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Buyer beware

20 October 2020
Here at Sunsquare, our focus has been on staying safe and doing our best to service our customers with some of the restrictions in place. So far, so good despite some odd moments. However, we have noticed a couple of interesting trends.

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Here at Sunsquare, our focus has been on staying safe and doing our best to service our customers with some of the restrictions in place. So far, so good despite some odd moments. However, we have noticed a couple of interesting trends.

Because of the general uncertainty in the world, clients seem to be more thorough about the decision making process and, finding the best deal seems to have taken a back seat over quality. Never before have we been asked so many really important questions about the various qualities of a roof-light. Our clients seem to be more and more aware of how a rooflight should be put together and seem to be wishing to ensure that their hard earned money is spent wisely. We have also seen trends towards skylights that offer ventilation and access have increase exponentially since we were all confined to our homes for a while.

Our new Smartsquare skylight with the facility to control your skylight and many other aspects of control through our app has been a massive leap forward for the industry, timed with demand. The fact that we can now offer a skylight with its control panel housed within the frame and now offer our actuation protection facility has pushed us so far ahead of the field that has become our most popular product.

Some of the questions that are regularly asked relate to U-value. The mystical figure that everyone talks about and wants to keep as low as possible has many, many different ways to be calculated. Most companies offer a centre pane U-value calculation, which merely takes into account the sealed unit. In reality, most skylight companies could state that their U-value were 0.6 or something in that region if it were based purely on glass. When you add frame and upstand into the equation, that is where things start to get a little more interesting. Companies that quote amazing u-values of 0.6 suddenly have actual u-values of 1.7-2! In actual fact, their skylights would not pass building regs if they were honest about the true calculation. As the only Kitemarked company in the industry we are allowed to calculate our competitors U-values and publish them. We would not stoop to that, but it appears our clients are cottoning on to the fact that not all that glitters has value….U-value.

We offer U-value calculations, as standard, with certification for anyone who needs them and for every product we manufacture. We would urge anyone buying a skylight from us or anyone else to ask for written confirmation of an overall U-value to be sure that their project is meeting building regulations.

We are often asked about UV protection. Again, some companies state that their products offer this when they simply don’t. The only way of offering UV protection is to offer a laminated inner pane, which not only blocks 99.9% of UV, but offers ultimate safety if a skylight were to break or be damaged. Laminated inner pane skylights are THE only way to offer UV protection. Solar control and other coatings on glass simply do not act as UV defence.

We would advise any client to look at the reviews online for a company they are considering using for the supply of their rooflights. Whilst there are many fake reviews online, it is possible to spot a trend with the more honest 1 star reviews. Both google and Trustpilot reviews are easily accessible and give a snapshot about a company. No one of us is perfect and all companies have off days, but it is how a problem is dealt with that really makes the difference.

The most striking difference in recent months is the change in clients attitude to price vs quality. Sunsquare have never competed to be the cheapest option out there, but we have seen a trend in recent months where clients are willing to spend a little bit more for accreditation and quality. Accreditations are an indication of how a company operates and, in some cases, how they are ethically positioned. Because Sunsquare offer a full installation service by our own engineers, we have found that more and more contractors and Architects are considering ISO14001 as a benchmark. It would be easy to blow our own trumpet when it comes to being the most accredited company in our industry, but it means more than a boast. It means that we have exposed our products to testing in every way possible to ensure our clients that we hide behind nothing and have taken the time and spent the money ensuring that what is hanging over their children’s heads is fit for purpose in every respect. Sadly, that is not the case for many companies in an unregulated industry.

All in all, it has been encouraging to know that many more of our clients are questioning the status of some companies in our industry, which is well overdue. Hopefully this trend will continue until full regulation comes into our industry when quite a few of the companies that hide behind falsehoods will be exposed. In the meantime, it seems that our valued clients seem to want to understand precisely what they are buying, which is exactly as it should be.

Should you require any further information please don’t hesitate to call our team on: 01922 714087.

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