Expert for PVC-U Windows & Doors

Steve Halford

Group Managing Director


Steve Halford

Having worked in the building industry for almost 30 years, Steve has a broad and comprehensive knowledge of the sector, as well as a wealth of industry experience.

From being ‘on the tools’ during the 80’s, Steve then joined an independent builders’ merchant in a sales role and rapidly became part of the Directors’ key team. Steve’s work contributed to the business ultimately being acquired by a National merchant chain.

Steve then went on to initiate a Joinery Distribution business, which after 3 years of exponential growth, was also acquired by a National merchant.

For the next several years Steve worked with global timber manufacturer JELD-WEN in a National Sales Development role, before moving to Ultraframe PLC for 9 years and progressing to UK Sales & Marketing Director. In 2011 Steve joined Crystal Direct, where he is currently Group Managing Director.

The Crystal Group

Crystal is a made to measure PVCu manufacturer with a difference – it is agile, focussed and committed, and places strong emphasis on its supplier performance to merchant customers.

With a huge product range, full comprehensive marketing support, UK Nationwide delivery to depot or site, fully accredited and CE Marked products,a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty and products delivered in days not weeks, Crystal is the PVCu supplier of choice for merchants, and an approved NMBS supplier, as well as a BMF supplier member.

Crystal’s factory & HQ are based in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, supported by 16 regional distribution depots across the UK.

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The Crystal Group comment: Q3 2018

Steve Halford, Group Managing Director The Crystal Group is BMBI’s Expert for PVC-U Windows & Doors.

After decades when they were unable to sell bespoke PVC-U windows and doors competitively, builders’ merchants discovered that with the right package they could sell very successfully. Since then, growth has been electric. As the sector market leader, our own numbers show no sign of slowing.

Q3 enquiry levels were 30% up year-on-year, 8.2% up on Q2 2018. Orders were 35% up year-on-year, and 9% up on Q2. There’s been a big interest from merchants in the tools that help them grow eg showroom and display products, and requests for advice on online configuration and design are up strongly. Average hits a day from merchants on ‘use of configurator’ are up 42% year-on-year. Developers seeking ‘price from plans’ are up 28%. Requests for supply and fit services are rising.

Throughout the supply chain, buyer behaviour is changing. Day to day, the pace of change isn’t obvious, but compared with five years ago it’s dramatic. Most builders and installers have a smartphone. Many run their business from it. But the more we personally buy from companies like Amazon that offer almost instant availability, the more we personally want it. Asked do we really need it now, we may say no. But asked would we like it now, we say yes. We also want it easy, and the slicker and quicker the better. Once we’ve taken the decision to buy, we want it now! The days when we were happy waiting weeks are over.

A recent Bain & Company survey found only 8% of customers believe they’re getting a great customer experience, while 80% of organisations believe they’re giving a great experience!

By making every step of a homeowners’ Omnichannel journey – from searching online and initial engagement, to instore product viewing; helping them narrow the choice with informed advice and knowledge so they can decide and buy; to offering home-fitting using trusted and independently verified tradespeople – easier, quicker, more convenient and friction free, the customer experience you offer gets closer to what customers value.

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.