John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.
The roof window market had a strong start to the year with a busy first quarter, 8-9% up on the first three months of 2015. The overall market may not have been buoyant but the ‘room in a roof’ market is growing at just under 10% a year, more strongly in London and the south east where living space is limited and at a premium. This market is a big driver for roof windows.
‘Room in a roof’ is becoming a bigger part of the mix for large housebuilders, but around 60% of roof windows are installed in existing buildings, mostly by small builders. Homeowners and landlords are making the most of the space available. Rising house prices make it harder and expensive for people to move. Converting unused space in the roof to a practical, relatively low cost living area is an attractive alternative. Many loft conversions in existing homes are highly energy efficient, comfortable and airy; one of the better rooms in the home.
Roof window design is evolving quickly to reflect changing regulations as for the first time their performance is included in SAP targets to ensure thermal bridging is minimised. This makes it important for merchants to select and stock products which feature enhanced thermal efficiency as standard.
Similarly, the much reported skilled labour shortages are prompting builders to favour products which are quick and easy to fit and this is a further factor for merchants to consider when choosing products to promote.
As homeowners and builders increasingly switch on to the value of the space above them roof windows are becoming a key design feature, making buyers more aware and open to higher specification versions. This is a positive trend for merchants going forward as the opportunity to promote added value products will result in additional sales revenue from roof windows.