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: Q4 2019

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

The performance of the roof window market in quarter four continued on the downwards trajectory set in the latter months of quarter three. This meant the double-digit growth experienced at the end of June was eroded still further, with 2019 managing only single-figure year-on-year growth.

Compared to repair maintenance and improvement (RMI), house building is a small contributor to the overall roof window market, but it was surprisingly strong for Keylite. This may not reflect the NHBC “start” figures, but it aligns better with many of the national house builders’ reported growth stats for the full year. Traditionally this happens as plots are ‘finished out’ and made watertight before the full onset of winter.

However, the main barometer for roof windows is over-the-counter (OTC) builders’ merchants’ sales to the RMI market. Quarter four saw OTC sales flatten compared to the same quarter in 2018. This resulted in the previously high single-figure growth reported in quarter three dropping away in the final quarter. The dip, driven by weaker consumer confidence in the run up to the December 12th election, looks like it may be reversing. That may reflect the fact that we now have a stable majority government and at least some certainty regarding our direction of travel. As we head out through the EU exit door and start to negotiate our future trade deals ahead of 31st Dec 2020, consumer and business confidence are – in mid-February as this is written – bouncing back.

As I’ve commented in previous reports, Keylite is holding high levels of raw materials and finished goods so we can maintain our readiness to deal with any outcome of the upcoming Brexit negotiations. We will build further on our specification sales in 2020 and, along with an exciting new product launch planned for April, we have every opportunity to fuel our growth ahead of the market.

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.