046 GGP 0217

GGP February 2017

ALUMINIUM Open the doors to commercial aluminium As retail fabricators and installers look towards aluminium as a major source of growth, it’s the right time to add light commercial to their expertise. Jeff Pearson, sales director of commercial aluminium systems company, Jack Aluminium, explains how to make the switch. 2017 is the year of aluminium in glazing. The material was the hot tip in the recent Palmer Market Report and you only need to look at the floor plan at the forthcoming FIT Show to see the level of excitement in aluminium. A lot of this growth is being driven in retail, as more and more companies gain the confidence to invest in offering aluminium alongside PVC-U. Of course, aluminium has long been the material of choice in the commercial sector – and suddenly, retail fabricators and installers are realising the potential of adding a commercial aluminium offering. It’s an obvious next step. As more companies start to offer retail aluminium, so competition will increase, and we’re already seeing interest from forward thinking retail fabricators who want to get into light commercial aluminium glazing. Aluminium is used across all types of commercial ventures, not just huge high-rise developments. From shopfronts to low-rise curtain walling to office entrance doors, light commercial aluminium glazing has an important role to play. And the reasons that aluminium remains popular with architects, specifiers and commercial builders are much the same things that make it the modern choice for home improvements – light weight, longterm strength and durability, design flexibility and colour options. Once companies are used to working with aluminium in retail, the move to commercial is fairly straightforward. Fast and easy For those wishing to add commercial to their residential aluminium offering, the trick is to make the process as fast and easy as possible. That means choosing an aluminium system that complements what is already being done in the factory and on-site. Always, the aim is for faster fabrication and quicker installation, without compromising on meeting the expectations of architects and specifiers. There’s a big list of requirements to consider. Commercial aluminium glazing must deliver a ‘U’ value that meets the energy efficiency specification of the building. It must be fit for the purpose it is intended for – an entrance door must be strong enough to withstand the anticipated footfall, while an emergency exit needs to be secure when not in use, but easy to open when required. How do fabricators and installers balance these demands, while still keeping competitive on manufacturing and installation costs? We’ve found the best approach is to ask those at the coal face what they need to make their lives simpler, and develop our commercial aluminium systems accordingly. It’s by having those conversations with customers that we make sure we deliver systems that complement the retail products they already offer. We pay a lot of attention to finding ways to engineer out waste and time during fabrication, such as supplying sections in halves and quarters, already painted to a specified RAL finish. The same approach extends to installation. Our low-rise curtain wall suite uses a clip in plate and ladder system’ that means everything is manufactured in the factory, for rapid assembly and installation once on site. Test and test again As well as making manufacturing and installation easier, we also invest heavily to help customers meet the specification standards for commercial applications. The key to this is testing. We test consistently to give fabricators an easy route to achieving Secured by Design (SBD) and thermal efficiency. By cascading knowledge and data, it means that all of the hassle is taken away so they can concentrate on making great products. It’s an ongoing process. Whenever we source new hardware that will help customers to add value to their products, we’ll get it tested so it’s easy for them to add. Likewise, we’re always testing new sizes and configurations of commercial door. Customers are already fabricating the Jack Door to some impressive sizes, and we are PAS24 tested up to a 1,300mm x 2,480mm door, which is compliant with Disability Discrimination Act regulations on wheelchair access. We’re also learning from customers that the experience of getting into commercial aluminium feeds back into retail. For example, once a fabricator gets an SBD licence for their commercial doors, it opens the doors for them to look into manufacturing premium SBD products for the retail sector, too. Commercial aluminium is easier and more effective than it’s ever been – and with 2017 being the year of aluminium, it’s the right time for fabricators and installers to enjoy the benefits of adding commercial to what they offer. 46 www.ggpmag.com February 2017 Jeff Pearson


GGP February 2017
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