FIT Show – A showcase for glass & glazing

The UK’s premier trade exhibition dedicated to the window, door and glazed extension industry, opens its doors at Birmingham’s NEC in May. A showcase for innovation, products and services, and featuring the largest presence from the aluminium sector at any event in 2017, it will be a must-see event for any housing professional.

Windows and doors are constantly evolving and, as such, the fenestration industry has changed immeasurably over the past 30 or 40 years, with products that are increasingly more secure and energy efficient. With that in mind, the aspirations of homeowners have also become more demanding. The latest report published by Palmer Market Research, which has been gathering data on the industry since as far back as 1976, and as such is uniquely placed to identify long-term trends, is illuminating.

It points out that, since 2000, the home improvement market as a whole has recorded a 36 per cent drop in volume, but at the same time its value has dropped by just six per cent. According to the report: “This reflects the growth in the second-time replacement market and also the shift in consumer behaviour that has accompanied it, most notably towards higher-end products, which has offset the fall in volume.” It continues: “One of the reasons for the increase in unit prices has been the trend towards premium products. For instance for PVC-U, which has 83 per cent market share in the home improvement window market, there continues to be growing interest in colour and woodgrain finishes as there has been in the new build market. The growth we are seeing in foils, in colour and in premium PVC-U systems, is reflective of what we would suggest is a shift in end-user expectation as well as innovation in the market.”

For housing maintenance professionals, the performance of windows and doors has always been important, thanks of course to ever more demanding building regulations, and also because of the benefits provided by warm and secure homes. But while it’s always made sense to ensure that they also look as attractive as possible, it is now evident that consumers are more ‘style conscious’ than ever when it comes to their homes.

They don’t just want their windows and doors to keep them warm and safe, they want them to look good. In fact, they want to show them off! As a result, the industry has responded to this thirst for premium aesthetics and quality, with an ever-increasing palette of colours, foils, innovation and style for products such as flush casements, composite entrance doors and elegant bi-folds, not to mention the next generation of glazed extensions and orangeries as well. It’s a phenomenon that has perhaps become most apparent at the FIT Show, the UK’s premier trade exhibition for the window, door and glazed extension market.

The FIT Show, which first appeared in 2013, quickly established itself as an essential event for the glass and glazing industry, and while it primarily ‘sells to itself’, it is also a fantastic showcase for specifiers and designers of all types of residential buildings. After a 2016 event that played host to some of the most important product launches seen in over a decade, including four entirely new window systems, the FIT Show promises to be bigger and better than ever for its next outing in 2017.

The previous show at the Telford International Centre featured 180 exhibitors and was bursting at the seams, so a new home at Birmingham’s NEC, which can accommodate closer to 250, has really given the exhibition space to grow – which means the potential to not only discover more new companies, products and services, but explore more business opportunities as well.