Graham Hinett to retire ss FENSA CEO
28 June 2012
After ten years as CEO of FENSA, the double glazing regulators, Graham Hinett has announced his imminent retirement. He will be replaced by Chris Mayne, Graham’s General Manager. Mayne will be reporting to Nigel Rees at the GGF.
Mayne has worked for many years experience in the window industry with one of the larger glazing companies. Hinett said of his replacement that he was “very experienced in the technical requirements of glazing and is fully up to speed with FENSA, including its business and registration requirements.”
FENSA, which stands for the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme was set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation in response to Government encouragement to allow companies in the double glazing industry to self-regulate, offering a recognisable certificate to customers.
During his tenure at FENSA, Graham Hinett has seen the regulator become one of the biggest organisations in the double glazing industry, establishing one of the best recognised self-certification schemes for double glazing in the country.
In a letter to businesses registered with FENSA, Hinett said: “I know that times are very difficult and that we have seen the industry contract somewhat over recent years, particularly in the last two. I would like to thank you for all your support over the years that I have been Chief Executive and wish you well in the future with your endeavours in your business.”
Halo launches lowest U-value window
27 June 2012
Halo have announced the release of a new addition to their Halo System10 range, which they are claiming has achieved the best sound reduction and lowest U-values of any PVC-U window currently on the market.
The unit, known as “The Box” has U-value performance that ranges from 0.66 W/m2K in a double glazed window through 0.42/W/W/m2K for a triple glazed window all the way to 0.32/W/W/m2K for triple-glazed windows with krypton filled unites or foam filled sections – a new record in the industry.
The window is being marketed towards environmentally-minded buildings such as PassivHaus applications, projects that need to achieve level six or higher of the Code for Sustainable Homes, retrofitting schemes or carbon negative construction projects.
Halo has also been keen to point out that The Box is manufactured from regular Halo components, such as their normal gas-filled units and standard steel reinforcements. The company is offering the Box window for a range of open-in, open-out, combination or turn’n’tilt windows, with the full range of colours and wood grain finishes available.
Halo is a subsidiary of the Veka Group, one of the biggest names in PVC-U window extruders in the country with a customer base that includes the public sector, commercial and house building projects.
Over a fifth of MPs unfamiliar with Green Deal
22 June 2012
The results of a survey of MPs conducted on behalf of the Dods Green Deal Dialogue Group have shown, among other findings, that 21% of MPs are not familiar with the “Green Deal”, with only 49% saying they will promote uptake of the Green Deal in their constituencies and less than a third understanding the funding structure of the Green Deal.
Dods Green Dialogue Group, which includes GGF, Land Securities and VELUX, surveyed 100 MPs over January and February this year. The sample included 80 men and 20 women from all three of the major political parties.
The MPs cited rising energy bills and unemployment as the greatest concern of their constituents, and the majority of MPs in the sample believed that the Green Deal could both generate jobs and cut homeowner energy bills.
While 21% of those who answered the survey said they were unlikely to promote the scheme, while 20% said they were neither likely nor unlikely to promote it and 11% said they were unsure, 49% said they would promote the scheme to their constituents.
GGF Chief Executive, Nigel Rees said of the survey results: “The outcome of this poll must be very disconcerting for the Government. While the Green Deal continues to become more complex, the level of understanding will not improve. If Members of Parliament cannot understand the scheme, then how can we expect homeowners to understand it?”
Blair Neill Ltd enters administration
14 June 2012
It has been announced that County Down-based window manufacturer Blair Neill Ltd has entered administration. The company employed over 60 people at its facility on the Ballyharry industrial estate in Newtownards. The firm was established in 1996 and has been providing double glazed doors and windows for the last 16 years. They supplied their product to Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.
All 60 members of Blair Neill’s staff in the facility are likely to lose their jobs.
Their last filed accounts, which covered 2010, record an annual pre-tax profit of £63,000, with a shareholders fund of £467,000. The accounts contained a note that directors foresaw “significant challenges” and were putting in place measures to compensate.
The gates of the Ballyharry facility have been closed and it’s unclear what lies in the future for the double glazing manufacturers.
On 23 May 2012 Peter Michael Allen and John Charles Reid of financial services firm Deloitte LLP were appointed Joint Administrative Receivers of Blair Neill Limited. They will manage the property, business and affairs of the firm without taking on any personal liability.
Blair Neill has ceased trading, and Allen and Reid are looking to sell off the firm’s assets.
Double glazing scheme on hold
11 June 2012
Several double glazing schemes for properties across Newtownabbey have been put on hold for financial reasons. The Housing Executive’s Programme for Government in 2011 claimed that Ministers intended to install double glazing to all of the houses in the Executive by 2015.
But Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland suspected the project once concerns were raised over the cost of individual schemes.
Although a scheme in Baillyduff that has already begun work will go ahead as planned, six other projects have halted pending a reassessment of costs.
McCausland said that several of the already completed schemes had been “extremely and unnecessarily expensive”.
The suspension of the scheme has received support from Ulster Unionist councillor Ken Robinson who said “This project was implemented to improve fuel poverty levels and while it is sad to see the double glazing scheme suspended I can understand the Minister’s thinking. It is only right that in the current economic backdrop the government gets the best value for money.”
However Stewart Dickson of the MLA disagreed, saying that the double glazing is long overdue.
“I have received numerous requests for housing executive properties to receive double glazing due to the poor state of the windows and frames,” he said. “Many of these properties urgently need double glazing replacement windows, particularly with the rising cost of heating.”
The Housing Executive was unable to say when the schemes for the six remaining Newtownabbey projects would resume.
MP meets industry representatives over VAT issues
07 June 2012
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke MP met with a total of 14 organisations on Thursday the 17th of May to talk about how VAT is applied to approved alterations of Listed buildings.
The meeting was the result of a joint letter from these organisations, which included the Glass and Glazing Federation, addressed to Chancellor George Osborne on the 1st May 2012.
The 14 organisations argued that the government should cancel plans to end the zero rate VAT on approved alterations to listed buildings. They claimed that there weren’t enough opportunities for people to comment on this proposal during consultations, and that the change would ultimately have a negative effect on British heritage sites and the construction industry.
They also argued against suggestions that the VAT relief on listed buildings provided a tax break to the rich, pointing out that 50% of people who live in such buildings are in socio-economic groups C1, C2, D and E.
Gauke argued that there were “perverse incentives” in the current VAT system, leading some to attempt to make repairs look like alterations in order to be excempt from VAT.
“There is uncertainty as to what is a repair and what is an alteration; however where there are adaptations for disabled access there is zero rate of VAT available for such work,” he argued. “To raise revenue, particularly to fund the rise in personal tax thresholds, we looked at VAT anomalies, and alterations to listed buildings is one of them.”
Nigel Rees, GGF Executive said of the meeting, “It was good that the GGF and our campaign partners have given the Treasury food for thought. We will continue to support the campaign for alterations in listed buildings to be zero VAT rated”
Government ditches ‘conservatory tax’
04 June 2012
The so-called ‘conservatory tax’ that has been proposed to run alongside the government’s high profile Green Deal scheme has reportedly dropped following an intervention from David Cameron.
Originally, Liberal Democrat minister Andrew Stunell had put forward a plan that would see any homeowner intending to build a conservatory or extension be forced to improve the property’s energy efficiency by improving insulation, upgrading a boiler or adding better heating controls.
The value of these addition would be10% in addition to the cost of the main works, with the costs either met by the homeowner or through the Green Deal scheme.
The proposal is currently out for consultation by the Department for Communities and Local Government. However, it has now emerged that this will be rejected due to concerns by the prime minister.
Speaking to the Guardian, one government source – who did not wish to be identified – said: "The idea that people are going to be forced to improve their energy efficiency or install a new boiler because they want to extend their garage or make their house better is not going to happen.
“It is not policy now. It is out for consultation, but the prime minister is opposed to it, and it will not become policy. It is not fair to ordinary people trying to improve their homes," he added.
Synseal makes K2 acquisition
01 June 2012
The spate of consolidation in the glazing sector has continued with the acquisition of K2 Conservatories by Synseal Extrusions for an undisclosed sum.
The deal was confirmed on May 1, shortly after the announcement of Ultraframe’s purchase of aluminium conservatory roof manufacturer Quantal. Under the terms of the agreement, Synseal has acquired all of K2’s brands and assets, which include Celsius Glass and its range of conservatory models.
“The trading brands of the Celsius Glass and K2 are well respected and successful,” said Synseal CEO David Leng. “Brand loyalty is something we are keen to maintain and we will continue to invest in them to secure future growth.
Leng went on to say that K2 co-founder Sally Fielding will remain with the business ‘to ensure a smooth transition’.
“K2 has been part of my life for many years and I am confident that Synseal will retain the K2 brand identity through its loyal network of customers,” she added. “I believe that our existing and new customers will enjoy tremendous benefits through the investment and support of Synseal.”