More and more installers may be looking to start fabricating their own frames after reports that nearly two thirds of enquiries to systems suppliers are from those wanting to move into – or return to – manufacturing.

The forecast comes from Insight Data CEO Andrew Scott, citing growing sourcing issues and lead time issues as the main driver for the change. “Faced with ever decreasing options, some installers are now seriously considering manufacturing,” he said.

“Indeed one systems company reported that only 40% of new customers this year are swap-overs; 60% are either companies wishing to fabricate for the first time or are returning to manufacturing after pulling out in the past.”

He had revealed at the recent Glazing Summit that the number of PVC-U fabricators in the UK had dropped from 1,860 to 1,195 today in the last ten years. While many fabricators have expanded production capacity in recent years the current increase in consumer demand, coupled with supply-chain problems means many installers are struggling to source products, with lead times extending and prices increasing. Some fabricators have even turned away customers.

“Our industry is facing a unique set of circumstances with a reduction in manufacturers and increased consumer demand, as well as the supply-chain issues and rising costs that other sectors are facing. It’s no surprise then that we may see some firms turn to manufacturing themselves.”

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