I was contemplating one huge single review of last week’s FIT Show, but the more I thought about it, it would have been as long as a Bible Testament and would have got very boring at 3000 words in! So, I’ll breaking it up into a series of posts. I am kicking off with a review of the products and the direction seems to be going in. If I miss your product out in anyway, don’t take it personally, there was that much to see over the three days!

The future is flush

I think that one of the big themes to take away from the show is that the industry is seriously pushing flush sash windows now.

It was Residence 9 that can be credited with blowing wide open what was very much a niche product when it launched a few years ago. Since then, the market has changed and a range of fabricators and syscos have brought out their own version of flush sash windows. Some good, some not so good.

At this year’s FIT Show, my big take away on the product front is that the window industry is lurching very much in the flush direction. There was a number of new flush sash products on show this year, as well as some re-launched flush products that have been around for a little while. One of the best re-launches I saw this year was Modus.

This flush sash product from Eurocell achieves impressive U-Values and comes with an impressive range of product and wood grain effects. This particular one on the John Fredericks stand is Anteak and is a personal favourite colour of mine. However, when it initially launched the build quality was questionable, and I don’t think Eurocell would deny this.

Fast forward to today and there have been a number of build improvements. Enough to make me think that this is now a window product that could start making waves. It has the looks, it now has a better build quality, and it also boasts 44mm triple glazing, which as we all know, is the point at which triple glazing is worth doing.

Long term, it’s clear after this year’s FIT Show that the industry believes flush sash is where the sector needs to go next. PVCu I feel has reached a ceiling, and it now has to take styling tips from the timber and aluminium sectors in order to maintain innovation and evolution.

Inotherm – the coolest thing there

Well, at least in the door market. Inotherm didn’t have the biggest stand at the exhibition this year, but their doors certainly made a massive impact. Just take a look at some of these absolutely outrageous entrance doors:

In all honesty pictures didn’t do these doors justice. In the flesh these doors were superb. I loved the design, the hardware, the colours, the glass. Everything about it demonstrated the future of entrance doors. They probably aren’t cheap, but if they perform as good as they look, it would be money very well spent.

Sage Glass

I couldn’t visit this year’s FIT Show and not see the brilliant Sage Glass product for myself. I already knew how good it was, the technology is a no brainer. I will be writing a post shortly focusing on some of the brilliant technology on display this year, so I don’t want to go too deep into this right now.

But judging by the number of order forms signed already, and the traffic on the stand over the three days, it’s clear that the UK market sees an opening for a glass product of this nature.

Now here’s an interesting point. Lets say, in five years time, Sage Glass becomes established and it’s popularity rises. What happens to the solid roof? Sage Glass remedies all the problems of an old conservatory roof that a solid roof does, but maintains a constant view, gives the home owner control of vision and climate control, without the weight and bulk of a solid roof. Could this be a challenger to the crown?

Roseview’s sexy sash

I was very happy to see the guys at Roseview at the FIT Show. They’re all a great, friendly bunch of hard working people who keep their heads down and continue to produce some of the best PVCu sash windows on the market. Mike will also tell you that their products were the true and original “timber alternative” PVCu products and that everyone else is copying!

Still, this window caught my eye immediately, and although it may not jump out at you at first, but just notice how much slimmer they have made that central bar. Every time a few millimeters is shaved off, they get closer and closer to the real timber thing. Very happy I saw this and I can see orders coming in thick and fast once this product goes live in a few weeks time.

Window Ware’s smart cylinder

Technology was a big theme at this year’s show, and one product in particular that I wanted to see was Window Ware’s Libra Smart Cylinder:

Thumb turn operating internally, with a sleek black NFC controlled fob externally, any device with a NFC chip in it can be used to operate the cylinder and gain access to the door. That means no more keys. Just raise your phone, the black fob releases and you can turn it to open up the door and in you go.

It amazes me that in 2016, when you consider how advanced most other areas of our life have become, that just about every residential door in the UK is still be used via a traditional handle and key. I hope that with products like the Libra Smart Cylinder that this pattern changes.

Innovation, but nothing game changing

If you want my honest opinion, much of what I saw last week was great innovation, made to a high quality. Products that have been built on over time and diversified into new areas. But I did not seeing anything that told me the game had been changed.

I saw product ranges that had expanded. I saw technological advances of products that are currently on the market. I saw many great products that have been improved further. But I did not see the promised “game changers” that were marketed before the show.

And there’s the problem. Game changing products are rare, by their very nature. A game changing product to me is something on the scale of when PVCu was first introduced to the UK in the 70’s. Or when Evolution and Residence 9 created the modern day timber alternative market. Or the first high security door cylinder to combat lock snapping. These are all game changing products. I cannot say I saw similar last week.

But I do not think that’s a bad thing. The industry has become immensely diverse in recent years, with innovation perhaps at it’s highest rate ever. With a sector that rapidly changes so much, did it really need something as seismic as a game changer?

I’m happy with the game the way it is. It’s moving on at a brisk pace, with range and choice the best it’s ever been.

To all those showing products at this year’s FIT Show, a big well done. There was some seriously good stuff on show, and if I haven’t given you a mention, it’s nothing personal, I just had to end this post at some point!

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