The Glazing Industry

“There is no such thing as bullet proof glass”[1] says Ken Sampson, owner and founder of United States Bullet Proofing Inc. Apparently, even with the wonders of modern technology, a window can still be broken.

In accordance with the Building Act of 1984, homes in the UK are required by law to make provisions for “the natural lighting and ventilation of buildings”[2]. Or in simpler terms, a house must have windows. With around 25 million homes in England and Wales[3], each with a number of windows that can, by accident or design, be broken at any hour of the day or night, glazing is big business.

There are close to 12,000 listed companies[4] across the UK who provide glazing services. Ranging from emergency glazing repair, to bespoke glass moulding and cutting. The aims and practices of these glazing companies can very greatly. For example an emergency glazing specialist will be concerned with a fast and efficient service. Glaziers specialising in this area will usually offer a 24-hour a day call-out service and will be available 365 days a year. This is a heavily saturated area of glazing so competition between businesses is high. In contrast bespoke glass cutters are few and far between, because of this they will concentrate on quality over turn-around, as their reputations are built upon their craftsmanship. These specialists may often need to be booked weeks in advance.

Overseeing the cornucopia of glazing services on offer is the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF). The GGF is the main representative organisation for companies involved in all aspects of glazing[5]. It's aim is to promote its members, industry best practice and help set the highest technical standards in glass manufacturing, fitting and repair. As The GGF is recognised by government and plays a large part in the setting of new standards and regulations, any respectable glazing company will be a member of the GGF.

Recent government amendments to the building act[6] have seen regulations brought in that require glaziers to consider the insulation efficiency of their products, in a bid to increase energy conservation in homes. This has meant an increase in the operating costs for glaziers, which has of course then increased the costs of the services that glazing companies offer. However although the initial outlay costs of glazing are on the rise, the potential for savings, made from the conservation of energy in homes, will, in the long term, benefit the customer.