There’s ‘sash’ in the attic and many more places besides as Professional Builder ‘cases’ the headquarters of Quickslide.
It’s a moot point as to who actually invented the iconic sliding sash window, which has played such a fundamental role in shaping our nation’s housing stock over hundreds of years.
Some say it was Britain’s Robert Hooke dating all the way back to the mid-1600s, others that it originated in Holland. Whatever the truth, what is certainly not up for debate is exactly where this fenestration concept has subsequently been taken to previously unimagined levels of innovation, design and availability.
These latter day pioneers of the sliding sash can be found residing in the West Yorkshire town of Brighouse in the rapidly expanding premises of Quickslide Windows and Doors
Overseeing operations is founder, chairman and former cabinet maker Adrian Barraclough, who in twelve short years has transformed a humble local window fabricator into a renowned national supplier, employing more than 160 staff and producing over one thousand doors and windows a week in a mind-blowing array of shapes, sizes and materials.
Explains Adrian: “Originally employed as a consultant to a small window company in the early 2000s, I was becoming increasingly aware of just how many traditional sliding sash windows there were in the UK and also the increasing number of problems associated with them at that time.
“It’s estimated that there are around 6 million homes with some form of sash window ranging from huge Georgian period piles, to row after row of Victorian terrace properties. What they had in common, however, was a propensity towards disruptive and expensive repairs, whilst new alternatives were extremely limited when it came to customer choice.
“Quickslide was set up in 2004 with the sole purpose of providing the fenestration business with a solution to this age old problem, offering a PVCu low maintenance, stylish product at a price which would be attractive to both homeowners on a budget and developers of new homes.”
From a small unit in Brighouse, Quickslide very quickly earnt a local reputation for delivering on those key objectives, and was extremely active in spreading the word to builders in the rest of the UK through trade journals like Professional Builder and industry shows.
“Recalls Adrian: “We knew we had to do things very differently from what was already out there and that meant offering a product that was not only attractive to look at but was available on fast turn arounds and highly competitively priced.
“The aim was always to be masters of our own destiny, undertaking as many elements of the production process in house as possible and never being reliant on outside influences which could delay the process.
“It meant a significant investment both in machinery, software and, of course, skilled people, but it paid off and continues to underpin the company’s philosophy today. Within a short while we were adding more profiles to the range and dealing with a huge number of special requests.”
Today, sash windows remain the core product, with foiled finishes bringing the window to life with a glossy, freshly painted, realistic wood effect.
There is the option to have the windows white on the inside and foiled on the outside to any colour using Quickslide’s own paint plant.
The key to success has been the company’s ability to maintain the proportions of a traditional unit, whilst incorporating the very best of modern technology, such as tilting upper and lower sashes for ease of cleaning, low line beads and gaskets for improved sight lines, energy efficient glass with A energy rating to reduce heating bills and assurance of security in the form of Secured by Design and Quickslide’s own ten year guarantee.”
In recent years the company has also acquired other units within the site and now occupies more than 150,000 square feet, supplying PVCu and timber sash windows, casement windows and doors, Aluminium bi fold doors and windows, sliding patio doors, plus a Solidor composite door.
There is also a special Residence 9 luxury window to replicate the 19th century Flush timber window for
conservation areas as well as a large number of glass options.
“We are constantly challenging ourselves and the team to be better at what we do,” confirms Adrian, “because although we have come a long way I believe we have only realised just a tiny fraction of this markets full potential. And for that to happen we need to continue to invest heavily not just in material equipment but also in the brightest people, whilst ensuring our hands on approach remains at all times.”
To this end three years ago, Michael Connor was bought in as MD to add his considerable business acumen to the day-to-day running of the business, and Ben Weber ensures continuous improvement in operational control with analysis into every aspect of the production process, from time in motion to optimum stock holding levels.
Making up the three musketeers is Sales & Marketing Director Tom Swallow, who is tasked with putting Quickslide at the forefront of anyone who is in the market for a window or door with extensive digital marketing efforts and trade partner support.
“It’s really all about understanding how the builder works and what he needs to satisfy his customers,” says Tom. It’s drilled into all of the staff, from the guys on the frontline in the technical department fielding installation queries, to the fabricators on the shop floor, who are ultimately responsible for upholding the quality behind the brand.
“We offer a live quality control process, meaning that after each stage in the production process, the operative will check and sign to confirm they are entirely happy with the quality of the workmanship.
“When it leaves here the product is absolutely pristine and call backs for the installer are kept to an absolute minimum. The newly created Quickslide academy for fabrication will ensure a constant flow of skilled operatives who can work with a variety of materials and complex designs in the future,” enthuses Tom.
If Robert Hooke is at the top, then it’s fair to say that on a great sliding scale of sash window development, Quickslide and its indefatigable chairman Adrian Barraclough are running him pretty close.
For further information on Quickslide click here.