John Duffin, Managing Director Keylite Roof Windows is BMBI’s Expert for Roof Windows.
Q1 2019 has been a positive start to the year with good growth across New Build and the Repair Maintenance and Improvement (RMI) sector. Growth was again in double figures and even when adjusted for lost days due to last year’s harsher winter weather, it was still at 9%.
The run up to March 29th meant considerable time, effort and expense preparing for Brexit and the ‘deal or no deal’ scenarios thrown at the construction industry. Thankfully the government secured an extension therefore avoiding the precipice. The vast majority of roof windows supplied to the UK and Ireland are manufactured in mainland Europe. The nightmare of delayed imports due to new customs checks would have affected the whole roof window industry.
Some manufacturers have tried to share the burden and cost of increased stocks with merchant partners. Instead, we decided to increase our stockholding at our new distribution centre at Burton Gateway. This new 40,000 sq ft facility has enabled us to broaden our stock range and substantially deepen our stock holding by up to 30%.
The first quarter also saw a small price increase introduced to the market driven mainly by labour, distribution and material inflation. This increase was minimised due to the strengthening in sterling which will bring some welcome relief to suppliers of products sourced in mainland Europe.
Keylite believes that product innovation is essential to drive growth and we have been working with our housebuilding partners to develop modern alternatives to traditional products. The Keyline Dormer product, for example, is one result. It can be installed and made watertight in just a couple of hours. For consumers looking for more control over ventilation and light from their roof windows, Keylite Connect provides full window control via a new App including a ‘lock down’ security function.
The roof window market provides a strong growth opportunity for those prepared to solve real problems – as well as work with the potential disruptions.