Home Glazed Extensions “It’s always about the installer first”

“It’s always about the installer first”

Total Installer enjoyed a trip to Dublin to meet the team at Guardian Building Systems and discuss their comprehensive product offering, which includes the Guardian Home Extension (example above), a solution that can help installers diversify and capitalise on a fast-growing area of the market…

With children ‘flying the nest’ much later in life these days, and hybrid working and working from home establishing itself as the norm rather than a passing trend for many workers, opening up and adding extra space to the family home is the goal for many homeowners. 

Indeed, it’s reported that searches for ‘house renovations’ increased by 170% in the last quarter, and stats like this point to opportunities for fabricators and installers looking to expand their offering and capitalise on this push by homeowners to maximise their property’s footprint, bring natural light into the home and add quality usable space to their homes.

One company looking to supply the solutions for these types of projects is Dublin-based Guardian Building Systems. The team at Guardian Building Systems have been designing and manufacturing roofing solutions since company founder Joe Kearney began fabricating conservatory roofs in Dublin in 1995.

Tracking the trends in the market, Joe and his team then designed and manufactured a kit form solid roof for replacing existing conservatory roofs in favour of sunrooms, with the first Guardian Warm Roof installed by Premier Dublin – still an existing customer today – in 2000!

The Guardian Warm Roof forms a key part of Guardian Building Systems’ offering, and this theme of tracking homeowner trends and the needs of the supply chain has seen the team add the Guardian Roof Lantern to its offering, and more recently, complete its comprehensive offering by supplying the walls and roof for customers through its innovative Guardian Home Extension.

Above: Guardian Home Extension illustration. The Guardian Home Extension combines the Guardian Warm Wall, fabricated from partner company Kingspan TEK structural insulated panels, with the popular Guardian Warm Roof system and skylight options from VELUX, another partner company.

And in what is a very competitive area of the market, while Guardian Building Systems’ core customers are fabricators, as Ross Darcy, Director at Guardian Building Systems, explained, when designing solutions it’s always with installers in mind: “Everything we make, we think of the installer, because if the installer’s happy, the fabricator’s happy, and the homeowner will be happy. That’s the way we look at all our products – it’s always about the installer first.”

The team stress they do not fabricate themselves and never compete with their fabricators, with Ross explaining: “We direct sales to the installer and drive it back to the fabricator.”

“Ultimately, what we try to do is aid that rapid installation – we make things that are not over-engineered”

Danny Hill, General Manager and Head of Marketing at Guardian

Certified Installer Network growth
The company established its Certified Installer Network in 2021, which currently stands at 80 installers, but the ambition is to grow this to 175 in the near future. This growth, the company says, is to help build business for their fabricators, taking the pressure off them and leaving them to do what they do best, manufacture and supply quality products. 

Danny Hill, General Manager and Head of Marketing at Guardian, continued: “Ultimately, what we try to do is aid that rapid installation – we make things that are not over-engineered.” To illustrate this, Danny explained that the team filmed one of their certified installers carrying out a Guardian Warm Roof installation in Leicester last year, and the project was completed from start to finish in under two days!

Danny continued: “The critical things are quality and ease of installation. One of the things that we pride ourselves on is ensuring that we have as much quality assurance as possible. We always test all our products independently through BRE.”

“The Guardian Home Extension allows homeowners to create a space to suit their family’s needs, with the Social+, Creative+, Play+, Rest+ and Utility+ options”

All Guardian Certified Installers must complete annual technical training to ensure they are fully qualified to install the company’s range of solutions. And with one eye on the tightening of regulations, Danny explained that they’re in the process of securing TrustMark approval for their Certified Installer scheme: “We moved to this Certified Installer scheme in 2021 with a much greater focus on the Technical Training element and making sure that the installers that are certified offer an Insurance Backed Guarantee, have a 10-year workmanship guarantee in place and are credible businesses – phase two will grow that Certified Installer number but we’re also in the process of getting TrustMark approval; as things tighten up and regulations become more stringent, that’s going to be absolutely critical.” But increased regulation doesn’t concern Danny and the team, they welcome it: “The more stringent, the better for us. The last thing we want to see is a wrapover go on a roof – if it fails it damages the whole industry,” he continued.

Above: Illustration on the Guardian Home Extension Creative+ option.

Extension benefits
As mentioned earlier, an exciting development for the team is the launch of the Guardian Home Extension, an offsite solution for domestic extensions. In addition to providing the flexibility and thermal performance needed for modern projects, the team say the Home Extension’s simple construction enables it to be built up to five times faster than traditional approaches, offering benefits for homeowners and installers.

Tapping into the requirement for functional and usable space, the Guardian Home Extension allows homeowners to create a space to suit their family’s needs, with the Social+, Creative+, Play+, Rest+ and Utility+ options enabling a range of configurations to realise the potential of their homes. These five options help homeowners visualise the possibilities for their extension, making life easier for themselves and the installer in terms of progressing the process. 

The system combines the Guardian Warm Wall, fabricated from partner company Kingspan TEK structural insulated panels, with the popular Guardian Warm Roof system and skylight options from VELUX, another partner company. 

This creates a highly insulated structure which can achieve U-values of 0.18/m2 with a much slimmer construction than traditional cavity walls, enabling significant space savings for homeowners; Guardian Building Systems says within a typical 5m x 4m extension, the usable floor space can be increased by up 20%. Ross explained: “It’s a really strong partnership between our brand, Kingspan and VELUX – so these three in the mix create a really high-end home extension.”

Above: Guardian Home Extension Play+ Floorplan.

“In the Warm Roof market we’re seeing a flattening out of demand – so now’s the right time to talk to installers about widening their revenue streams with Home Extension”

Danny feels the launch of the Home Extension has come at the right time for fabricators and installers: “In the Warm Roof market we’re seeing a flattening out of demand – we’ve passed that ‘Covid-boom’, people are spending their money on holidays and cars and other things now, and therefore it’s steadying out a little bit – so now’s the right time to talk to installers about widening their revenue streams with Home Extension.”

Discussing the scale of the opportunity, Danny continued: “The thing I always try and get across is you’ve got to look at the market, the market is that 320,000 single storey extensions are being built each year, and 45,000 new build conservatories are being built – so which market do you want to be a part of?”

And whilst he acknowledges there’s a job to be done around changing mindsets when it comes to moving away from traditional build techniques – whether it be the installer or homeowner’s – Danny feels the tide is starting to turn and the benefits of the Guardian Home Extension really shine through: “We’ve probably been in front of 100 builders talking through this system and the interesting thing is they’re increasingly interested in adopting this new technology – even some older builders.”

Above: Guardian Home Extension Social+ internal illustration.

He continued: “There’s less push-back from homeowners around this technology, and that will only improve… it takes away some of the issues for what can be a stressful time for homeowners. The builder has to overcome the issues and red flags that the homeowner sees – what’s the build time going to be? What’s the disruption to my home? Will there be cost-creep? What we’re trying to do with the Home Extension is remove all those red flags – so we can promise a reduced build time, there’s a lot less disruption as there’s less wet trades etc., the quote is accurate.”

“The one thing we need now is more installers!”

The tools in place
And Danny and the team have put the tools in place to help installers put homeowners’ minds at rest, with a comprehensive software package, marketing materials, survey support and dedicated training and onsite support: “If someone comes to us and says I want to be a Guardian Home Extension installer, we’ll help with the whole process – we provide first survey assist, first fit assist, and once they’ve done that they’re off. We’ll connect them to the fabricator, talk to them about pricing, make sure they’ve got all the marketing materials and go through the whole process with them.”

Building Control is another area where Guardian Building Systems has taken the strain for homeowners and Certified Installers. Danny explained: “[with regards to] Building Control, our partnership with Hertfordshire Building Control (HBC) who approved the system [enables] all of our Certified Installers to do exactly what they do with our Warm Roof system and apply for Building Control approval through HBC and they’ll take care of it; HBC will have any difficult discussions!”

So, all the pieces are in place, but as Danny explained: “The one thing we need now is more installers!” So, if you’re a builder or glazing installer looking to add to your offering and tap into a growing area of the modern market – talk to the team at Guardian Building Systems who have the products, tools, support and supply chain in place to help you grow your business…

www.guardianbuildingsystems.co.uk

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More