Carlisle Windows on the move

Anne-Marie Busch, Marketing Manager at K2 Conservatories speaks to Stuart Thompson, MD of Carlisle Windows, about their recent move to new premises.

AMB: First of all, congratulations. Moving business premises is never an easy task, as K2 knows well. I imagine you are pleased it is all done

ST: Thank you, and yes we are very pleased, and not just for a move that went well, but because our business really needed it in order to grow.

AMB: You are obviously expecting a busy 2011?

ST: Yes we are. We have been consistently busy these last years, despite the difficult conditions. Even when the crisis hit, 2 years ago, we quickly made up for the initial dip in business; so overall I am very proud of the fact that the company has been performing extremely well.

AMB: What are you aiming to achieve?

ST: This move had to be done in order to allow us to expand. We are now on a 1.7 acre site, and our premises have gone from 12000 sq feet to 24000 sq feet, with a much bigger showroom. And of course we still have our show site at Harker, Carlisle with 9 fully installed conservatories on show.

AMB: Will there be any changes in your operations?

ST: Yes; we are aiming to start fabricating new products such as bi-folding doors and sash windows. Of course we are also anticipating a rise in the number of windows and conservatories we are making… We have a much more prominent site which will now make us more visible to passer bys, which is exactly why we chose it. We have a solid team throughout the business, with 4 dedicated sales reps, 6 fitting teams, 8 office support staff, 2 full time surveyors and 18 skilled workers in the factory. We are well prepared and know we can continue to provide a high quality product to match our fantastic service.

AMB: There’s no stopping Carlisle Windows! Today is your open day and you have even succeeded in bringing the Mayor of Carlisle to officially open your premises.

ST: And Sharon Owen, K2’s new Sales Director, of course!

AMB: So, to finish, how do we now find you?

ST:Quite easily, we are still on the Durranhill Industrial Estate, but now at 19 Stephenson Road, which can be seen from the fly over.

K2 Ground Breaking

More of a pounding really ... and it is the sign of great things to come from the roof systems manufacturer.

So... pounding? Well, in December some expansion work started at Century House, K2 Conservatories’ HQ. With an array of new products to be launched it had become crucial to invest in a showroom that would allow the company to welcome its visitors in style.

What about that pounding..! Ah well; K2 are not having just any showroom installed, but are actually using the opportunity to present all of our latest products. The showroom itself includes the patented K2 portal frame, which will be glazed with Celsius Elite glass, powder coated in Anthracite Grey on the outside, and foiled with Irish Oak on the inside. Measuring 14m long by 7.4 m wide, it is fitted with under-floor heating and will include a private conference area. All of this will offer visitors a comfortable but exclusive location where they can view our latest range of products.

So, of course, that “pounding” started, as we needed some solid foundations, which included having to put twenty 6m long piles into the ground. The whole building felt like the set of Jurassic Park for a week.

The culmination of this very exciting project is an official Open Day at the end of March. For some of our customers this will be the chance to put faces to names. And of course it will be the perfect opportunity to introduce all of our great new product ranges.

K2 Showroom Mock

So what exactly are those products?

In order to keep up with a changing industry - with lower volumes but a more demanding customer - K2’s strategy is to differentiate itself by actively promoting its high end products.

New colours, new Celsius, new orangery systems, bi-folding doors, aluminium, and the portal system will all be on display.

The K2 colours

The industry can no longer justify offering the limited choices it did until very recently. Homeowners are savvier and now want a product that will compliment their property and suit their lifestyle. K2 started actively promoting a brand new range of colours and foils over the summer. We now offer any RAL colour for our aluminium powder coating, with the most popular ones being Chartwell Green (K2 offers an exact powder coated colour match with the foil), Anthracite Grey and Irish Oak. The interest in those colours has seen a noted increase in the sale of coloured products, particularly for powder-coated aluminium, a clear indication that buyers are seeking premium products.

Celsius again leads the way

A market leading product since its launch in 2003, the whole Celsius range - Clear, One and Elite – now offers a U-value of 1.0 or below (0.9 for Elite), an industry first for blue performance roof glass. And with impressive statistics such as 78% heat reflection and 94% UV protection it is not difficult to see why we lead the way.

New Celsius Glass

The K2 Orangery systems

Homeowners are now seeking something different from the traditional conservatory, and it is apparent that the orangery has gained substantial awareness amongst them, with approximately 60000 orangery related searches taking place on Google in January for the UK (up from 12000 in November 2010)

K2 Orangery Systems

• Option 1, the Capella: designed to be fitted on a Georgian or gable shaped conservatory with a K2 roof, it offers a beautifully sculpted aluminium gutter and an internal soffit that are simple add-ons. It will instantly add a new dimension to a standard conservatory, yet remains within the reach of most budgets – unlike more traditional orangeries there are no requirements for timber frames, plastering etc… - and crucially the Capella design does not fall under Building Regulations.

• Option 2, the Integra: designed to create a traditional orangery roof, this system fits on the inside of the brick wall. It is a complete solution that includes the roof, a 400mm wide integrated gutter, a 580mm internal soffit, support beams etc as well as plaster boards, insulation and other materials needed to finish the orangery roof. This is an incredibly practical solution, providing the installer with a fully engineered product ready to install with minimal trade requirements.

• Option 3, the Venetian: designed as a self-supporting structure, it is also supplied as a complete kit, with additional structural aluminium legs (making the roof free-standing). It allows the design to be totally flexible, using window frames, bi-folding doors, French doors or brick walls without worrying about supporting the roof. Featuring a large (428mm) powder coated aluminium frieze and a 630mm internal soffit for a true wow factor. A complete package including structural and heat loss calculations, and technical drawings, are also provided.

And should anybody ask – as they undoubtedly will – these products aren’t necessarily going to be the lowest price on the market; but then again K2 aren’t known for selling bottom of the range products. Sally Fielding comments: “I don’t believe we would be where we are today if we had pursued that route. In line with our current product range we have produced systems that offer true added-value, through high-end design and engineering, and will ensure our customers can easily enhance their product range and generate business. Ultimately, we aim to provide our customers with what their business requires to be successful: high quality, reliable and long lasting products.”

Portal systems

Again, with homeowners looking for wide ranging products, often with glass roofs, the use of a portal frame to ensure structural integrity is often required.

Not everybody might be aware of this but K2 has been designing and supplying portal systems for the best part of 10 years. We have installations throughout the UK and abroad, including many in America and Russia, for both commercial and residential uses. We work very closely with our customers on these projects, and can provide a full design service and on-site visits during the build to ensure a trouble free installation.

And finally, as bi-folding doors become more and more popular, K2 have introduced a selection of structural eaves beams and corner posts to allow designers more flexibility and create clear openings of up to 6.5 metres within the conservatory.

K2 Designer Collection getting noticed

Following October's launch of our new range of litterature, the K2 Collection , we are very pleased to say that the reception has been extremely positive.

It si all the more pleasing when we get the sort of feedback given to us by Sun Shield Products:

As conservatory roof specialists we see a lot of conservatories, and I mean a lot. In a past life I worked for a company that imported baby wear and since then I have a had a massive aversion to baby grows with Disney characters on, in particular, Winnie The Pooh! So you’d think that with all the conservatories we see, the last thing I’d want is a conservatory. Well in a way, you’d be right. I don’t want a standard lean too or gable on the back of my house. I see them all the time. If I was going to go for a conservatory I’d fancy something a little bit different. Something modern, stylish and unique. Today I have come into the office to find the K2 Designer Collection on my desk. It is lovely!!! ...(read more)