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: Q4 2018

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

2018 ended more positively than it began as continued growth in quarter four erased the damage done by the Beast from the East in Q1. Excluding December, Q4 had an increasing sales run rate, resulting in strong roof window growth over the year.

National house builders recorded small growth in completions for the year, falling well behind forecasts made in 2017. In contrast, RMI continued strongly, enabling Keylite, for example, to finish the year with yet another year of double-digit growth on like-for-like sales. This seems to be a growing trend: while new housing supply fails to keep up with demand, RMI continues to flourish. For roof window manufacturers, this is a positive trend, especially in areas like London where space is at a premium and the main way to extend is moving upwards into the roof.

Increasingly, national house builders are seeking stock and supply commitments as ‘No Deal’ Brexit looms closer. Brexit-proofing plans are in place, but it remains to be seen what form Brexit takes, when it takes place, and what the real impact will be. ‘No Deal’ would be particularly difficult for the roof window industry, due to the significant cross-border sales and travel. Whether we have a ‘Deal’ or ‘No Deal’ the volume of almost-daily statements, debate and confusion emanating from parliament is sapping consumer and business confidence.

However, our outlook for 2019 is still for strong growth. Housing demand is high. A growing population, changing demographics and decades of under-building have left us short of living space. After the financial crisis of 2008 we saw the switch from ‘move’ to ‘improve’ where homeowners, unable to move, invested time and money in improving their living spaces. If this trend were to be reinforced by the outcome of Brexit, it should help fuel growth. This combination of new build and RMI projects will allow the roof window industry to push forward whatever the fallout from Brexit.

Loft convertors and merchants have seen growth in long life, high-performance white PVC roof windows, such as our Keylite Polar range, and new product launches will give consumers more reasons to buy roof windows in 2019.

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.