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March 2016
India´s trending uPVC doors and windows market is set to boom with rising opportunities.
Doors and windows are no longer just objects to fill openings in the building envelope. From being mere architectural aspects, today they are design statements. In fact, India is among the top three emerging markets globally for doors and windows, with the window market alone estimated at about Rs 7,300 crore. And, with the burgeoning number of residential and commercial real-estate projects, the market is set for further growth.

While the slow pace of construction over the past two years affected demand for windows and doors, the market has been on a steady growth path, appreciating on an average of 20-23 per cent year-on-year. According to Rajesh Chawla, Director, VEKA India, ´The market is expected to grow at this rate in coming years.´ Rezwan Razack, Joint Managing Director, Prestige Group, agrees, but adds: ´There is a big shortage of vendors in the country.´

Reports suggest the global doors and windows market will grow at a CAGR of 5 per cent from 2015 to 2020. And, the Indian uPVC market is expected to grow at a 7 per cent CAGR during the same period.

So what´s trending?
A wide variety of doors and windows are available in the market and many of these are ready-to-fit.
For Robert Hoellrigl, President-Research Development & Design, Encraft India Pvt Ltd, the key trend is still larger openings, which demand products such as Fold N Slide or Lift N Slide doors. ´The more discerning consumer is asking for more variety in shades,´ he says. And Razack tells us, ´There are different fixing methods; earlier, there was the hold fast method, now it´s a form fixing method. We have now moved to the anchor fast method.´

An increasing number of projects are switching to uPVC, according to Chawla. Razack confirms this, saying: ´Aluminium manufacturers have moved to structural glazing, because of which we use uPVC.´ For doors, he prefers tubular shutters to panelled doors - a green approach!

For some, pre-finished wooden doors -factory finished - will be the next big thing. Chetan Desai, Head-Sales, ECUBE WINDOORS, says, ´Sliding windows are highly preferred compared to the openable type as they easily incorporate a fly mesh system and consume less space.´ For pre-finished wooden doors, the company uses lightweight eco-friendly cores such as tubular and honeycomb, made from recycled wood.

Asahi India Glass (AIS), too, offers products with high-performance, energy-efficient reflective glass and heat-reflective glass, among others. Internationally too, aluminium and uPVC are trending.

Spoilt for choice
The market offers wooden doors, framed and panelled doors, glazed doors, partly panelled and partly glazed doors, flush doors, louvered doors, and more (see box on´Specialised products for specific segments´ below). According to Saket Jain, Business Head, Fenesta, ´Fabricated, ready-to-fit doors and windows are available in the market from foreign countries and local manufacturers; even for those who do not want to move to other materials, mechanical seasoning of wood avoids shrinkage problems.´

Fenesta offers sliders, casements, Tilt N Turn, bays, combinations and arches, large-sized windows, etc. The windows derive 95 per cent strength from reinforcements made of galvanised steel or aluminium sections. The company´s recent´Designer Door´ and´Front Door´ provide durability, strength and security. In India, VEKA offers two lines of profile systems: VEKA Premium and VEKA Projects. ´We are in the process of adding more features to the current range to redefine the portfolio of these systems with more value-additions and price-competitive solutions,´ shares Chawla.

Encraft India designs and manufactures products for the local market. It offers Casement, TwinSash windows, Tilt N Turn and sliding windows; and standard in-line sliding, Tilt N Slide, Lift N Slide and Fold N Slide doors. Hoellrigl says, ´We are now working on adding different profiles for niche applications.´

For aluminium windows and doors, Geeta Group has designed its Geeta Series for budget homes in Tier-II and Tier-III cities and for high-end villas and high-rises. Its´System Windows´, with efficient system profile designs, provide solutions for cleaning, maintenance and proper water drainage. Kushal Bajaj, Executive Director, Geeta Aluminium Co Pvt Ltd (Geeta Group), adds, ´We also provide customised solutions.´

AIS products focus on solutions in the architectural glass segment, which include clear float glass, heat absorbing glass, distortion-free mirrors, tempered glass, Dupont sentry glass, lacquered glass, etc.

ECUBE WINDOORS has three main product offerings: uPVC window systems, pre-finished wooden doors and aluminium window systems, which cater to the mid and high-level segments.

´We plan to foray into retail and expand our footprint,´ adds Desai.

uPVC wins the´smart´ race

As for smart buildings, uPVC is already in the lead with its thermal properties. The benefits are many - such as high stability against harsh tropical weather and high insulation properties - making it ideal for soundproof and energy-saving windows. Chawla explains, ´Welded corners are also a USP of uPVC that makes them functionally more durable compared to conventionally joined windows.´

uPVC doors and windows are made of eco-friendly and recyclable material, using a compound PVC (or polyvinyl chloride), a common plastic used in construction. In its pure state, PVC lacks the properties required to satisfy durability and weather parameters.

´To increase the performance of the final product, micro-ingredients such as heat stabilisers, impact modifiers, UV stabilisers, lubricants, etc, are added to the PVC,´ explains Vikram Khanna, COO-Consumer Glass, COO-Architectural Institutional Business, CMO, CIO, Asahi India Glass Ltd (AIS).

These ingredients minimise the effect of solar radiation on vinyl frame and sash and prevent colour fading and degradation from UV light.

uPVC windows require minimum maintenance and prevent ingress of noise, dust and wind. ´These do not absorb water and have a unique water drainage system and gradient slope, which ensures rainwater is drained out,´ explains Khanna. For his part, architect Ravi Sarangan, Executive Director, Edifice Consultants Pvt Ltd, still prefers aluminium.

Smart uPVC benefits
Manufacturing uPVC consumes less energy compared to aluminium and it can be converted into other useful products at the end of its life-cycle. Combining its benefits with multiple glazing options in the TwinSash, gives thermal performance with U-values of as low as 0.6 w per sq m K. ´All uPVC frames can be fitted with smart building solutions such as automatic closers that are linked to outside sensors and alarm systems,´ explains Hoellrigl. For green buildings, Chawla suggests, ´uPVC profiles with appropriate additives like CaZn and without any lead content.´

Also, uPVC is a poor conductor of heat with a low U-value and a smaller carbon footprint. ´This reduces the load on air-conditioners,´ adds Jain. However, for Hoellrigl, to create whole glass fatades, aluminium is still the best, but in the near future, it will have to meet higher standards in thermal performance. Being a polymer, uPVC is resistant to wind, fire and water, is easy to maintain and has zero environmental impact being lead-free. ´Galvanised reinforcements enhance the strength of the profiles. uPVC windows are resistant to corrosion, rust and termite infestations,´ explains Khanna.

The price factor
Both aluminium and uPVC offer improved benefits depending on glazing specifications, according to Sarangan. ´You have to choose based on cost and function.´

The per sq m cost of a window ranges from Rs 4,500 to Rs 7,500; for a door, it ranges from Rs 7,000 to Rs 8,500; brickwork, including plaster, costs Rs 2,800 per sq m. And, in a low-cost house, the cost for a window is Rs 80 per sq ft and for a door it is Rs 100 per sq ft (see box on´Products for low-cost housing´ on page 116).

In a tropical environment, you need cross-ventilation. However, based on cost, many developers cut corners by giving dead walls instead of windows in residential projects. ´This is mainly in the mid-income housing segment,´ confirms Sarangan. Thankfully, with developers aiming for green building ratings, there is a wall-to-window ratio specified. ´While this is critical, optimum use of windows is important,´ says Sarangan. To this, Razack thinks differently. ´Cost does not determine the number of doors and windows in an apartment,´ he says. ´The vendor must be able to manufacture, deliver and install rightly.´

Major challenges
Despite the existence of many organised players, unorganised players demand the market. In fact, they comprise over 95 per cent of the aluminium windows and doors market.

There is a pressing need for quality guidelines and adherence to the same. ´These guidelines can provide training and knowledge to professionals by ensuring prerequisites checks,´ explains Bajaj. ´A set of guidelines should also be given to developers to maintain standardised window sizes to save cost in the long run.´ For Desai, too, lack of quality awareness and uPVC benefits are the greatest challenges while deciding on the price. Indeed, these standardised guidelines will ensure quality and help reduce cost.

Another major challenge is to improve fabrication standards to match international parameters and for suppliers to ensure that fabricators use good quality hardware. In addition, site issues and old construction practices remain obstacles, says Jain. For Chawla, the biggest challenge is a lack of ´default quality standards´ in our country. And Razack says, ´Different architects bring in different sizes, which poses a challenge for us.´ Also, for uPVC, he adds that vendors manufacture and send it on site, but the problem lies in their inability to install it.

Pool of opportunities
That said, better quality standards of buildings and related elements will certainly result in an increase in demand for doors and windows.

uPVC is set to become a priority area for the middle and upper income group segment across metros and mini metros. Also, while the rising focus on affordable housing is another huge pool of opportunity, new housing construction and replacement activities will be major drivers. ´Prestige alone has nearly 1.5 lakh openings for windows, and door-cum-windows,´ shares Razack.

Add to this, the smart cities mission, of which smart homes are a vital component, and you realise how wide the window of opportunity truly is!

Quick Bytes

  • Steady market growth at average 20-23 per cent YoY.
  • Indian uPVC market expected to grow at a 7% from 2015-2020.
  • uPVC in the lead with its thermal properties for smart buildings.
  • Standardised guidelines required to ensure quality and reduce cost.
  • Huge opportunity with focus on affordable housing and smart cities.

Specialised products for specific segments

  • Residential: Casement or sliding windows are preferred.
  • Commercial spaces: Curtain wall glazing and façade engineered sections, which are unitised or fabricated systems, are preferred.
  • High-rises: Fireproof doors are used. Developers are also opting for curtain wall glazing.
  • Hotels: While these may have different requirements, Razack says, ´Hotels look for hardware that allows safety.´ Sarangan explains, ´For hotels, not too much is spent on curtain wall glazing unless it is high end. Typically, double-glazed sections are used.´
  • Hospitals: For acoustics and dirt prevention, it is similar to hotels.
  • Mass housing: The most preferred are three-track, three-sash slider doors and windows. Some additional windows may be casement top hung with fixed part on the top and slider window and casement door combination.

Products for low-cost housing
To make the government´s´Housing for All´ a reality, uPVC is the material of choice.

A budget house will require an entry-level sliding and casement system in the case of a uPVC window system. ´A pre-finished wooden door of tubular or honeycomb cores will suit the same,´ shares Chetan Desai, Head-Sales, ECUBE WINDOORS.

AIS Opal caters to this segment. It is a range of hard-coat reflective glass with solar control properties, says Vikram Khanna, COO-Consumer Glass, COO-Architectural Institutional Business, CMO, CIO, Asahi India Glass (AIS).

Geeta Aluminium plans to have 50´Window Display Centres´ across India by 2018. ´Our R&D team is already working with renowned aluminium extruders to make aluminium system windows at reasonable or lower cost, without altering the quality,´ shares Kushal Bajaj, Executive Director, Geeta Aluminium Co Pvt Ltd (Geeta Group).

According to Rezwan Razack, Joint Managing Director, Prestige Group, painted and veneered laminates on both sides are now being preferred.

Standardisation - of opening, segment and door width sizes - is the key to keeping costs down and aiding mass production, according to architect Ravi Sarangan, Executive Director, Edifice Consultants Pvt Ltd.

Doors:
Price range per sq m
Flush doors: Rs.6,500-8,500
Wooden fire-rated doors: Rs.7,500
Metal fire-rated doors: `6,000
Metal doors:Rs.3,500
Bakelite doors:Rs.1,800

Windows:
Price range per sq m
uPVC windows: Rs.5,500-8,500
Aluminium windows: Rs.3,500-5,500
Wood windows: RS.8,500-10,000

- Seraphina D´souza
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