New windows generally need to be made to measure and unlike other products on the market there is an added step in the process of getting your installation from the factory floor into your home or office. These are:
- The manufacturer who makes the parts for your window.
- The fabricator who puts your made-to-measure windows together.
- The installer who measures your windows and orders them from the fabricator.
Of course, some companies combine all three branches of the double and triple glazing industry and not only manufacture but fabricate and install as well. A lot will depend on whether you want a specific type of window installing – there are far fewer wooden window manufacturers for instance compared to uPVC. Cost will also vary depending on the type of material that you want to use.
The manufacturer makes the component parts of the window such as the glass panes and the frames. Most will specialise in a specific type of window such as uPVC or aluminium and will even, on occasion, act as a fabricator putting the frames together for your home. There are good number of manufacturers in the UK, some of the most well-known being:
If you are shopping round for a manufacturer then there is plenty of research to do. All have websites up online and you can check which areas they specialise in and get competitive costs for window components.
Fabricators take the measurements from the installers and then make up your windows so that they can be simply dropped into place, adding in things like locks and seals. When the installer then arrives at your home they will have several panels ready for each window section they need to do. That’s why it normally takes a week or two after you have agreed on the installation to get the windows made up.
Fabricators can also supply directly to the homeowner or they might deal only with the new build market where they work with construction companies rather than double glazing firms. Most will work with a mix of different outlets. Across the UK there are over 4,000 fabricators serving around 13,000 installers.
Once the windows have been made up by the fabricator, it’s the job of the installer to put them into the property. For large companies the fabricator and the installer are usually one and the same but for smaller companies they will normally ally themselves with a particular supplier. This may well reduce the different types of window they can deliver but it is worth asking if you want them to source beyond their usual fabricator, for example, for one that deals mainly in wooden frames.
Find out more about how to choose the right installer for your double glazing here.