Since 2007, one in ten fabricators has given up on fabrication. Anyway you look at that, ten percent is a big number considering the amount of fabricators in business in our industry.

Data supplier Windowbase compiled the report, and what is worse is what is in this next paragraph:

“Looking back over the five years since 2007, the market has lost 20% of PVC fabricators”, commented Neil Parsonson, database manager at Windowbase. “But the last 12 months have seen the rate of decline accelerate. These figures only cover the net number of fabricators – if companies going into liquidation and re-starting are taken into account, the churn rate is even higher. The number of aluminium fabricators – and PVC fabricators also offering aluminium – has risen substantially since 2007. Meanwhile the total number of PVC installers has increased by 7% in the same period.

Ten percent isn’t really the right number, it is in reality higher than that. With a lot of fabricators doing exactly what the industry hates: phoenixing. What is interesting is the rising number of PVC fabricators starting to move into the aluminium market. Conservatory Outlet for example have now started to try and break into that market, but rather than fabricating they have chosen to buy in. Probably wise as that way no big investment is made in equipment and so on, so if things don’t work out they can pull out.

PVC fabricators have to be careful about moving into the aluminium market. The industry has on a whole has been struggling for the last 5 years, so making a bold move into a market that is showing signs of life but has also seen a sharp rise in the number of ali fabricators could be risky.

Take a look at this graph, courtesy of Windowbase:

The aluminium market is the only one which has shown positive growth in terms of fabricators. Does that mean we should all go running over to the ‘dark side’?! Sorry, only trying to wind up @GlazingGuru with that one! Seriously though, fabricators need to look at demand on a local level to assess whether it’s worth it. My local area for example sees very few leads come in to us asking for aluminium. We get the odd one for timber, but 99.8% of all leads are PVC. So, no good our local fabricators getting into ali. But if your area has seen a rise in the interest in aluminium, then maybe it might be worth taking a look at fabricating both materials.

Either way, there are 3 major things to take from this; PVC is suffering badly, aluminium is gaining ground, but the fabrication industry as a whole is suffering, and continues to suffer at an increased rate.