The introduction of aluminium windows and doors to market includes a string of different people and companies that all have their place in making an aluminium system a reality on a building project.
Understanding this chain and process can be a real asset when trying to negotiate the broad market that exists for aluminium systems. Below is a brief run through of the major divisions in the aluminium fabrication market:
A systems house designs a window or door ‘system’. They will design how the aluminium product will work, look and feel. They will also carry out the major base testing of the system to ensure that it is suitable for the market. This testing will include weather performance, thermal insulation, acoustic insulation and security.
Once a systems house has designed an aluminium system they will produce manuals for how it should be made and will normally also create the lengths of aluminium profiles that will be used to fabricate the window or door installation.
Schuco are a notable example of a Systems House. Schuco are probably one of the best-recognised names in the aluminium window and door market however they do not make a single window or door for purchase. Instead, Schuco design an aluminium window or door system and then sell this design to aluminium fabricators who create the window or door that will be installed on site.
A fabricator will purchase the base elements of an aluminium system from a brand/systems house and create individual windows and doors. This then allows fabricators to create aluminium systems that are bespoke for each installation or project. The shape, size and frame colour can all be specified (in accordance with the system limitations) to make sure that the end aluminium installation meets all design criteria.
For example, Hedgehog Aluminium are a fabricator of Schuco Systems. When someone purchases a Schuco window or door from us we purchase all the base components from Schuco and then fabricate the system at our state of the art factory . This includes cutting profiles, joints, handles and any additional ironmongery.
However, we are also fabricators of our exclusive Sieger Systems range which is not available anywhere else .
The installer is the person or company that will install your window or door into the project. This could be the builder on the project; it is possible to buy basic aluminium windows and doors from fabricators on a supply only basis for an experienced builder to install.
In most cases, the fabrication company you work with will have an installation team in-house or can at least recommend one.
You should check on any quotations you receive from your aluminium fabricator whether they include installation or not. It should be clear within the contents of the quote.
When you speak to an aluminium window and door company you should understand who they are in the chain. Are they simply a Systems Designer (like Schuco) who design systems and have fabricators to create them? Are they a fabricator that make the windows and doors and get others to install them? Or are they an installer that buys windows and doors from others and installs them?
Hedgehog are a unique company within the aluminium window and door market. We are fabricators. We are installers. And we also offer the exclusive Sieger Systems ( only available through Hedgehog Aluminium or the IQ Group ).
That means we have a unique element of control over the procurement and manufacturing process, allowing us to offer you unprecedented lead times, unrivalled quality and expert knowledge in all the systems we offer.
It also means that you only need to talk and work with one company throughout your aluminium systems installation. Our team includes expert technical specifiers who can help you pick the systems you want to use, in-house contracts managers to communicate with our factory on your behalf and manage the glazing installation and expert glazing technicians who undertake the installation.
If you have any questions about working with a company like Hedgehog Aluminium just get in touch with us and a member of the team will be happy to answer any questions.