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There are several players in the door industry and it’s quite complicated depending on which part of the industry we are talking about.
For PVC-U and aluminium you have profile manufacturers. These are the people who make the lengths of PVC-U and aluminium profile that are used to make the doorsets. The majority of profile manufacturers don’t make doorsets themselves, other than making up some samples for testing and certification purposes. Instead, they supply the profile to door fabricators. You can therefore gather that there are a few profile manufactures each with many hundreds of door fabricating customers. The fabricators either install their own made-to-measure doors and or supply them to preferred specialist installing companies, or do both. In addition, some of the fabricators will supply doors to retail outlets to be bought by the public and builders, some will supply to the trade only, some will specialise in supplying very large commercial orders for a new housing estate and yet others will supply doors to anybody who might want them!
As the customer wanting to purchase a door that is certificated to the security and performance standards you must bear in mind that it is the fabricator or manufacturer who must hold the certification in their company name, not the profile company. One of the reasons for this is that although the profile manufacturers encourage their fabricating customers to make doors to their system, some fabricators will want to use a different lock or perhaps different hinges. This may well affect the performance of the doors so they have to be tested again with the different hardware in place. Even if the fabricator sticks exactly to the profile company’s specification the fabricator still has to submit samples for testing and certification to make sure that they are being made correctly and they are performing as well. In these circumstances the fabricator only has to submit limited samples because the certification authority will accept quite a lot of the previous test results carried out on the profile company’s samples.
As you have already gleaned, installers take made-to-measure doorsets from their preferred supplier and install them into the building. If you are replacing the doors in your house you will often be dealing with an installer, rather than the actual fabricator of the doors. This is not a problem at all, providing you ensure that you get exactly what you have asked for, the installer provides you with the certification documents you need from the fabricator and they are installed in accordance with the specifications of the fabricator. Therefore an important question you need to ask is “who makes the doors?”
Timber doorsets are manufactured in joinery shops and the companies that make them can vary enormously in size. A lot of them tend to be fairly small and supply their local area whilst there are some very large firms making many hundreds of doors a week. By and large the smaller companies tend to supply all the different markets, although it is quite possible that you will still be dealing with an installer who buys the made-to-measure doorsets from the joiner. Again you will need to see the evidence that the product is certificated to the standards.
Composite door manufacturers again vary enormously in size ranging from 20 doors a week to many hundreds. There are plenty of composite doors available that meet the security and performance standards, and as the manufacturers supply all the different markets you will probably end up dealing with a specialist installer if the door you want is from one of the bigger manufacturers.
Composite doors comprise a timber hardwood sub-frame filled with tough high-density foam such as polyurethane. Most of these doors are faced with a 3mm thick skin of glass reinforced plastic (GRP), but some use UPVC or aluminium instead. The doors are usually hung in a PVC-U steel reinforced frame.
Trade associations for the door industry
If you would like to find out more about the door industry why not check out the websites of the various trade associations?
British Fenestration Rating Council
Operated by the Glass and Glazing Federation, the BFRC is responsible for Window Energy Ratings in the UK
British Plastics Federation Windows Group
The BPF Windows Group represents the interests of all those involved in the PVC windows industry, including raw material suppliers, additives suppliers, PVC windows suppliers, fabricators and installers
British Woodworking Federation
The British Woodworking Federation is the trade association for the woodworking and joinery manufacturing industry in the UK
Council for Aluminium in Building
Formed in 1994 CAB’s members include consultants, fabricators, installers, systems companies and many specialist product supply and manufacturing companies
The DHF represents the interests of manufacturers and installers of industrial, pedestrian and garage doors as well as manufacturers of locks and building hardware.
The Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) is a trade association representing companies who make, supply or fit glass and glass related products
The Steel Window Association (SWA) represents the great majority of UK steel window manufacturers, ranging in size from the smallest of craft-based companies through to large, multi-site companies.
Updated June 2015