Expert for Roof Windows

John Duffin

Keystone Group 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: Q3 2019

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

What a mixed bag 2019 has been, and quarter three was no different.

July sales were well ahead of the previous year, but a weaker August and September left roof window sales much the same at the end of Q3 as they were at the end of Q2 – in high single figures up on 2018.

In quarter two, regional abnormalities saw growth in the Irish market offsetting the UK. Quarter three has now seen these variations ironed out and growth is more consistent across all regions.

New build has been steady throughout the quarter and indications from our national and regional housebuilding customers are that this will continue until the end of the year. Forecasts for 2020 volumes range from flat to +5%. However, RMI (the housing repair, maintenance and improvement sector) which accounts for the bulk of sales will deliver any growth that’s forecast.

As we enter the real pantomime season, in contrast to the unending parliamentary panto we seem to have been in for the past three years, it will take a positive majority outcome from the December 12th election to restore consumer confidence. In the face of continued Brexit uncertainty, GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index fell 3 points to -14 this October. However, not to overstate the gloom, for major purchases such as room-in-the-roof projects where roof windows are required, the GfK’s Major Purchase Index has slipped 3 points from October 2018, but it’s still positive at +1, which indicates growth.

Consumers need a boost in confidence to fuel the growth in over-the-counter sales within builders’ merchants if the roof window industry is to see another double-digit growth year.

Regardless of what happens at government level, Keylite will maintain its readiness to deal with any outcome, and we continue to hold high levels of raw materials and finished goods stock. This ensures that we are perfectly positioned to weather even the most uncertain of storms. Quarter four has got off to a steady start, the like of which high street businesses might be envious. Let’s just hope they are all still here when it comes to loading up Santa’s sleigh!

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.