TI: Tell us a bit about Mercury Glazing Supplies and what you do…
SC: Mercury Glazing manufactures a comprehensive range of high-quality window and door products suitable for trade, retail, new build and commercial projects.
Our specialist product range includes PVC-U vertical sliders, a full range of aluminium products, casement windows, PVC-U flush sash windows and a full range of residential, patio, bi-folding and composite doors.
Established in 2002, we operate from our manufacturing centre in Gloucester and deliver throughout the UK offering the best in product manufacturing and service support.
TI: Your products are utilised in a number of sectors including new build, commercial, refurbishment. Which products are performing well at the moment and where has the growth been this year?
SC: The market is shifting toward higher value products across all sectors. Providing modern alternatives to traditional timber windows is one of the areas we specialise in and has seen year on year growth. Our PVC-U vertical sliding range is a good example of this shift. The windows are a design-classic which sympathetically captures many, if not all, of the key features of traditional design combined with all the benefits that a modern replacement window should offer. The trend towards even greater authenticity such as white foils, astragal bars and mechanical joints continues to gain traction and we are seeing a greater acceptance of our windows in ‘heritage’ projects where once timber was the default product of choice.
TI: As a specialist fabricator in what is an extremely competitive market, how has your relationship with your customers developed in recent years? Have their demands in terms of support changed?
SC: Our customers are looking for product choice in order to keep ahead of the curve when it comes to market trends. Similarly, they are looking for reliability, quality and a quick turnaround on all product groups. At Mercury, we work closely with our customers to keep lead times as short as possible. Plus, our responsive delivery fleet means we are going to most places in the UK at least twice per week.
TI: You offer a broad range of products. How important is it for the installer to up-sell and diversify their offering? Is this a trend you recognise in customers?
SC: Today’s installer is looking for a range of products to give them a competitive edge. As a specialist fabricator we manufacture feature-rich products that add value to an installer’s portfolio and help deliver a clear differentiation. We also offer up-sell opportunities; for example, we have recently introduced the new Blink integral blinds which gives another up-sell opportunity for the installer into the consumer when selling window and doors.
TI: Doors, including bi-folds, sliders etc. seem to be growing in popularity. What trends are you seeing?
SC: The move towards high end aluminium composite doors, such as our Smart’s Designer Door is a big growth area for us. PVC door panels have certainly had their day with composite doors taking a strong foothold.
Similarly, we have witnessed a massive 90% increase in sales of large-scale aluminium patio doors that offer wide apertures giving the homeowner the clear glass expanse they seek to achieve. These doors have the advantage of slim sightlines and fewer uprights than on a conventional bifold door.
Bifold doors have become a commodity marketplace but we are carrying the stock to keep our lead times short to help support our customers. And colour has certainly become popular across all product groups with various shades of grey and textured finishes proving popular.
TI: Is there still room for innovation in the window and door sector?
SC: We constantly have to react to ensure buildings meet their SAP Test targets so ever decreasing U-values continue to drive innovation. Smart Technology in windows seems the way forward as witnessed at the Fit Show by Kubu and Smart Ready.
TI: Can you describe some of the more interesting projects your products have been used on?
SC: We recently manufactured and supplied 204 PVC-U vertical sliding windows for the sympathetic landmark refurbishment of Cliff House, a former iconic hotel built in 1906 in Felixstowe, into 24 one and two-bedroom luxury seaside apartments. Cliff House sits in a conservation area. Due to permitted development rights, the restoration needed to remain as sympathetic as possible to the former property in order to retain the building’s original features including the original sash windows.
Working with main contractor and developer Dragon Wood Homes, the twelve-month project involved the manufacture and supply of 204 bespoke windows which included a mixture of arched top vertical sliders, bowed vertical sliders, circular windows and standard vertical sliders, manufactured in white woodgrain foil finish on both sides.
We have also manufactured 54 Spectus white vertical sliding windows with through horn detailing, including 14 arched vertical sliders, for a prestigious refurbishment project at Foxhill House, Chester.
Foxhill House is a substantial Italianate house originally built for the Archdeacon of Chester. It is set in 70 acres of Cheshire woodland, which incorporates an arboretum containing several species of rare plants and trees. In the 1960s Foxhill House became a diocesan retreat and conference centre and it will mark 50 years as Chester Diocesan Retreat House this month (July).
The new vertical sliders were chosen to replace ageing timber sliding sash windows, and replace them with architecturally sensitive double-glazed versions. The VS windows were manufactured in white with run through horns to replicate the heritage aesthetics and enhance the building’s appearance.
Our products have helped transform these two iconic buildings and clearly demonstrate the continued shift towards feature-rich PVC-U products.
TI: How is 2019 shaping up for Mercury, and what can we expect from you going forward?
SC: 2019 has been a very busy year for Mercury and we continue to launch new products to help support our growing customer base across all market sectors. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit is delaying commercial project spending such as schools, but we are hopeful this will pick up again once we have some certainty over our political future.