This is a special monthly feature by our Editor Helen Duval

Bespoke; Personal; Tailored; – all of these words continue to be important to both manufacturers and consumers, particularly with the home improvement market. Additionally, Spring is traditionally the time for upgrades and according to recent reports the ‘don’t move but improve’ trend has been buoyant for the last few years. This sector has apparently grown over the last 5 years from 3% to 15% which translates to around 4 million UK households having made the decision to invest.

This sector is confident with predictions that it will continue to see growth as the market is driven by consumers looking to invest rather than move.

The market trends look set to be defined by greater performance products, colour and a variety of materials that will make bold statements for consumers. Individualising properties is really gathering momentum as homeowners are ready to invest in their dream properties.

In respect of design, there is no clear front runner when it comes to colour choices for windows, doors or conservatories, Green, Grey, in varying shades, and wood foils appear to still be very popular with specifiers, designers and investors.

The retail sector is looking healthy with homeowners looking to invest in quality and being more aware of carbon footprints, they have recognised the value in updating their homes. Which bodes well for the installers out there.

On With The Show

No doubt with the forthcoming exhibitions and events lining up to show the latest in innovations and benefits of product developments, May was a busy month for many. The Construction Expo took place The Arena in Milton Keynes at the beginning of the month with more than 2000 delegates from across the construction sector attending. Hot topics at the show included Brexit, Foreign Direct In-vestment, Public and Private Housing, Building Materials and of course Sustainability. Skills and training was focus for the exhibitors and industry professionals attending with a view to look at future market direction.

Grand Designs Live once again reached out to the self build and renovation markets bringing inspiration with new product launches and over 500 specialist exhibitors in London’s ExCel arena. This continues to be a show that attracts a strong footfall and gives visitors access to ideas for all sized projects. Kevin McCloud still continues to draw in the crowds for this one.

The FIT show once again promised innovation and ways to improve business for the fenestration sector opening its doors at the NEC. This maintains a high profile for builders, installers and fabricators looking for fresh ideas to help grow their business. The success can be measured by a positive footfall and good networking opportunities for everyone involved in the sector.

So What’s New?

There are some obvious developments in glass manufacturing with modern trends in thin and curved glass products continually evolving. The speed and ability of glass engineering to adapt to demanding markets is quite staggering as bold architectural designs prove. Pushing the boundaries in terms of concepts is one thing, for glass machinery companies to then answer that call with equipment that surpasses its predecessors by leaps and bounds is seriously impressive.

Projects that include glass lifts, circular glass staircases, underwater restaurants, biometric capabilities each require their own unique systems to answer the demand for striking design that is also eco-efficient and cost competitive.

Architects and designers are becoming more and more adventurous as they look to create artistic statements that provide business and consumer living solutions under huge glass ceilings and within glass walls.

The Apple store entrance on Fifth Avenue is a true spectacle that highlights how glass technology and architectural design are inextricably linked. There are tremendous possibilities and the ability to adapt to this glass design market as it emerges is essential for processors to survive. The entrance to the current Apple store is meant to reflect ‘minimalism’ and with the structure comprising three glass panels on the roof and on each face that certainly works. Made up of only 15 sheets of glass it is simplistic and chic – jumbo design in its simplest form perhaps, however, it is breathtaking and bold and people notice it.

Reinventing glass as a product continues to inspire architects and designers as they experiment in ways to incorporate it as a visual that can provide not just shelter and warmth but comfort and security.

Floors and staircases are modern concepts that have in fact been round for decades – but the ability to make this versatile product work so well in building design now, is down to the glass engineers and their capacity to help turn concept into reality.

Looking At The Future

When looking to take a business forward, the terms ‘modernisation’ and ‘development’ are often used but now with the dawn of The Millennial there are new dimensions to consider.

Everyone has been forced to alter their perspection in terms of business practices, as rapidly changing technology and greater audience reach are new ‘must haves’ in the business world. The Millennial has taught all of us, and very quickly, that they don’t have time to use methods that take up too much time and this attitude is also changing customer expectation.

The next generation of entrepreneurs have created a new dimension when it comes to value as they have taken digital technology and turned it to their advantage.

There is a presumption by the next generation of business owner that research platforms, financial forecasts, medical advice even food orders can always be found at the touch of a button. They attack technical issues differently, becoming part of the solution if there is a problem. They stay on top of things and can hold their entire life in the palm of their hand. They actually expect to be able to have access to any part of their life in a nano-second and leave many of us standing when it comes to using the power of digital technology.

Some consider this new business leader lazy, but the older generations are now recognising that efficiency of effort optimises impact and the way to achieve this is via technology. Modern entrepreneurs are always prepared to research what they will need to learn in order to guarantee success, with knowledge and experience overriding qualifications to a degree.

If we are to keep pace, we all have to accept that learning is a continual evolution. Garnering information from someone with experience in the area they are looking to explore is a natural progression for a modern business leader, absorbing experience and stories from trailblazers and industry experts as role models.