We caught up with managing director, Justin Seldis this week to discuss what has no doubt been a truly defining year for Sunsquare and the UK flat roof skylight industry.
We started by asking Justin how he measures business success:
“In several ways really. Firstly, no business owners do what we do purely for the love of it. We are blessed to have had another year that was far better than the last from a sales point of view, but more importantly, we use what we have to invest in making us the very best in the world.
“Our biggest achievement this year is undoubtedly one which backs up our claim to be the world leader in our industry.
“Sunsquare are the only company in the flat roof skylight industry to have been awarded a BSI Kitemark for quality, safety and reliability.
“Our weather facing product range has been tested to levels that no others have and passed every single one without issue. The way we run our company means that our valued clients know, categorically, that they are getting the same quality every time.
“Every element of the way we run our business and design, manufacture and install our products was placed under the microscope and deemed to be acceptable for the world’s most recognisable mark of quality.”
Regulating the UK flat roof skylight industry
There is no doubt that Justin and the company as a whole are extremely proud to be raising the bar for industry excellence, taking a previously unregulated sector to new heights.
“Prior to our BSI Kitemark the flat roof skylight industry has been completely unregulated,” added Seldis.
“Our core belief is that if a huge piece of glass is hanging over a child’s head, the least it should have is some sort of certification.
“Sadly, until August this year, anyone could make a skylight and that, unfortunately, has fostered some undesirable practices.
“At Sunsquare we have always championed forward thinking and I can proudly say that we have now changed the way the industry will have to operate in the future. Anyone can apply to be Kitemarked, and as such I would strongly advise that clients only buy from companies whose whole product is Kitemarked, not just the glass.”
Exciting new product range
Aside from setting industry-leading safety and reliability standards, the company has also overseen an entirely new product range into the market, which has been extremely well received by architects, contractors and homeowners alike.
“Our new product range takes Sunsquare another step forward in design and superior products,” said Seldis.
“The 30-degree pyramid has been particularly popular. We first displayed the new products at Grand Designs Live in London to unanimous approval and enjoyed a very successful show all-round.
“We also have a new permanent display at the BRE Innovation Park in Watford, displaying our product range and new touchscreen control pads, which is another nod to our reputation for design and innovation.”
Investment in production
The increased demand for Sunsquare skylights has not come without a cost: but its £1 million investment in three new Elumatic machining centres has effectively doubled Sunsquare’s production size, allowing one factory for manufacture and a sterile factory for glazing.
“We are testing our new bespoke software that will revolutionise the way we operate; helping us to achieve completely lean manufacture and allow us to give accurate delivery and installation dates to our clients at first point of contact, whilst enabling our trade clients to order from a portal of their own – again, a first for the industry,” added Seldis.
“We have also completely redeveloped the way we make and package our Upstands to make them more thermally efficient as well as easier to install.
“We have become a member of the SPRA (Single Ply Roofing Association) to listen to what the industry demands and our Upstands are unanimously what it likes.
“Again, Sunsquare were the first and only company to supply a separate Upstand to its clients. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. We have been copied, but our innovation continues to draw new lines in the sand with regard to Upstand performance and reliability.”
Taking Sunsquare to new markets
Overseas expansion is something that Justin talks about excitedly and confidently, as the company seeks to take its Kitemark to new markets.
“We have been working hard with the UKTI to establish links in Europe and further afield and will be expanding our operations to more countries in the coming months,” said Seldis.
“We will also be inviting clients to view a completely revolutionary new range of products for flat roofs next year at the Home Building and Renovation Show.
“Innovation is something that we don’t just talk about; we simply do it. Not for one moment will Sunsquare ever stop seeking ways to improve every aspect of what we do and it’s this ambition that makes us world leaders in our field.”
So what’s next for Sunsquare in 2016?
“It is not in our nature to sit still or dwell on our success,” admitted Seldis.
“Next year will be much of the same with new products, new shows, new countries and new technologies – as our company motto states, we’re continually believing in better.
“We also believe that giving back is good for our company and our chosen charity, the East Anglian Children’s Hospice (EACH) received £15,000 from us by way of a donation with a cut of each order we take going to this fantastic cause. We have always believed in investing in our business but also being humble about our success.
“Finally, I would like to thank every single person that’s taken the time to contact us and browse our products regardless of whether they bought from us. I would especially like to thank all of those that put faith in our product and bought from us.
“My heartfelt thanks to all of the team here at Sunsquare too. With a company rapidly approaching 50 colleagues, they make this all happen and without them we are nothing.
“May I wish all of our clients, staff and colleagues a happy Christmas and an extremely happy and healthy 2016.”