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GGP August 2017

35 D O O R S & C O M M E R C I A L E N T R A N C E S Lift-and-slide to eclipse bi-folds? With a number of new entries launched at this year’s FIT Show, GGP talks to Aluplast’s Ian Cocken about whether lift-and-slide door sales Lift-and-slide doors are not entirely new. Aluminium systems have been available for some time but the entry of a number of new PVC-U offerings, indicate a heating up of the market. So what’s driving change and could it signal the beginning of the end of the bi-fold’s dominance of home and outside space ‘interconnectivity’? “The demand for lift-and-slide doors is definitely in the ascendency,” says Ian Cocken, director of sales and marketing at Aluplast. “They’re seen as delivering an architectural aesthetic and as a consequence are also viewed as an aspirational purchase. Lift-and-slide doors also offer some significant advantages over bi-folding doors – and this combined, equates to significant market potential,” he adds. New generation Capable of achieving ‘U’ values as low as 0.65 W/m²K, meeting Passive Haus standards, Aluplast says that its new lift-and-slide is at the forefront of this new generation of products. Sashes are mounted on an easy-lift mechanism that elevates when opened and lowers on to the track when closed or part closed. So, a fully closed door rests over lower weather seals improving the door’s weather tightness, thermal and acoustic insulation. Capable of spanning openings of 6.5m x 2.8m, Aluplast says that its modular 85mm system also delivers ‘impressive design flexibility and uninterrupted sightlines’. “What is very striking is the consumer response,” continues Cocken. “The lift-slide-mechanism and effortless opening and closing suggests that it’s a premium and therefore aspirational product, while the design flexibility that lift-andslide doors offer have contributed to buy-in from architects. “Lift-and-slide doors also leave sightlines uninterrupted, which is something they share with inline sliding doors – a product which has been the major loser to the bi-fold.” Cocken argues the key difference here, is end-user aspiration. He points to our collective consumption of home improvement and design programmes as key drivers of demand. “The growth in the bi-fold door phenomenon is for a large part down to the media and programmes like Grand Designs, which have sold a lifestyle. “That same media is now doing the same for lift-and-slide technologies. Which are being embraced by the media as a highly practical but also aspirational product.” A span of up to 6.5m x 2.8m in just two sashes, makes the Aluplast lift-and-slide among the most practical and flexible lift-and-slide doors on the market. Its appeal is enhanced further, through Aluskin, Aluplast’s clip-and-fix aluminium external fascia system. Launched by Aluplast at this year’s FIT Show, alongside the lift-and-slide door and its new Ideal 4000 contemporary SquareLine casement, it allows fabricators to emulate the aesthetic of a solid aluminium system in a hybrid PVCU/ aluminium crossover product. “Aluskin represents the logical evolution of PVC-U finishing options. It delivers an enhanced aesthetic combined with a thermal performance far greater than anything that can be achieved in a traditional aluminium system,” says Cocken. “For this reason, it has huge architectural and end-user appeal as an application in our Ideal 4000 window but also lift-and-slide door.” The Aluplast lift-and-slide door is available in a number of different configurations, and as a consequence price points. As a modular system, however, stock holding is minimised, while flexibility to manufacture standard to ultra-energy efficient offerings is maximised. This, combined with manufacturing time efficiencies of up to 40% over comparable systems, means that in addition to the retail and commercial opportunities that it delivers, the Aluplast lift-and-slide also builds significant margin into fabrication. “The rationale for adding a liftand slide door to your offer is clear,” says Cocken. “It’s a growth product and the end user demand is established. We can offer proven technology and exceptional reliability plus partnership support through trade lead generation. “The opportunities and potential return for those fabricators who adopt manufacture early – and in so doing maximise reach, regardless of their core system – is huge. You don’t have to be buying the Ideal 70 or Ideal 4000 to benefit.” Lion’s share According to The Window, Door and Conservatory Markets in Housing in Great Britain by Palmer, the bi-fold market is forecast for growth of 30% through to 2020 in all material types to 55,000 door sets. Of these, Palmer predicts that aluminium will take the lion’s share of the market at 35,000 units. “If the growth in appeal of liftand slide doors continues at its current rate, we would confidently forecast a significant revision of these figures within three-years,” says Cocken. “Lift-and-slide doors deliver the same architectural qualities as bifold doors, as well as major end user appeal, uninterrupted sightlines and exceptionally reliability through-life. “The opportunities for early adopter manufacturers to establish themselves as specialist suppliers and to capitalise on this growing demand is huge, regardless of their core system provider.” have the potential to eclipse those of bi-fold doors. www.ggpmag.com August 2017


GGP August 2017
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