With a generation of conservatories already installed we find out why a decade on, the sector offers significant new opportunities.
The past decade hasn’t been a comfortable one for anyone operating in the conservatory sector. From 200,000 units in 2003 and an installed value approaching £1,800 million in 2006, the latest figures from Palmer, suggest that it dropped to an all-time low of 79,000 units in 2015.
“The market for traditional conservatories has contracted massively”, says Emplas’ John Leary. “We have seen very clearly through T&K our own retail business, that although it still exists, in general there has been a significant drop in demand for traditional Victorian-type conservatory installations.
“People have simply lost faith in the product and despite technical innovation in ‘actual’ product performance, there’s a stigma attached to conservatories.
“The demand for space is still there but demand for conservatories, at least in the way that they have been traditionally pitched, isn’t. It’s shifted to new generation hybrid orangery type systems.
“What that means is that there are lots of people out there who may have invested in a traditional conservatory 10-years ago and who are now looking for an affordable alternative solution.”
This rings true with Palmer’s wider analysis. According to The Window, Door and Conservatory Markets in Housing in Great Britain, (October 2016) the market for replacement conservatory roofs was up 62% in 2015 to 11,200 installations and is forecast for continuing growth through to 2020.
“If you look at the number of conservatories that were installed up to 2008, it’s clear that the market for replacement conservatory roofs is huge. This is especially so where installers can offer homeowners a solution, which addresses negative associations with solar gain and heat loss and which, also delivers far more flexible living space”, continues Leary.
Emplas launched the new tiled UltraRoof380 light-weight and high performance solid roof system earlier this year, opening-up access to this rapidly growing conservatory roof replacement market.
Manufactured by Ultraframe, the UltraRoof380 has been developed to tap into this growth area as a replacement roof system and as an alternative to traditional extension roofs.
The highly-engineered solution weighs in at only a little more than a traditional glass roof at 38KG/m2. This means that it can sit on existing window frames and fitted in as little as a day.
Available in carbon grey, harvest brown and terra brick finishes, engineered copolymer interlocking roof tiles offer a strong aesthetic match to traditional roof tiles and slate finishes.
“It’s a very cost-effective modular system”, says Leary. “This means that it can be installed in a day. As an advanced and highly insulated system, it also addresses the Achilles heel of older conservatory installations – heat loss and heat gain – while also creating a far more flexible living space.”
If technical performance alone is not enough to persuade homeowners of the advantages of the UltraRoof, the aesthetics it delivers should. Outside, easy to install solid roof slate effect tile sheets create a solid roof effect indistinguishable from a traditional slate and tile system.
The lightweight modular system can also be designed to accommodate Velux-style roof-lights or far lower cost roof windows. Inside an internal pelmet, and plastered roof replicates a traditional vaulted ceiling, a stepped detail, also providing an ideal location for spot lights.
“The Ultraframe UltraRoof380 is a really smart solution, opening-up a whole new sector of the market.
“The aesthetic is exceptionally strong, genuinely making it very difficult to identify the Ultraroof as anything other than a traditional roof slate.
“But it’s also as a fully integrated system, its much smarter. It can be made water tight in two hours, tiled in six, it can be configured to accommodate and work with a whole spectrum of conservatory designs.
“This ease of installation, coupled with genuinely exceptional aesthetics, delivers significant opportunity to installers in a rapidly growing replacement roof sector.”
UltraRoofs are supplied by Emplas as a solid roof system with slate effect tiles in standard RAL7016 grey matt effect. All insulating battens, fascia board and Black Marley Classic gutters are also supplied.
Pre-fabricated ready for onsite construction, its lightweight means that the Ultra-Roof can be manufactured to accommodate window frames to all elevations without the need for support posts. Standard internal soffits project approximately 40mm beyond the external face of the window frame, while the box eaves beam is approximately 380mm front to back. Roof pitch range is 12.5° to 41° while the system ‘U’ values, with the 190mm Unidek Aero panels is 0.16W/m2°C.
Leary continues: “The UltraRoof is also suitable for new build installations. Most installers will have ‘brickies’ on board anyway. In taking the brickwork up to the wall-plate and combining it with the UltraRoof, installers can go head to head with builders.
“Lower cost and far faster to install than traditional new build roofing systems, it also allows them to be far more competitive.”