Crystal Direct comment: Q4 2015

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

Until recently, both builders and the builders’ merchants who supplied them took windows and doors to mean timber windows and doors. Traditionally, that meant supplying standard sizes from stock, with space limitations and margin implications for builders’ merchants. It also meant choice and service limitations for their customers: builders and tradesmen of all sizes, from white van man to private developers, national and regional house builders.

A large and growing market, that bypassed merchants, developed to supply bespoke PVC-U windows and doors tailored to fit particular openings in particular buildings. They are supplied direct to installers and builders with short lead times at competitive prices.

In recent years, builders’ merchants have lost sales and margin as builders have switched from timber to PVC-U to meet a growing demand from their customers for low maintenance, long life windows and doors. They’ve been buying windows and doors from other suppliers, and getting used to made-to-measure PVC-U rather than standard size timber windows and doors from stock.

PVC-U accounts for over 80% of the New Build and repair maintenance and improvement window and door market. It’s a big market, worth around £5.5bn a year at installed value.

A large and growing number of builders’ merchants have now geared up to supply made-to-measure PVC-U windows and doors, and merchants’ sales to builders are growing rapidly. With a wider range of accessible, higher performance windows and doors, in a wide choice of types, designs and colours, merchant’s builder customers are winning more business with bespoke PVC-U windows and doors.

We expect sales through builders’ merchants to grow strongly during 2016. Whether the overall window and door market slows or speeds up, sales by builders’ merchants to builders will grow as merchants make it easier for their customers to buy PVC-U windows at their branch.

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