My review of this year continues in good speed, and I want to take a look at five areas of UK fenestration that have made waves in our industry, in one way or another. To be clear, this list of five fenestration sectors is in no particular order. It’s just five areas of our eclectic little world that have made big moves in one way or another.

Before the end of the year, I’ll be picking my five sectors that the industry and those wanting to grow should be looking at during 2017.

1. Composite door sector

The perennial performer within the wider fenestration sector has been the composite door sector. Each year it’s growth continues to impress and shows no signs of slowing down. During the course of this year, various reports, studies and anecdotal evidence have pointed to a composite door market that has performed strongly once again. In fact the whole of the entrance door market stands in pretty good health across the board this year, and in the coming few years. If you believe the industry reports.

New colours, door designs, glass designs and hardware suites from a variety of composite door manufacturers have helped to keep this part of the market very competitive.

Solidor even launched their Residor range at the FIT Show. A PAS24 compliant, foam filled slab aimed at their installers who dual source from other suppliers for a more budget choice composite door. It seems to have done the trick, with strong sales reported from Solidor since the launch of the product.

The composite door market looks good for another solid five years, and even longer than that.

2. Lantern roof market

At the start of the year I predicted that the lantern roof market would be an area we should all be watching throughout 2016. There might be mixed opinions on how right I was to hand pick that option. I have had the sense that the lantern roof market might not have had the total barnstormer some of us might have thought it would. I could be wrong. If so, let me know via the comments section!

But I have chosen the lantern roof market not because of it’s performance, but because of who is now operating in it. There was already a high number of roof companies with a lantern roof product to their name. Then this year saw perhaps one of the industry’s biggest players enter the fray with their Stratus lantern roof. I wrote about it here. Synseal are a big company within the wider context of the UK fenestration market. Their own lantern roof product has the potential to shake things up in an already crowded market. It’s too early to tell if it will, and will be a product to watch during the course of 2017.

I have also chosen the lantern roof market because of a rather special acquisition of one of the longest established lantern roof makers, Roof Maker Ltd. I wrote about that too, you can read about that here. It was a big deal because to my knowledge it was the first acquisition of a dedicated lantern roof supplier in the market. They fetched a decent price too of £30m. This was the kind of deal that raised the valuations of the other lantern roof suppliers across the sector.

This is why I included them in this list.

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3. The whole of the PVCu fabrication sector

Is it too much to say that PVCu fabrication is in a state of flux right now? The number of PVCu fabricators is in terminal decline. Profit margins are being squeezed. Production prices continue to rise. There needed to be some serious consolidation in that part of the market if it was to remain a profitable, influential part of the market.

And consolidate it did. One of the biggest market movers was Polyframe. After their management buyout in the middle of the year, they started to exercise their buying power. One of their bigger moves was their acquisition of the WB Group. Already a large established fabricator. As you’d expect, I wrote about that one as well. Read that here.

Synseal, of the UK’s biggest syscos, also got in on the acquisition trail with their purchase of the manufacturing assets of IGU makers Euroview Manufacturing Limited. Eurocell bought Vista Panels earlier on in the year. There was a management buy-in at Sash UK. Sweden based Inwido bought CWG Choices for £11.6m. That’s a fair bit of restructuring. That’s why I chose it for my top 5.

One last thing, it ain’t over yet. Rumours are there’s a very big one in the pipeline. And I think 2017 will be littered with further acquisitions as the market looks to consolidate further.

4. Residential aluminium

It’s been a rather good year for the residential aluminium. The resurgence of this part of the market continued in good strength in 2016, with many reporting very strong rises in sales throughout the year.

Whilst PVCu fabrication is currently going through some systemic changes and difficulties, the residential aluminium market is going in the opposite direction. More and more fabricators are adding an aluminium option alongside their PVCu products. More and more installers are selling aluminium, expanding their existing options to home owners too.

The market didn’t have the most dramatic year ever, but it’s strong performance and growing industry importance is the reason why I included it in this list.

5. Solid roofs

Rounding off my top 5 list is the solid roof sector. We saw it have a big presence during the FIT Show this year, with a number of suppliers bringing new and existing offerings to the market place. Whilst glass roofs remain a popular seller, it’s clear in which direction the industry thinks the roof market is going.

I’m not privy to any specific figures from suppliers or from the sector as a whole, but on the sounds and murmurings from those who have spoken and I’ve spoken too, solid roofs have had another good year.

Home owners have been the real driving force behind the very rapid rise of the solid roof glazed extension. Tired of the same old problems of tacky White boxes on the back of their homes. Solid roofs have given them a genuinely better alternative to their extended living plans. Proper climate control, warmth and quiet. Just like a solid extension.

For the traditional conservatory roof fabricators who latched on to the trend quickly, they will be doing very well. This year saw more models enter the market place, keeping the sector competitive. 2017 could be a very interesting year for the solid roof market.

These are just my own personal thoughts, and I encourage feedback and your own suggestions on what sectors have been shaking things up in our industry.

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