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: Q3 2018

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

Quarter three has continued positively as the roof window industry experienced another double-digit growth period. This reflects the increase in construction output reported by the ONS (+2.1% for the quarter) and a record registration of new build homes reported by the NHBC. Their latest report suggested that UK builders registered more than 43,500 new homes in Q3 2018, the highest quarter since 2007. We believe this was due largely to the sustained good summer weather, allowing the industry to more than recover the losses from the poor start to the year.

The growth of white finished product continues to dominate the roof window market: white PVC products now accounts for 25% of Keylite sales. Flat roofing products are also rising in popularity, indicative of the buoyant home improvement market.

The value of sterling has been volatile over the quarter, with no clarity on Brexit and the ‘Deal or No Deal’ scenario. However, sterling’s strengthening at the end of the period suggests that people feel Brexit is likely to become Brino (Brexit In Name Only), with no exit from the Customs Union. While uncertainty continues, the strength of RMI may indicate a trend to improve rather than move home, which is good for roof windows.

We believe manufacturers should ensure they’re prepared for a ‘No Deal Brexit.’ For Keylite, this means increasing our stock holding in our Midlands distribution centre and the use of container logistics on short sea crossings to avoid potential bottlenecks at Dover. Last quarter, we cited consumer confidence and bank lending being pivotal for the long-term market. This is still the case with continued uncertainty as we come into the final few pre-Brexit months.

Online selling remains a threat for the economy despite the relief granted in the Chancellor’s budget for high street retailers. This has implications for builders’ merchants, but unlike some industry partners, we see this as a potential growth area. There may be opportunities for merchants, particularly in partnership with manufacturers who are willing to invest in online support on merchants’ behalf.

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.