Fensa the regulatory body for self certification of building regulation compliance, has statistics since it was formed back in 2004. Previously it has kept these figures to itself and used them to communicate to government the state of the industry and as 92% of all registrations are via Fensa, it’s a pretty good barometer.
Recently however it was decided to release quarterly trends and the first quarter (to the end of September 2012) for replacement windows and doors for the domestic sector is down 5.5% compared to the same period in 2011.
Whilst these are bad enough, it is even worse learning that the industry is 35% down since 2007.
So what do we read from these figures?
Well there will be those who say that other organisations account for this shortfall in Fensa statistics, Certass, network Veka, BSI, DGCOS all have registration schemes for their members which may account for some of the shortfall, there are companies doing everything through LABC . Whats needed is a register of ALL installations. Perhaps DCLG would publish a quarterly summary so we could each understand the true position?
Alternatively there are those who believe that many installations are going underground, with everyone feeling the pinch, is it any wonder that installations are done for cash, no VAT, no registrations, no warranties or guarantees it is building reg compliant. The black economy is alive and well, using air filled standard glazing from the 1990’s (E/F/G rated) whilst the rest of us pay the extra to have low iron, low e, crypton gas units with multi chambered, foam filled profiles to provide “A plus” products.
Or the figures are what they are, they show falling numbers of windows, and numbers of installations which either means each company is doing less work or that many are being forced out of business, allowing the remainder to maintain or increase their numbers.
We suggest now more than ever before, you need to educate your buyer. If home owners treat windows as a commodity, then its all about price, cheapest wins every time. However windows aren’t commodities, they are in the main bespoke, tailored to fit, designed to harmonise with the structure of the building and the life style of the owner, recreating an earlier style and elegance.
The way windows are fitted is different, some will use the same dust sheet for a year, whilst others will break open clean dust sheets with every installation, some will use foam to secure windows others fixing lugs with fischer bolts.
Okay this all takes time to explain and we must be swift with the information because customers dont believe you, they think you are just bumping up the price, but unless you demonstrate the facts that make your offering the best value for money, then your only direction is cheapest and that makes survival in tough times, in a mature and declining market, difficult, very difficult.
What isn’t apparent from these statistics is the shift in percentages between large nationals, the regional companies or smaller local installers. Now that would be very sensitive information but it would be interesting if it were to reflect the findings of WHICH report, when they surveyed 2,562 of their members.