Keylite Comment: Q4 2023

Our Technical teams have been studying the newly released Future Homes Standard consultation document, which states that roof windows must achieve a U Value of 1.2 W/m2K, significantly lower than the current standard of 1.6 W/m2K.  Most of our sales today are for our laminated inner, double glazed range, which achieves 1.3 W/m2K in common with our competitors.  Our triple glazed product over achieves the FHS standard with a U Value of 1.0 W/m2K however, the cost premium for the uprated product is 30%+ which may not be welcome, particularly in the current climate.

Key to future demand for pitched roof windows will be the ability to integrate directly with PV panels to maximise the surface area of the roof with solar energy generating panels to maximise carbon reduction. Keylite’s PV panel flashing integrator is approved by leading panel manufacturers.

Roof window manufacturers have been confirming 2024 price increases. As ever, Keylite tries to absorb cost increases as far as possible, but prices are inevitably impacted by the statutory minimum wage at our manufacturing site in Poland increasing a further 19.4% this year and the Polish Zloty-Sterling exchange rate. To mitigate these factors outside our control, we continue investing in automation and push suppliers hard to reverse the exceptional material inflation we experienced in recent years.

The downside to a strong market share with National Housebuilders is that, when construction slows, we slow. But there’s a strong underlying demand for quality new housing, especially in more affluent areas of the UK & Ireland. Throughout the UK & Ireland quote levels are strong and up on 2022. Many projects in the planning stages, new build and RMI, are on hold until decision makers are confident to proceed. This matches the general sentiment from merchant partners. Activity is down, quote levels are strong.

Builders and merchants search for every opportunity to improve margin in a downturn. The investments we’ve made into people, product and processes ensure that Keylite presents a quality, innovative, excellent value alternative to other leading brands. Our sales teams will continue to work hard for our merchant partners, creating demand, generating quotes and bringing in orders.

In the short term, we expect volumes to remain subdued. Brighter days lie ahead.

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