Yesterday’s post, titled Do It Like The Polish, was intended to show how much more advanced Poland is when it comes to improving their own building regulations. They have forced themselves into a position where U-Values have to come down, year by year, by law. We had the chance to do that in July but our Government crippled to watering them down.
Unfortunately, it’s not just U-Values where the UK is lagging well behind. In fact I’d go as far to say that the whole of the UK glazing sector is miles behind most of Western Europe.
A Twitter pal of mine @markmclean41 has been spending quite a lot of time recently in chilly Scandanavia. He has told me how much more advanced their whole glazing market is than ours, as well as other areas such as Passivhaus and general energy efficiency. I listened to what he had to say, and I could only agree with him.
Though it doesn’t take a trip to Sweden to understand how far behind our market it. The generally accepted commentary is that Germany and Austria are also leaps and bounds ahead of us. When Germany fits windows, they’re built to last. We think 25-30 years is a long time. Bit embarrassing really.
Internorm, a European fenestration specialist has started to make inrodes in the UK market. But one company isn’t going to inspire the whole of the UK market to refocus it’s efforts. Some are going to argue that if the general public aren’t asking for European standard glazing, why give it to them. Well, to that argument I would say that not many are willing to just spend money freely, they want to be persuaded to spend, which does mean a higher quality of products commands a higher price and therefore a higher margin. Therefore, a product that comes across as high quality sells itself the argument of the need for it.
We are a proud nation, proud about many things. In fact I think at one time we would have been proud about our own fenestration industry. But as we sat on our laurels, we let the rest of Europe catch us up and swing right on by us. I would guess that we are probably a good 25-30 years behind the technology and standards of certain European markets. In fact there are even a few American products coming out with better stats than we are making, especially in the glass roof department.
So, while we may be proud about the advancements currently taking place right now, it is worth bearing in mind that standards are moving much quicker in other parts of the world. If the UK is to stand out as a leading player in the global fenestration sector, we have a lot more to do.