Tony Pell, stair product manager at Jeld-Wen, explains how technical accuracy, a bespoke service and streamlined manufacturing can ensure high-quality, fit-for-purpose and time-saving staircase solutions.
It is no secret that the knock-on effect of Brexit and Covid-19, combined with an uplift in demand resulting from an increase in home improvements, has led to an ongoing scarcity of raw construction resources. The nationwide shortage of timber, which has been in limited supply since the first lockdown last March, isn’t expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until early next year and, as global demand reaches an all-time high, UK supply chains are feeling the strain. So, how can you ensure the most cost and time effective installation of stairs both to meet client expectations and to give your business confidence to deliver?
Minimise Time, Save Money
Major manufacturers like Jeld-Wen, who have been forward-buying and stock piling essential materials for longer than the past 12 months, have been less affected by shortages, and builders’ merchants are starting to implement longer-term planning into their purchase patterns to mitigate future delays.
Jeld-Wen is proud to continue upholding a competitive lead-time for staircase manufacturing and offer a range of tailored services to support all builders, saving time and money at every stage – from the initial planning and building compliance, to carpentry and construction, to the finishing touches. Working with a large volume of housebuilders means we have a steady supply of materials and an average manufacturing lead-time from four weeks.
When working to a tight schedule and budget, an unavoidable part of fitting a staircase is painting – one of the most laborious jobs, especially when trying to achieve a high-quality finish or if there are knots in the wood. Pre-primed components can reduce the time spent on this by days, and stairs are available with a pre-primed finish, meaning builders simply need to apply the final top-coat on site for the final touch.
With increasing pressure on timescales for project delivery, pre-assembled options can be an invaluable solution to speed up installation during the construction process. Jeld-Wen provides fully assembled balustrades to exact specifications, eliminating the need for additional carpentry and enabling a quick and easy fix on site.
Find A Service That Delivers
It goes without saying that when staircases are well-constructed, measured and installed, builders will benefit from a smooth installation process, while the homeowner can enjoy a quality final product. When it comes to stairs, even the smallest inaccuracies can be costly and difficult to rectify and can have a knock-on impact further down the line.
Not only that, but a badly measured or designed staircase can present safety hazards and compliance issues. What may initially appear as a minor error could inevitably become a major problem in time, and even impact the value of a property when the owner eventually comes to sell.
In 2015, the Office for National Statistics suggested that 787 deaths in England and Wales were caused by a fall on steps or stairs, while there was an estimate of 250,000 non-fatal accidents resulting from a fall on stairs that were serious enough to merit a trip to A&E. Many properties don’t meet basic safety standards when it comes to staircases, including missing handrails, broken spindles and balustrades with weak lateral restraint. To mitigate these hazards, it’s crucial to work with a reputable, tested and certified manufacturer and consider outsourcing measurement and planning to a technical expert who is experienced in the structural design of staircases.
When builders work with Jeld-Wen, they benefit from access to a nationwide network of stair technical support executives, who can visit project sites and provide a full survey with precise measurements, including step height, handrail and tread width, stairwell dimensions and headroom clearance. Using specific software, designs are reviewed to ensure the highest level of accuracy and compliance with relevant building regulations, enabling the customer to enjoy a streamlined service every step of the way.
Pre-machined stair components, cut to exact measurements in the factory using five axis technology, are also supplied ready for easy installation and designed to reduce time and labour spent on site. This includes a pre-cut and pre-notched wall string for a neat finish, a pre-notched newel post, which makes it easier to make any final adjustments on site, and pre-drilled newel and string tenons to give a much tighter draw bore fit and reduce the chance of squeaking stairs.
For more information on Jeld-Wen stairs and the service they provide, visit www.jeld-wen.co.uk