Expert for Roof Windows

John Duffin

Managing Director


John Duffin

John trained as an engineer and graduated from the University of Ulster, Jordanstown with a BSc Hons in Building Engineering and Management, Built Environment. He subsequently joined the Keystone Group as Technical Manager of Keystone Lintels in 1996 playing a significant role in the development of the business in GB.

Just under 10 years later John was appointed Managing Director of Keylite Roof Windows, taking the helm of a fast growing business. This included managing its innovation pipeline and expansion across Europe for the last 10 years.

John has successfully grown Keylite into the UK’s No.2 Roof Windows brand driven by an uncompromising pursuit of investment in R&D, and delivering ground breaking innovation to continuously add value to the award winning Keylite range.

John’s 20-year career with the Keystone Group and more recently the Keylite company has forged strong relationships across the entire construction trade, and he is renowned for his unrivalled commitment to exceptional customer service.

Keylite Roof Windows

Keylite Roof Windows was established in Cookstown, Co.Tyrone 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. Most recently Keylite was acknowledged by the London Stock Exchange 2016 report as one of the most inspiring companies in Europe.

Renowned for its award winning innovations, Keylite believes in continually adding value to the Keylite Roof Window as standard – a combination of features referred to as Futhertherm, which offers a number of unique patented features in every window, such as the Integrated Expanding Thermal Collar, Flick Fit Brackets, Unique Sash Finger Spring and recessed fit.

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.

The business has over 400 employees across its sites, with offices in Cookstown, N.Ireland, and Swadlincote, South Derbyshire. Keylite’s roof windows are manufactured in Poland. Due to continued expansion Keylite will be moving to a new purpose built 200,000 sq. ft. factory in Zambrow, Poland in 2017.

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Keylite Roof Windows Comment: Q2 2019

John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.

Roof window growth was still in double figures in Q2 (as in Q1) with strong regional performances compensating for weaker regions, for example strong growth in both Northern Ireland and cross-border sales in the Republic of Ireland.

Overall, there was a fall in roof window year-on-year growth – below 10% for the first time in June with a poor June reported by all UK merchant partners. July seems to have rebounded but only time will tell by how much.

Regional and national housebuilder customer growth has remained steady in low single figures but it’s a small share of the total roof window market. Site registrations are strong and with good demand and the ‘Help to Build’ scheme in place until 2022, we don’t predict any decline in this sector. Sales of Keylite over-the-counter sales, for example, predominately to the RMI sector, outstrip sales to new build and boost performance of our merchant partners. This makes roof windows a good news story for merchants wanting to grow regional market share.

As ever, the RMI sector is a barometer of consumer confidence and disposable income, and homeowners’ willingness to renovate or improve properties. Perhaps the June sales dip was a consequence of the weakness in sterling with the increased cost of hard-earned foreign holidays taking a bigger share of family spending, with holidays prioritised over potential home improvements.

Political jockeying in the Conservative party won’t have helped sterling in the short term but hopefully the return of some degree of leadership will help confidence in the currency markets in Q3. This is all before the ‘Oh yes we will!’ – ‘Oh no you won’t!’ no-deal pantomime hits the stage in October.

In summary, while Keylite and the roof window sector have enjoyed another good quarter, I believe construction has been treading water in Q2 on the back of stock building prior to March 31st . Until we have some clarity on Brexit I think Q3 may need someone to throw it a buoyancy aid if we are to maintain momentum.

Launched in 2015, the award winning monthly Builders Merchant Building Index (BMBI) report is the only reliable measure of repair, maintenance & improvement (RMI) activity in the UK. Filling an important gap, it can be widely used in construction, and by economists, Government, national media, commentators and influencers outside the industry.