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16th February 2017

The Federation of Master Builders adds its voice to the National Home Improvement Council

The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) is the latest organisation to join the National Home Improvement Council (NHIC) and add its voice to a growing membership of influential organisations which share the NHIC’s ambitions for raising standards and protecting consumers when it comes to home improvements in the UK.

The FMB will work closely alongside companies, trade associations and accreditation providers such as British Gas, Which? Trusted Trader and NAPIT for building services.

With raising standards and protecting consumers, at the forefront of many people’s minds, the FMB is bringing its own influence and links to SME builders and will play a key part in NHIC’s data gathering, information sharing and sector engagement strategies.

Sarah McMonagle, Director or of External Affairs at the FMB, will sit on the Leaders Council of the NHIC which for more than 40 years has maintained a close liaison with Government, local authorities, housing associations, private householders and landlords, as well as other trade bodies, product manufacturers and service providers.

Sarah said: “Following the recent publication of the Bonfield Review “Each Home Counts”, it has never been more important for organisations in the home improvement sector to work together through organisations like the NHIC. The FMB is the largest construction trade association in the UK and represents the thousands of small building firms which will actually deliver the improvements to our existing homes that the Government’s carbon reduction target demands. However, if we are going to raise standards in this arena we should not limit ourselves to energy efficiency and renewables work – we must be even more ambitious and raise standards right across the private domestic sector and then seek the financial incentives from the Government to stimulate demand for these improvements among consumers.”

Anna Scothern, Executive Director at the NHIC, said “The FMB is one part of an expanding NHIC membership, which brings together all aspects of the home improvement sector. As well as providing members with knowledge sharing and business development opportunities, the NHIC celebrates innovation and provides consumers with impartial advice to help them safely improve the quality, energy efficiency and living standards within their home.”

As well as sitting on the Leaders Council and interacting with decision makers to get the best results for consumers, the FMB also supports NHIC initiatives such as the annual awards, which highlight and reward excellence in home improvement.

As the UK suffers the legacy of Europe’s oldest and least thermally efficient housing stock, the NHIC provides an important source of impartial advice and information sharing on all manner of home improvements.

Enjoy this issue.

Christina Shaw
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Specialist Glass
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TuffX Processed Glass – cheers to glass!

TuffX often receive glass requests for weird and wonderful creations, but there latest job was a first even for them. They was called by a client asking for some glass which will create a glass floor door leading to a wine cellar.

The customers live in a large country home in Hampshire and desired to have their very own wine cellar. Having already got a basement in their house the job seemed rather straight forward for the installers, they just needed the perfect glass for the cellar door. This had to be completely clear, safe, look appealing and also be suitable to walk on when the door was closed.

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Distinction Doors appoints David Amos as Non-Executive Director

Distinction Doors has just announced it has appointed David Amos as a Non-Executive Director.

Andrew Fowlds, Distinction’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are delighted David has chosen to join us. His manufacturing background and wealth of industry knowledge will be invaluable to us.”

David commented: “I was delighted to accept the position of Non-Executive Director. Distinction is an efficient, well-run and dynamic company. Everyone knows it has the leading products in the composite door sector but what’s less well-known is the quality, talent and commitment of the people involved in the business. I’m proud to be joining the team and look forward to adding value to it.”

David’s appointment is a prestigious one for Distinction Doors. He is a familiar face in the industry as co-founder of D&G Consulting, a leading provider of market and industry reports and consulting services. He set up the firm with his business partner, Godfrey Arnold, who sadly passed away in 2015 after a short illness. His background is in manufacturing and he started his career in the motor industry.

David said: “D&G was a key part of my working life but by accepting the role of Non-Executive Director

Featured Guest Blog
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Paris To Install High Security Glass Wall Around Eiffel Tower

It’s a sad world we now live in that we have to use such measures, but such is the world we live in right now, it has been announced that the authorities in Paris are to remove existing metal barriers with high security glass walls. The end result being the protection of the landmark as well as the people who visit it.

A shame, when you think about it, when we have to install such things around landmarks. The threats though have changed in the past few years, and attacks from terrorists using large vehicles is becoming something of a norm. We have already seen attacks like this in France, Germany, Israel and other places around the world.

So, it may not be surprising to see in the future more security glass walls spring up around other landmarks around the world.

Aluminium Bi-Folds
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Exlabesa launches new aluminium bifolding door

Aluminium bifolding doors remain the standard by which all other bifolding solutions are measured and with the launch of the Xlafold bifolding door, renowned aluminium systems company Exlabesa looks set to reinforce the standard. Derek Hodgson, General Manager of Exlabesa, says: “The Xlafold will become a classic solution because it offers everything homeowners, architects, specifiers, fabricators and installers want from a bifolding door.”

In terms of aesthetics, the Xlafold has the classic slim sightlines of an aluminium bifolding door. It is available in sculptured or square sash options, so it’s suitable for the commercial, new build and domestic markets. It is available in all RAL colour options so it sits well in any design scheme.

The Xlafold ticks all the boxes when it comes to the practicalities too.

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Significant growth in composite door sales through to 2020 - Palmer

A new report from Palmer Market Research suggests the composite door sector will see significant growth through to 2020.

Findings reveal that the market for entrance doors grew by 2.2% to 1.40million doors in 2015. Installed value was also up 7.6% at £692 million.

According, to The Market for Domestic Entrance Doors, composite doors now account for 50% of the market, the share rising to 54% by installed value with the inclusion of PVC/ABS faced doors.

PVC-U panel doors took 25% of the market in both installed value and volume terms, while wood (including engineered timber) took 20% by volume and 15% by installed value. Steel fell to just 46,000 doors.

The study suggests that forecast figures for last year should also be expected to show a modest overall increase in volume. It is less sanguine about fortunes this year, however, in the face of Brexit.

Although The Market for Domestic Entrance Doors suggests only a minimal impact on the home improvement and social sectors, the report’s authors warn the impact of Brexit may be felt acutely in new build.

It states: ‘The main change is that we believe house prices in general, and new build properties in particular, will slow and even go modestly negative during the Brexit negotiations (2017 and 2018).’

Aluminium Bi-Folds
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National Plastics stores to supply aluminium bifold doors

National Plastics has just expanded its product portfolio to include aluminium bifold doors. Geoff Foster, National Plastics’ Managing Director, said: “Aluminium solutions are increasingly popular in the residential sector so it makes good sense to supply a selection of high quality, good value products to satisfy this demand.”

National Plastics has a policy of offering an extensive product range at the right price points, something that’s perfectly demonstrated by adding aluminium bifold doors to the portfolio. They have been designed with performance, looks and efficiency in mind, with each frame incorporating a thermal break that effectively insulates its doors against heat loss, raising a home’s internal temperature and helping to reduce the risk of condensation.

Fit Show News
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The GGF is pleased to confirm that it will be presenting on three key topics at The FIT Show 2017 taking place from 23 – 25 May at Birmingham NEC.

Topics will cover a range of subjects - Brian Smith, Director of Home Improvement will be discussing resolving disputes, Technical Officer Russell Day will be speaking on glazing in conservation areas and Phil Pinnington, Director of Health and Safety, will be covering accidents in the industry.  For the full descriptions, see below:

Day 1 (23 May) 1210-1240 Don’t get mad! Get even! Resolving disputes with consumers can be a time consuming, costly nightmare. Brian Smith, GGF Home Improvement Director explains how the GGF conciliation

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Haffner Murat machines helping Mercury Glazing Supplies plans for growth

Haffner Murat has just installed two pieces of fabrication machinery for specialist trade fabricator Mercury Glazing Supplies Ltd. Chris Reeks, Mercury’s Sales and Marketing Director, said: “We have a strong growth strategy in place and our investment in new machinery from Haffner Murat will help us continue to deliver exceptional quality and exceptional lead times as our order volumes increase.”

Mercury has invested in a CN770 CNC Corner Cleaner and an SMR-4 Four Headed Welder. Chris commented: “Haffner Murat has a well-deserved reputation in the industry for delivering reliable, high quality machinery and Dave Thomas’s hands on approach, attention to detail and rapid response is superb. The machines will add further value to our fabrication process.”

The CN770 CNC Corner Cleaner cleans corners quickly and effectively with no manual intervention, improving output times and quality. The machine can store up to 400 different profile dimensions and properties, saving programming time in the fabrication process. It is suitable for both white and coloured frames, a feature that was particularly important for Mercury, which is seeing considerable growth

Fit Show News
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Starting off the New Year with a bang, the FIT Show continues to recruit the best of the best from the window, door and conservatory industry for its upcoming NEC show. With less than four months to go until the event everyone’s talking about takes place new exhibitors are still being added as the contracts continue to roll in.

With 87% of floor space booked at the National Exhibition Centre for this year’s show – that’s a whopping 54% more space than the total at FIT Show 2016 – the excitement is building. In January alone the FIT Show signed up 15 new exhibitors, which goes to show the huge level of interest the show generates and that there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. While there are many familiar names returning to the floor plan there’s also a large number of first timers joining

Installation Of The Year
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Scoring a hat trick of awards all within the space of a couple of months, Atlas Roof Solutions Approved Installer QKS Home Improvement is on a bit of a winning streak at the moment. Adding to their National Installation of the Year award and National Houzz Service award the Lincolnshire-based company has now come out on top in January’s FIT Show Installation of the Year competition.

Following up Nordic Installations’ win in December for their bespoke new build in Dunsford, Devon

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Materials 2017 will be taking place on the 25 and 26th April at the ILEC Centre in Earls Court. There will be a Meet the Buyers forum on both days within the exhibition, designed to deliver big opportunities at a reduced price for materials suppliers.

Leading architects, specifiers, contractors and other procurement professionals will have the opportunity to pre-schedule meetings with suppliers using a leading online appointment making platform with the option to participate for one or both days. The Buyers can schedule as many appointments as required to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the latest innovation in materials.

Companies who've already registered include:

  • Consultant - Arup
  • Regional Buyer & Supply Chain Manager - BAM Construction
  • Assistant Buyer - Bellway Homes
  • Architectural Technician - BLDA
Self Cleaning Glass
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True Self Clean Ultra-Grey is the way

Leading conservatory roof glass manufacturer TuffX always take the initiative by having an impressive and broad range of solar tinted glass for conservatory roofs. The use and style of conservatories has altered greatly with more people wanting to use them as a general all purpose room in their homes and not just a room which can be used when the weather is pleasant. Since the launch of the Ambience Ultra- Grey glass last year, TuffX have noticed an increase in sales for the contemporary tinted conservatory roof glass and the hype for the product

Building Services
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When an experienced builder sets out to make a home for members of his own family, you can be sure he will want everything to be just right. And when he chooses a combination of PVC-U windows alongside solid oak, it goes without saying that the PVC-U had to be the very best in both looks and performance.

“I’ve been in the business for 40 years but this was the first time I have actually built a house from scratch,” said Bridgenorth-based Brian Waterfield, who built the detached home for his grandson and family.

“I’d never come across Residence 9 before, but once we found it we knew it was exactly what we needed.  It has just the looks and features we had in mind, enabling us to complete the build to a really high specification.”

Brian and family chose R9 casements in Clotted Cream for most of the windows

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If you’re only going to invest in one welder, make it this one

The market-leading SMR-4 4 Head Welder from Haffner Murat is up to four times faster than conventional welders. It can also carry out three square welding, which equates to one extra frame per cycle. It is, quite simply, the fastest welder on the market.

The advantages the welder brings are why Haffner Murat delivered 12 machines to customers at the start of the year. Dave Thomas, Managing Director of Haffner Murat, says: “Word is getting out about how much the SMR-4 adds to a fabrication set-up and we’re getting more and more enquiries about it. Fabricators can see that the SMR-4 offers a quantum leap forward in terms of quality and efficiency. They also know that the value it will add will overwhelmingly outweigh the investment.”

As well as features to speed up production and reduce lead times, the SMR-4 is packed with features that improve product quality and cut waste. It is factory set each time and has automatic transom fences, automatic corner fences and automatic transom and mullion alignment, all things that add impressive value to a fabrication process.

The advantages of an SMR-4 are clear, but Haffner Murat’s free and impartial consultancy service gives fabricators added peace of mind. Dave comments: “We want fabricators to invest in machines that will help get their business to where they want it to be.

Eco Build 2017
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Victorian Sliders have added Ecobuild to their busy exhibition calendar for 2017, which also includes a major presence at this year’s FIT Show in May and Glassbuild America which will be held in Atlanta, Georgia in September.

ECOSlide PVC-U vertical sliding sash windows, manufactured by Victorian Sliders and supplied exclusively to Professional Trade Installers on a “strictly Trade only” basis, are the UK’s best-selling sash window brand.

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New Appointment
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Victorian Sliders have promoted Tracey Ervine to fulfil a newly-created role of Customer Care Manager, based at the company’s manufacturing headquarters in Carmarthenshire, South Wales.

Having studied extensively at Neath Port Talbot College and Swansea University and gained post-graduate qualifications at the University of South Wales, Tracey’s work experience as a former Assistant Tutor at Swansea University

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The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) welcomed its new President, Alan Burgess, (Managing Director of Masterframe Windows) at the President’s Reception on 2 February at The Building Centre in London.

In front of over 80 invited guests made up of GGF Members, industry dignitaries and GGF employees, Brian Baker, GGF Chief Executive (Interim) hosted the presentations for the event, reflecting on his own Presidency (which ended in December 2016) and providing an update on the changes at the GGF in the last 12 months. Following his introduction, Brian thanked Nigel Rees former GGF Chief Executive for his 22 years of loyal service to the Federation. Nigel was then invited to say farewell to the GGF and the industry.

Following Nigel’s heartfelt thanks and praise of the GGF Members and staff for their support 

Door Hardware
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Trojan introduces heavy duty hinge for composite doors

Leading hardware manufacturer, the Trojan Group, has just extended its heavy duty Athena Door Hinge range to include a version suitable for composite doors. Tony Chadwick, Group Managing Director, said: “The Athena Hinge has proven very popular since we introduced it last year. Now fabricators and installers can take advantage

Coastline Hardware
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VBH Launches new ‘Coastline’ Stainless Steel Range

Hardware specialist VBH has added a new range of stainless steel door hardware to its greenteQ range. The suite will be branded ‘Coastline’

greenteQ Coastline comprises 92PZ door handles, letterboxes, butt hinges and door knockers and has been developed in direct response to feedback from customers who required a stainless steel furniture suite for installations in aggressive coastal and/or industrial regions both in the UK and overseas.

All Coastline furniture is produced from corrosion resistant and hard-wearing austenitic stainless steel and is subjected to in excess of 1000 hours neutral salt spray testing to BS EN ISO 9227:2012.

VBH advise that Coastline products are already proving popular with manufacturers and installers of doors

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Arup; TU Delft & ABT Consulting Engineers Announced as Outright Winners

Against a backdrop of a record number of entries from façades practices and partnerships located around the world, the winners of the 2016 Façade competition organised by the Society of Façade Engineering have been announced.

The results were kept a closely guarded secret and announced at the annual ‘Glass Supper’ attended by some of the worlds leading façade engineers and designers, thus adding greater tension as the evening wore on towards the outcome.

With the honours presented by Chris Macey, Chair of the Society of Façade Engineering Judging Panel, the winner of the Façade of the Year in the Refurbishment category went to Arup for 10 New Burlington Street, London. Winner of the Outstanding Façade Innovation went to TU Delft & ABT Consulting Engineers for the Crystal Houses, Amsterdam.

Special commendations went to BuroHappold Engineering in the Façade of the Year New Build category for their work on Columbia University, Vagelos Education Centre, New York; to Octatube for the Glass Entrance Building of the Van Gogh Museum

Fire Resistant Glazing
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The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) was disappointed to see a recent news story in which Glassworks Ireland, not a Member of the GGF, had sold ordinary glass as fire resistant safety glass and failed to supply numerous buildings with the correct specification of glass, putting lives and property at risk.

In response to the article, Steve Rice, GGF Director of Technical Affairs commented: “This news and the subsequent prison sentence clearly shows the importance for all companies in the fire resistant glazing sector to ensure the specification, supply and installation of fire resisting glazing is provided at the correct level of protection for people and property. The GGF through its Fire Resisting Glazing Group (FRGG) promotes, develops and champions the application of best

Offsite Projects
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Calling all Architects - we want your Offsite projects!

The Royal Institute of British Architects highlighted their support of the offsite industry in 2016, through their partnership with the Offsite Management School, in the publication of the overlay for the Plan of Work, which was created to encourage architects to engage with offsite manufactured solutions using Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) techniques.

The support of RIBA, was a clear indicator of the positive and progressive future of the construction industry by increasingly adopting offsite manufactured technology

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When it comes to machinery companies, you’d think automation was the way forward.

That may be the case for the machines themselves, but Avantek Machinery is keen to point out that there’s no replacement for people when it comes to delivering exceptional customer service, as Sales Director Nigel Bishop explains:

“I’ve been in this industry for almost 20 years, and have seen many advances in technology, enabling exciting new products to be developed in ever-efficient ways.

“When it comes to business relationships, however, it’s very clear to me that people still want to deal with people. That’s not only the case right from the start, from a sales perspective – but it’s important to keep an ongoing dialogue too. If anything should go wrong, there’s no substitute for the personal touch.

“That’s why here at Avantek we’ve built our team of on-the-road service engineers to eight;

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Exlabesa steel replacement window suite achieves PAS 24 accreditation

Aluminium systems house Exlabesa’s newly launched steel replacement window suite has just achieved PAS 24 security accreditation. Derek Hodgson, Exlabesa’s General Manager, said: “Our KS59 suite offers incredible versatility and the PAS 24 security accreditation only adds to this.”

The PAS 24 accreditation was tested using the Mustang Slim Line Reverse Espag lock from the Trojan Group.

Installer Support
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As we begin to welcome in 2017, thoughts inevitably turn to how you can up your game and achieve greater success. For Heidi Sachs, Managing Director of leading VEKA trade fabricator Modplan, a partnership approach is the answer. “We’re all guilty of thinking we can do things on our own. But the fact is, when you take a partnership approach you can benefit from a wealth of opportunities that might otherwise not be available to you.”

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National Plastics’ annual conference celebrates the company’s achievements

National Plastics’ annual company conference held at The Vale Resort in the Vale of Glamorgan on 7th January 2017, was a mixture of fun and serious business with an overall message of celebration following another successful year for the UK’s leading trade counter network.

MD Geoff Foster sent out a message of thanks to the thousands of National Plastics’ customers across the country that have made the company so successful and reminded his staff that customers and customer service must continue to be the cornerstones of the National Plastics operation.

Over 100 representatives from National Plastics’ 32 depots attended the day’s events and were joined by their partners in the evening

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Distinction Doors launches the Retail Cottage Door and the Rustic Renown Collection

The UK’s number one composite door company, Distinction Doors, has just launched five door designs that all reflect traditional cottage charm: the solid Retail Cottage Door slab and four glazed door designs in the Rustic Renown Collection. Chantel Roach, Distinction’s Marketing Director

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