R9 installers could cut installation costs by a third, through non-glass bonded installation efficiencies.
“We aren’t the cheapest supplier of R9”, says HWL’s Mark Haley. “Our customers make their margin on installation efficiencies, not by compromising on quality. Everything we use, hardware, gasket – it’s supplied through R9, we aren’t swapping it out for anything else to lower production costs.
“It’s about delivery of those installation savings. We make handling simpler and easier, take-out cost and deliver margin. Supplying non-glass bonded R9 adds value throughout the supply chain.”
HWL Trade Frames’ trailblazing non-glass bonded Residence 9 Window completed final independent testing in August, returning a series of top-rated passes under BS EN 6375 – 1 weather testing and PAS24/Part Q for side and top hung options.
This comes following significant investment by the R9 specialist trade fabricator in the development of an R9 frame-only offer, pioneering the application of Timberweld® sash-welding technologies in its manufacturing process.
This gives HWL an almost unique capability in the UK to butt weld window sashes inside and out, replicating the aesthetic delivered in a 90° mechanical joint.Increasing sash corner strength, in most configurations this eliminates the requirement to glass bond IGUs, which have historically been used in R9 fabrication to give the system structural strength.
“It’s not about value-engineering. Manufacture of R9 non-glass bonded is more or less cost neutral compared to manufacture of glass bonded product. It also means in most cases that we’re not supplying the glass”, continues Mark.
“That’s the point, however. Our decision to manufacture R9 unglazed using Timberweld® was driven because we saw an opportunity to add-value to our product and service offer.
“It’s about giving installers the flexibility to buy glass from their regular IGU supplier and to install the window in exactly the same way as they would any other – and by choice you’d never do that with the glass in it because of the weight you’re going to need to handle.
“Glass bonded product artificially inflates the cost of R9 installation because it becomes by default a two-team fit not a one team fit. You take out the glass you take out that extra fitting team and the cost that goes with it.”
Cost modelling by the trade fabricator suggests that this could lead to approximate savings of as much as £120 per day or £360 on an average three-day install.
“If you’re paying per window at say £50 per window you could be looking at £500 back on a three-day fit on an average property with 10 windows and doors – that goes straight back on to your bottom line”, argues Mark.
He continues: “We can sometimes have a tendency to talk down the market but there’s still money to be made, particularly at the high end if you sell and price the job right and keep control of installation costs. That’s where margin can have a habit of evaporating.”
This potential and growing importance of the high end window market is tracked by Palmer, which reports that at the last count, a 1.2% increase in the market overall to 6.82m frames, was outstripped by the increase in installed value of 5.5% to £2.38bn.
This is something which according to the authors of the study, was driven by no small part by demand for foils (up 45% since 2013) and timber-type jointing, which reached 131,000 frames – about 2% of the total in 2017.
“The demand is there from the end user for flush casements and heritage installations. What defines that is that 90° joint inside and out”, says Mark. “Our R9 window delivers that same defining 90° ‘heritage joint’.
“It’s identical in every way to a standard, mechanically jointed R9 window – like the ones we used to make – but for the fact that it’s stronger. That’s why it doesn’t need to be glass bonded.”
The HWL window was put through its paces in a series of initial tests by independent testing house, Exova in April.
The BS EN 6375 – 1 Weather Test results, completed on a side hung option returning an Exposure Category of 1600, a Class 3 Air Permeability Rating (600pa); a Class 9A (600pa) Water Tightness Rating; and top Class C4 (1600pa), resistance to wind.
These were followed up by PAS24 testing, again by Exova and in partnership with Residence 9, in May for mechanical load and manual intervention testing, also returning a pass. With further tests on top-hung options completed at the end of August.
HWL reported that all of its’ pre-existing customers had switched to buying its non-glass bonded R9 window in July. “If you get the opportunity to sit down with someone and explain it, then get them to actually fit R9 unglazed, they don’t go back to buying in glass bonded.
“They don’t buy it because it’s cheaper. Our frame prices have remained static. We haven’t cut quality. Our components have been and continue to be supplied by R9. Our customers buy it because it’s a premium high quality window,which cuts the cost of installation.
“We don’t cut corners – we make them stronger – that makes our R9 window, infinitely better to fit.”
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