Why no one cares about regulation

Nigel Headford, director of Deceuninck Aluminium

The window and door industry doesn’t care about regulation. At least most of it doesn’t. Regulation is seen as a ‘burden’, not an opportunity.

Regulatory change is, however, coming, and those companies that are simply waiting on either their systems company or their fabricator to deliver a solution could find that their facing a new supply crisis from next year. There are some big changes ahead in the coming year – to Part L, Part F, Part Q and others – which will place new regulatory requirements on the construction sector and those who supply it.

Are installers and fabricators taking any notice? Some. But the industry is not as forward-looking as it needs to be.

We, and a handful of others, have flagged the implications of changes to Part L to the sector. The ramifications of what, at the time of writing, remains draft guidance but what should, this month, become a new requirement under Building Regulations, are enormous.

If, as is expected, we see an uplift in performance in new-build to a uniform 1.2W/m²K for windows and doors and 1.4W/m²K (or WER B rating) for home improvement, then fabricators of some of the systems of the biggest names in aluminium are going to discover that part of their offer at least, will fall short. That’s new-build but also replacement markets.

Fabricators and installers need to be planning for change. Are they? Again, the progressive ones will be – they can smell an opportunity. But many more still have their head in the sand, waiting to be presented with a solution that, on this occasion, isn’t coming.

A lot of systems companies have been asleep at the wheel. They’ve been caught out by supply chain disruption but also regulatory change.

The product developmental cycle is long. You can’t just tweak an older aluminium door system and suddenly expect it to be more energy efficient, or go from being limited to a 28mm unit to accommodate a triple-glazed one. And let’s face it, no installer wants to fit triple-glazed insulated glass units and handle increased weights anyway.

If they don’t have a solution now, your aluminium systems provider or your fabricator is unlikely to have a solution in time for summer 2022. The flipside of this coin is for fabricators and installers making and fitting next-generation products, including Decalu and a handful of others. The opportunities going into 2022 are enormous.

Our product ranges can go as low as 0.6W/m²K. Our bi-folds, inline-sliding-doors, and windows will comfortably meet the current round of changes to Part L with only double-glazed units. With that level of thermal performance, they will also meet the minimum 0.8W/m²K U-value requirement being suggested under the Future Homes Standard, in 2025.

It’s not too late for anyone (although a number of systems companies may have a rough ride over the coming months). That assumes they adopt a proactive approach now, and get to grips with the biggest regulatory change in a decade.

It’s about being ready for and seeing regulatory change as an opportunity, not ‘a burden’, to build in increased margin and evidence the value proposition in our product and service offer. Deceuninck Aluminium and fabricators of Decalu are ready. Is your systems company?

Nigel Headford
Director of Deceuninck Aluminium