Wow, time really does fly when you’re busy or having fun. We’re at the end of May already and fast approaching the half-way mark in 2018. You’ll see that the featured image I have chosen is that of a sunny scene, marking the stark change in fortunes in May, with a really good start to Spring. It’s felt like Summer for most of the month. Good weather always being good for business.

So, as we start to look towards the second half of the year, it’s time to take stock of the major things in UK fenestration in May. There was plenty to go at.

The feel for business

So far this year, I think it’s been fairly positive. It’s well known the very biggest and least agile installers have suffered. But for everyone else, especially the SME’s of the sector, the commentary has been pretty upbeat. New products and new options within those product range have given smaller installers more tools to win the business away from their larger competitors. Fabricators have been on hand to help deliver that innovation and diversification.

That being said, I also get the sense that any growth our sector has had has been erratic. Feedback from the ground tells me that the major issues of product quality and customer service in 2017 from fabricators to installers remains a very serious problem today. To add to that stress, I know that smaller installers have been struggling to facilitate their growth due to a lack of skilled people to do the work.

I got that sense acutely in May. Business does seem to be pretty brisk on a very general basis throughout, but as we head into the middle of the year, as our sector becomes even busier, we’re already hitting a severe pinch point where there is far too much work being signed up and not enough skilled people available to carry that work out. During my discussions in May with my various contacts this was very much the feedback I was getting. I can say from my perspective, working in a small installations business, that is is very much the case right now.

As it stands, we’re selling faster than we’re fitting. Not a bad problem to have. At least we’re not having to scramble around for bits of work. But we’re facing a problem where we’re struggling to bring on board quality talent to carry out our work. It’s at times like this you get to really understand the severe lack of skilled people our sector has. I’m not sure that if we get any busier that we’ll simply buckle and things will fall out of control.

The big stories

In the middle of the month we had the news that super-fabricators Emplas had acquired a leading IGU business in Padiham glass. Both big names in the UK fenestration sector, this was yet another example of a bigger company buying their way into another part of the market. You can catch up on that news by clicking here. We’re going to see more M&A of this type over the next couple of years as companies with the available cash decide to buy their way into new parts of the market rather than grow it organically.

We also had the very first Glazing Summit, held on 22nd May. Unfortunately, due to a family bereavement I was unable to attend. However, the news coming out of the event seemed pretty positive. It attracted 400 industry leaders and there was plenty to talk about with 9 sessions of discussion, plus an evening dinner. You can read the full article on this by clicking here.

The Safestyle story also took another twist as it was announced they had launched a legal complaint against Safeglaze UK. As this is now a legal matter between the two I’ll leave it there. But you can catch up on the news by clicking here.

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How DGB did

He’s my monthly breakdown of the stats that matter. It was another good month…

I was really pleased to reach a new daily page views record at the end of the month. I suspect that it had something to do with the content published on that day and the fact that I had a tweak of the home page to try and make things a bit easier for people to navigate on mobile devices. Either way, a record is a record. At some point this year I would like to break the 2500 barrier.

As for the progress on the yearly targets, at this rate they should all be wrapped up by mid-October to early November. The task for me at this point is to build up as much momentum as possible and end the year as positively as possible.

Top 5 most read posts

  1. Safestyle Files Legal Claim Against Safeglaze

  2. Safestyle Chairman Resigns & Court Update

  3. Should We Still Be Using Silicone To Seal Up Windows And Doors?

  4. Top 5 Fenestration Companies Shaking Things Up Right Now

  5. FENSA vs Certass: What’s The Difference?

Number 3 and 5 on this list surprise me a little. Post number 3 was published in November 2016, and number 5 was published in December 2013.

A look ahead

We’re approaching the half way point in the year and this will be a natural stopping point for many of us to take stock of the year so far. It’s also the last full month before the school holidays hit us. I anticipate it being a busy one for installers. Oh, and there’s some football tournament on I’ve heard.

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