A Bright Future
Ultraframe Marketing Director, Alex Hewitt, discusses how the company’s product range has evolved over the last 35 years from traditional white PVC conservatories to a range of glazed extensions, modern conservatories, and skylights.
“It’s over 35 years since Ultraframe was established, with our founder John Lancaster creating a conservatory roofing system that still lives on today – our Classic system. It’s the system that many fitters in the industry have ‘grown up on’ and around 1.5 million Classic roofs have been manufactured to date. The Classic system created and defined our sector, allowing installation companies to use a system that was purpose designed for the growing conservatory market in the 80’s.
While Classic is still the most configurable roofing system on the market, its most popular incarnations during the growth of our sector were white Georgian or Victorian conservatories. Colour was yet to make an impact on the window market the way it has today, and so conservatories were predominantly white to complement the windows of the property they were installed on. In terms of styles, people chose their conservatories mainly based on roof shape – with more intricate shapes like Victorians and P & T-shapes being popular.
Today’s modern conservatories are chosen in a completely different way, based on the lifestyle of the homeowner and what they want to achieve with their new living space, both in terms of looks and practicality. As the trend for coloured PVC windows has soared over recent years, conservatories have followed suit, with colour now being a key part of the design. Plus, the need for a cost effective, yet still beautiful way to build extensions has seen solid roof systems become a popular choice.
Families have evolved since the advent of the conservatory, with children living at home for longer due to various market factors, hence the growing need for extra space. House prices have also slowed somewhat, meaning that people can no longer simply move up the ladder to make money, and so homeowners are now looking for ways to add space and value to their home and make a good return on their investment. The modern conservatory is a great way to do this without the risk of ‘over-developing’ the property with a traditional extension where costs can escalate.
Ultimately, some homeowners will still choose a white glazed Georgian conservatory, because that’s what suits their budget and taste, but there is now a huge range of conservatory products available from Ultraframe to take this more traditional option from a ‘standard conservatory’ to a glazed extension fit for the families of today. Conservatories offer a cost-effective solution to adding extra space and value, and so our design team have re-engineered the conservatory to make it a living space that is the same temperature as the rest of the home.
We now have a wide range of core products, ranging from the traditional conservatory, to contemporary orangeries, solid roof conservatories and conservatory transformation solutions, and our range of extensions - from flat roof extensions with skylight or lanterns, to solid pitched roofs. The choice for consumers wanting to add extra living space to their homes – or reinvigorate an unused space they already have - these days is fantastic. No longer do conservatories come with the downside of seasonal use, and no longer are extensions out of the realms of affordability for the masses. Products such as our Super-Insulated Columns and Insulated Pelmet provide the extension look at a fraction of the price.
Just as the conservatory has evolved, so have the doors that go into them, with bi-folds or even lift and slide doors being on the wish list for many. Our latest solid roof and extension systems pair perfectly with these contemporary door solutions to create modern, warm living spaces without the need for additional structural support, that homeowners aspire to and more importantly, that are affordable.
The extensive range we now offer offers fantastic opportunities for installation companies wanting to take advantage of this growing market for modern conservatories, extensions, and conservatory upgrades. While we have developed the products, our customers have excelled in using these new systems to best effect. Week after week we are dazzled by the quality of the installations that our customers carry out using Ultraframe products. We are seeing more hybrid conservatories all the time featuring our solid roof systems, and the uptake of our extension systems has been fantastic.
There is a huge amount of skill in our industry and while many of the fitters gained their stripes fitting the traditional conservatories that the sector was borne from, they have adapted to the changing market, with many now building as many glazed extensions as conservatories. The conservatory sector is an exciting, ever-changing part of our industry with a bright future and we look forward to showing you our latest systems in 2020.”