Expert for Roof Windows

Jim Blanthorne

Managing Director

profile

Jim Blanthorne

With a career spanning 20 years in the supply of building materials to merchant and retail customers, including 14 years in a senior capacity at Metsa Group, Jim brings extensive construction industry experience to this category. Recently appointed to Managing Director of Keylite Roof Windows, Jim joined the Keystone Group in 2016 as International Operations Director for the business. During this time he has led the development and implementation of ambitious investment programmes to progress and future proof the business. Central to Jim’s approach and drive is his passion for exceptional customer service, people development and operational excellence.

Keylite Roof Windows

Keylite Roof Windows was established in Cookstown, Northern Ireland in 2001, as a subsidiary of the Keystone Group. Today it is the fastest growing roof window manufacturer in Europe and one of the biggest brands in the UK roof windows market. This success is largely a result of a company which has been driven by an ingrained and intuitive spirit of innovation, continuous investment in R&D and a total commitment in putting the customer at the heart of its business.

Renowned for its award winning innovations, Keylite believes in continually adding value to the Keylite Roof Window as standard without compromise. A combination of unique patented technologies such as the Integrated Expanding Thermal Collar, Flick Fit Brackets, Unique Sash Finger Spring and recessed fit feature in every window.

Keylite offers a full range of roof windows products, designed for every size and category of building project, an extensive range of genuine Keylite Blinds, as well as roof window accessories including timber loft ladders, flashings and electric operation kits. Ongoing expansion of the range includes a range of flat roof solutions including Roof Lanterns, Flat Glass Rooflights and Sunlite systems.

The business has over 300 employees across its sites, with offices in Northern Ireland and Burton Gateway, South Derbyshire. The relocation in 2019 to brand new 40,000 sq ft office and warehouse premises at Burton Gateway greatly enhances Keylite’s ability to service and supply the UK and Ireland markets more effectively. Keylite’s roof windows are manufactured in Poland, in a 160,000 sq ft factory which has benefited from a significant investment programme during recent years, significantly improving the safety, quality and reliability of manufacturing activity.

Find out more at www.keyliteroofwindows.com or visit the Keystone Group website at www.keystonegroup.co.uk

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Keylite Roof Windows Comment: Q4 2020

Jim Blanthorne Managing Director of Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.

The year 2020 must go down as one of the most uncertain years of all time and the uncertainty continued right up to the wire in Q4, with Brexit and Covid competing to be the most disruptive. However, while Brexit and Covid related angst ruled the headlines, the UK construction and RMI sectors showed remarkable resilience in the face of continued restrictions. The fact that demand remained so strong is to be celebrated in these difficult times.

Demand was fuelled by a combination of revealed need and accumulating funds to satisfy that need. With a large proportion of the working population sent home to work, or furloughed, often sharing their too small living spaces with young children, homeowners’ priorities shifted rapidly to improving the comfort and convenience of their living spaces, including rooms in the roof. Unable to spend on holidays and entertainment, bank balances of some have continued to swell. By December, the Bank of England reported over £100bn in their bank accounts. Currently, this is estimated to have grown to around £125bn, and forecasts suggest it could be £250bn by July.

There were well documented supply issues, with manufacturers battling to meet strong demand due to factors ranging from severe disruption in Global shipping to Covid related staff absences. This will inevitably flow through in material prices, with timber in particular continuing to pose challenges.

As a multi-national business with operations in Northern Ireland, Poland, and the UK, Keylite Roof Windows prepared comprehensively for Brexit, and all those preparations stood us in good stead. Strict Covid controls also remained in place across our operating sites to ensure we kept our people safe and our supply uninterrupted.

Our sales teams also adapted to new ways of working, getting busy on the phones and video calls. We were rewarded with exceptional sales demand, with double digit growth in Q4 over the previous year. December was particularly strong, driven by merchant customers stocking-up to avoid potential Brexit related disruption as the end of the transition period approached.

As we enter 2021, the market remains strong. Shipping challenges are abating, and we continue to build stock in support of what we expect to be a strong year.