According to a new report from AMA Research, the market for door and window fabricators increased by around 3% in 2015, following good growth of 5% in the previous year. The report reviews all sectors of the glazing market, including doors, windows and entrance systems in both residential and commercial applications.
According to AMA, general trends in the economy and construction in particular all influence the sector, and it is important to emphasise that the door and window fabrication sector is dependent on the performance of a number of markets, often moving in very different directions; private home improvement, public sector housing renovation, housebuilding, and commercial new build and refurbishment etc.
‘Residential windows’ is the largest sector, driven primarily by replacement demand, though new housing volumes were found to have increased in recent years. However, a strong growth area in the last few years has been the ‘home extension’ sector which is driving the growth of bi-fold doors in particular.
Commercial windows and curtain walling have a total share of more than 20% of the market and have enjoyed good growth on the back o f a recovery in the office construction sector.
While generally a mature sector, the product ranges offered by window and door fabricators have been influenced by the use of composite and hybrid materials, more use of colours (eg, greys), improved thermal performance and locking systems, growth of bifolds/rooflights etc etc.
The supply structure remains very fragmented, comprising a mix of vertically integrated retail glazing companies, PVC-U trade fabricators and fabricator/installers, aluminium systems fabricator/installers, bespoke glazing contractors, composite door manufacturers, commercial glazing specialists, roof light manufacturers, steel window manufacturers and major joinery companies etc.
The sector has seen some restructuring – particularly in more difficult periods – but the diversity of products, materials and applications etc, provide opportunities for major groups operations and small niche suppliers alike.
“Steady improvement in the glazing market in the medium term is anticipated, given sustained growth in construction activity – particularly housebuilding and key non-residential sectors such as offices, leisure and education,” commented Jane Tarver, AMA Research. “This in turn will lead to steady if modest growth for door and window fabricators with value growth likely to be constrained by high levels of price competition.”
AMA reports that the UK market for residential windows is very competitive and is likely to remain so, though within the next few years we expect capacity and demand to become more balanced as demand from the housebuilding sector continues to expand, resulting in less pressure on supplier prices and profitability. Ultimately, the industry is mature and, in the longer term, heavily dependent on replacement demand in the residential sector, supported by new build activity in key non-residential markets. The market will continue to develop in response to legislation and building regulations, and will continue to focus on ‘green’ building materials and thermal efficiency in particular.