pointed out how successful fabricators have been in recent years in upscaling their production beyond the bi-fold and into windows and large span sliding doors.
Throughout the debate, there was a recognition amongst everyone on the panel that what installers want above all now is choice, not just in materials but in colour and hardware options too.
In fact, Russell explained that some of the biggest innovations to come in aluminium are likely to be in the way that colours are applied to the material in response to this demand.
Understandably perhaps, given the make up of the panel, there was a lukewarm response to the question of whether hybrid profiles will ever make it into the mainstream, but an acknowledgement that these materials may have a place in the market for certain types of installations.
In terms of predictions, Russell argued that future innovation will be driven by two key factors – the tightening of regulations, particularly around thermal efficiency Part L, and the demand from architects and homeowners for larger spans of glass to increase natural light into the home, leading to advances in material strength and durability.
Sandwiched perfectly between the 2017 and 2019 FIT Shows, the Glazing Summit was designed to fill that gap this year with an event which informed and entertained the industry, and at the same time presented a great networking opportunity.
The organisers (Purplex and Insight Data) certainly achieved that. All of the debates were interesting, the professional presentations were valuable and there were plenty of breaks to allow customers and colleagues to catch up and chat. Obviously, they’ll be listening to feedback from delegates about what they enjoyed most before they announce their plans for the next event but, at this stage, it looks likely to become a regular fixture in the glazing calendar and we would certainly welcome that.