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GGP August 2017

24 G L A S S & G L A S S P R O C E S S I N G Life begins at 40 As the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) celebrates its 40th anniversary year, GGPcaught up with Mike Preedy, managing director of Preedy Glass – one of the founder members of the GGF – to find out more about how the company and the GGP: What was it that attracted you to the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) 40 years ago? Mike Preedy (MP): Preedy Glass was already in the Flat Glass Association (FGA), which was one of the four trade associations which merged to form the GGF. Our company and family have been in the industry for over 100 years since my great grandfather, Joseph Preedy, started his glass merchant business in 1913 in London’s West End, working on the production of lead lights, mirrors and windows, including stained glass windows, which adorn numerous types of buildings. My grandfather, Alfred Preedy, and great uncle, Stanley Preedy, took over the running of the business during the Second World War and developed it significantly. They were responsible for ensuring the company led the way in terms of standards and professionalism and they first subscribed the company to the FGA. It was the third generation of my family – my father Graham, his brother Derek, and their cousin Roy – who then subscribed the company to the GGF at its inception. Graham was chairman of the mirror group of the GGF. This generation was responsible for changing the direction of our company from a glass merchant that bought most of our processed glass in, into a glass processing business, known for its thick glass capabilities, and high quality and unusual edge profile finishes, and also as a glass ironmongery supplier to complement the glass business. Since then, the fourth generation of our family glass, glazing and fittings’ business, is still very proud to serve our environment and continues to enrich our history, with three members of the Preedy family actively involved. GGP: What changes have you seen over the years? MP: Technology has changed the industry incredibly. When I joined the business, edge polishing of even rectangular glass always used to be carried out by hand on upright belt machines, and with modern automated glass processing machinery, the amount of processed glass produced in our modern factory has increased dramatically from those times, and enables us to work much more efficiently. However, machines can’t do everything, and there are still some processes in the glass trade that need craftspeople to carry out, and one of the challenges for the industry is to keep those skills alive. We now have more advanced glass products and glazing techniques, and as a specialist processor, we stock more different types of glass than in any other time in our history. “Customers too have changed. They are now more informed and demanding than ever before” Glass used to be a material mainly used for glazing windows. Now it is an aspirational interior and architectural product where the edges of the glass are exposed and seen as a thing of beauty, for example, in frameless glass shower enclosures, balustrades and showcases. With the advance of specialist coatings in double and now triple glazing, the thermal insulation of glass has improved beyond all recognition from the old days of 4mm single glazed glass with condensation running down the inside! Customers too have changed. They are now more informed and demanding than ever before, mainly thanks to the internet age and of course they are more protected with legislation and policy. Standards have also improved, almost beyond recognition, in line with increased competition and more knowledgeable customers expecting better quality, in quicker time periods. We also need to comply with more legislation changes such as the Construction Product Regulations in 2013 which has meant compulsory CE marking. It is a very different market and world today from 1977. GGP: How has being a member of the GGF benefited your business? MP: The technical support is invaluable. Whether it’s referencing GGF technical information/literature, phoning the GGF up for help, using GGF information to keep ahead of changing legislation/policy, or going to a technical meeting to discuss an issue with a like-minded company. We have also attended many London region meetings over the years, and the networking and building of contacts in the industry has proved useful. We are also members of the Glass Charter Award Scheme that the GGF set up as its way of improving standards and knowledge generally in health and safety in the glass industry, which it has now made mandatory for new business joining the GGF. I was at the inaugural meeting, and this has been another area where there have been tremendous improvements in the glass industry, on sites and in our business, which makes us all much more professional. industry at large has evolved over the last 40 years. www.ggpmag.com August 2017


GGP August 2017
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