It’s nearly the end of the year, and some companies will start to look at tweaking things for 2017. One of things will be expanding their product portfolios, both for installers and fabricators.

If so, then I would suggest that aluminium is at the top of the list. The industry is going through a massive phase of change, and aluminium is a big part of that.

Ignore aluminium at your own risk

For fabricators and installers, aluminium is one of the strongest areas of growth in which to attack. I have written in previous posts that the state of PVCu fabrication is not in a good place. The numbers of pure PVCu fabricators has fallen steadily for the last five years or so, and in decent numbers. Whilst at the same time the number of installers and fabricators getting stuck into aluminium has risen at the same steady rate.

And it’s not as if the rise of aluminium has been driven by the industry. It has been led very much by the home owner, desperate to find something different other than PVCu. In turn, fabricators have moved to accommodate the rise in demand, and so have installers. Not all though, and I think that this is a big mistake.

Our industry is made up of many areas, however not all are growing at the rate residential aluminium is. I would say that residential aluminium is growing with similar strength to the lantern roof sector, composite door sector and bi-fold market too. So to ignore residential aluminium is a risk that I really wouldn’t want to take.

DGB Business

Innovate or die

In business, if you don’t innovate, you’ll die. Your competition will move ahead of you, will steal your market share and will most probably force you out of business. No one ever became successful by standing still.

So for 2017, a path for growth for many companies will be found in aluminium. The product, in it’s many forms for it’s many systems companies, is far better now than their 70s and 80s counterparts. Energy efficiency levels are matching that of their PVCu brethren. And aesthetically aluminium is one of the leading products, especially some of the residential doors.

I think it’s actually more important for fabricators to move to aluminium quicker than it is for installers. The state of PVCu fabrication is not in a healthy state right now, but adding a line of aluminium should unlock a healthy new vein of growth potential. For two reasons. Not only could it attract new installers to the business, but it would then unlock the opportunity for all their existing installers to start selling aluminium to home owners as well.

For me, a fabricator fit for 2017 has to be selling two types of window product. But so does an installer. Home owner demand for aluminium is no longer patch and regional. It was at one point. Not so long ago, when the aluminium renaissance was just picking up steam, at our place we seemed to be missing the boat. Up here in the north, we’re not quite as affluent as you lot down south, where aluminium seemed to be gathering pace. Roll on a few years and that situation is reversed. We see a sizeable demand at our place for aluminium, and have adapted to suit, as per the featured image above on this post.

Our economy, our sector and the global economy faces some uncertain times. We’ll probably be fine. But just in case, for 2017, my advice would be to start hitting the residential aluminium market hard and make the most of a growing sector that is outperforming many other parts of UK fenestration.

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