Clearview North Feb 2013 - Issue 135 - Page 44

INDUSTRYNEWS 2013 – A YEAR OF CHALLENGE OR OPPORTUNITY? No-one is predicting a year of growth for the door and window industry in 2013 and there are certainly challenges looming on the horizon. But, as BEN PENSON, technical director of grouphomesafe, points out in this article, there will be opportunities for those who can demonstrate that they are different from the competition. One of the key challenges for 2013 will come in July with the introduction of CE marking which will place additional pressure on fabricators. It will be a challenge principally since, although in reality only six months away, so few in the industry are ready for it. The new regulations state that CE marking will be required on “any product or kit which is provided and placed on the market for incorporation in a permanent manner in construction works or parts thereof and the performance of which has an effect on the performance of the construction works with respect to the basic requirements for construction works.” In short, this means that any products, such as window systems and door sets, falling within this definition will have to be accompanied by a Declaration of Performance and display the CE mark. Fabricators who currently certify products through schemes such as the BSI Kitemark will already have much of the evidence required to support CE marking, but with all external doors and windows needing to meet the CPR requirements, those manufacturers who have so far opted not to certify products will still find themselves forced to comply. Many are confused about how to go about meeting the requirements – some are not even aware that they will have to meet them. In terms of confusion, matters aren’t helped by the fact that the industry as a whole hasn’t established how to declare U-values, the problem being that the calculations for the BFRC energy ratings, which around 60% of the industry is signed up to, don’t comply with those required for CE marking. Those are issues that the industry as a whole needs to address but there is also a lot that fabricators can do to help themselves prepare for the changes, starting by looking to their supply chains. There is a huge advantage in using credible suppliers who can provide advice and guidance on what is required to produce a window or door fabrication for CE marking. Not only will they be able to supply products with all of the necessary accreditations and proof, they will be well versed in all of the requirements of the new regulations. Those fabricators who have previously bought primarily on price may need to review their supply arrangements and secure a reliable supply of correctly tested and approved components or risk having a product that doesn’t meet the standard. Something that has been welcomed as a potential shot in the arm for the industry is the Government’s Green Deal which launches in January. The basis of the scheme is that home improvements are paid for through the electricity bill. The scheme’s so-called ‘Golden Rule’ requires that the money saved on energy (electricity, gas or oil) should be the same as, or more than, the costs added to the electricity bill to fund the work. The scheme includes replacement doors and windows, so, in theory, should provide increased sales opportunities. In reality, however, the payback won’t be achieved unless you are replacing very poorly performing single glazed windows. Consumers who are aware of the scheme may be holding back on spending in the hope that the Green Deal will pay for their replacement doors and windows – and they may well be disappointed. What fabricators need to realise is that the big providers under the scheme may be looking purely at the energy efficiency of the windows and will, inevitably, go for the cheapest option. Opportunity for the rest of the market rests in looking at aspects other than energy efficiency, such as enhanced security. By adding value to the basics, you are creating a much more compelling product for the consumer looking to improve their home as well as save on energy costs which is something they won’t necessarily be able to get through the Green Deal. The same applies in relation to the delayed Part L revision. Inevitably, this will raise the minimum standards in terms of energy efficiency, with A and B rated products likely to be the standard. With the revision further driving energy efficient products, this will become a given within window performance. 44 FEB 2013 To read more, visit www.clearview-uk.com