IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT BIG
The replacement window and door market is one in which the differences between brands and products may be measured, if at all, by slim margins and nuances. So much of why any of us, at home or the office and factory, make a decision to buy from one supplier over another, is based on instinct and intuition, despite often having carried out extensive research. Even in significant decisions, often – usually? – it is the little things that count.
Citing the motor industry, it has been said that there is no such thing as a bad car anymore, and perhaps the same can be said of windows and doors. What may also be said of both sectors however, is that few products actually stand out; there is a lot of ‘vanilla’.
And these thoughts were what drove Danny Williams of window and door manufacturing and contracting group Pioneer Trading, when he decided to look for a new entrance door to supply his own retail installer customers, but actually, if this particular Holy Grail could be found, then maybe he could sell it to a wider audience.
After a search that took place during the Covid Years, Danny found Gerda. A manufacturer of residential entrance doors, the Polish company is also a well-known, throughout Europe at least, producer of locks of the bike and pad variety, of window and door hardware and even garage doors; essentially, every way of securing and protecting something from unwanted ingress or removal. Here, in the UK however, the Gerda brand is known only within the confines of social housing.
With Danny Williams’ penchant for making a splash, anonymity has evaporated, as since he introduced Gerda entrance doors to an unsuspecting UK replacement window and door industry at last year’s FIT Show and reinforced at the show’s most recent outing, Gerda Doors is now a thing, a brand, a part of the UK window and door market.
And as Danny settled upon this brand in his quest for ‘something different’, perhaps we should examine why he feels that Gerda is, if anything, not vanilla: “To glance at any Gerda door the obvious reaction is ‘yes, nice, look good’. When you touch the door and especially when you open and close it, the difference is obvious – Gerda doors are faced with steel or aluminium, set over aluminium sub-frames and filled with a thick core of PU foam. They are so obviously different from the majority of resi-doors that populate the market here,” explained Danny.
The numbers work too, says Danny: “Our decision to open discussions with Gerda were based upon conversations that I had with Ray [Sinclair, Pioneer Operations Director] who had dealt with Gerda previously and one of our [Polish] fitters, who raved about the quality of these doors. After that, it was the numbers and specification… multi-point locks, three bolt main locks, anti-burglary vertical bolts, anti-theft pins and optional auxiliary locks for added security.
“And thermal performance is as low as 0.8 [W/m² K] for the solid doors, which means that they are ready for whatever the market and Building Regulations throw at us, probably for the next five years or more.”
The physical experience had to wait for Covid restrictions to reduce but when Danny was able to experience the products at Gerda’s advanced factory and development centre, it was love at first sight: “The doors were everything that I was looking for,” waxed Danny. “And now we have had a year’s experience of seeing how homeowners react, when they see, touch and try the doors for themselves in retail showrooms. These are premium doors in terms of construction and performance but the retail pricing is not out of sight for most homeowners. The reaction is that once they have tried the Gerda door against others, they find the money.”
Then it is the little things that count big, says Danny: “An example of the attention to detail that Gerda put into everything they do, is the keys. Gerda supplies two installer keys, with five homeowner keys supplied separately in a sealed pack, which is generally more than enough for most households. When the installation has been completed, the first use of by the homeowner of any key from the sealed pouch, renders the installer keys useless. How clever is that!” exclaims Danny rhetorically, “that’s the sort of detail that separates these doors from the rest.”