Fenestration - Looking Beyond the Stereotype

Fenestration

While wooden doors and windows are still very much in vogue, alternate materials such as uPVC & aluminum are also making their mark in India, notes S.D.Khan

There's a bittersweet bond between scarcity and necessity. Ironically, necessities are abundant but the means of fulfilling them are scarce, and simultaneously, in every scarcity there's an element of unending necessity. The following quote sums it up perfectly, "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it!"

Since the beginning of time, mankind has been enamoured with wood. Out of all the dispositions of timber, one of the most visible and notable is fenestration (doors and windows). So wanton we have been in churning out wooden doors and windows that this necessity is now on the brink of becoming scarce. Nevertheless, the quintessence of windows and doors in a building remains intact.

fenestration has undergone a drastic revamp all over the world, and the trends are fast catching up in India as well. Apart from wood, doors and windows are now available in alternate technological configurations such as uPVC, aluminium, and in some cases, a blend of these technologies. However, the attributes of every material, be it wood, uPVC, or aluminium, are unique and each one of them is useful in its own way.

uPVC Windows

The Growing Fondness for uPVC

uPVC windows and doors are energyefficient, fire, wind, and moisture resistant, aesthetic, long lasting, thermally and acoustically insulated, and can be customized according to individual requirements. On account of these meritorious traits, this type of fenestration is gradually strengthening its foothold in the country.

Mario Schmidt


According to Mr. Mario Schmidt, the Managing Director of German uPVC major Lingel, "We are really proud of the fact that Lingel has been welcomed with open arms in India. Our doors and windows enhance the quality of life through heat reduction, sound insulation, durability, low maintenance, and eco-friendliness. All our future plans with respect to marketing, promotion, and targeted sales volumes are based on this sentiment. We see tremendous opportunities for our products in the Indian residential segment."


Amir Hashmi
uPVC fenestration
Affirms Mr. Amir Hashmi, Regional Sales Manager, Profine India Window Technology, "Today, the Indian consumers are well informed about the importance of good fenestration and they are keen on investing in the same. Under the Koemmerling range, we offer a vast range of uPVC fenestration products which suit perfectly to the Indian market, and not only have we met the evolving customers' requirements but also earned a good reputation in the market."


Sundip Kumar
uPVC Doors windows
Notably, uPVC fenestration is classified in various formats with fixed, casement, tilt & turn, tilt & slide, sliding, and bay being the major ones, and now, French designs, window meshes, and louver shutters are also gaining popularity. Delhibased Shani Corporation Limited (SCL), a major uPVC player, offers a vast range of fenestration products such as doors, windows, louver shutters, French doors with mesh, and much more under the CORA brand. An ambitious Mr. Sundip Kumar, the company's Managing Director explains, "Our offerings are the most aesthetically pleasing, balanced and functionally superior for every space. Our windows are built using eco stabilizers and offer optimum insulation, hence saving energy and the environment. The products offer excellent weather resistance, high durability, hassle free and minimum maintenance, and the tough build ensures enhanced protection from all external elements."

A point to be noted here is that no matter how qualitative or aesthetic the fenestration product is, its real value and utility lies in proper installation. This contention becomes even stronger when we talk of uPVC windows and doors, as they are based on European technology. So, it's essential that Indian fabricators and installers are apprised of the technical nuances and installation techniques of uPVC fenestration.

Aluplast GmbH
Christian Feldmann


Gladly, companies have taken cognizance of this essential, and are taking steps in this direction. For instance, German major Aluplast, which is quite active in India, conducted a comprehensive training session in Germany for its Indian channel partners and fabricators. Talking about this endeavour, Mr. Christian Feldmann, Market Manager Asia, Africa and North America, Aluplast GmbH, informs, "It was a very fruitful exercise as they were imparted theoretical knowledge, apprised of production technologies and techniques, and underwent a written test to validate their learning."

Shivendra Singh


Training and knowledge upliftment has been VEKA's -another German majorpriority too. Highlighting the importance of quality fabrication, Mr. Shivendra Singh, Regional Sales Manager – North India, says "For the Indian market, we have developed a broad network of 'Associate Fabricators and Dealers' in all the four major cities. These associates are efficient designers and fabricators, and specialize in supply, handling, and installation of VEKA's uPVC fenestration solutions."



Quality Fabrication

Artistic Aluminium

Kushal Bajaj
Meanwhile, aluminium too is a fusion of benefits, and fenestration in this category is lightweight, strong, conducive to colour diversifications, and can be given any shape or design. Last but not the least, it's eco-friendly, and economical as compared to other fenestration materials. According to Mr. Kushal Bajaj, Executive Director of Mumbai-based Geeta Aluminium, "Since it is comparatively economical than its substitutes, aluminium is high on demand as a fenestration raw material. The Indian mindset has traditionally been inclined towards price-consciousness, and keeping this in mind, Geeta Aluminium offers a blend of qualitative and competitively priced fenestration products that are backed by effective after sales service. Durability, toughness, longevity, and compatibility with all types of buildings are the hallmarks of our products."

The company's bouquet of offerings comprises aluminum windows, doors, partitions, sheets and all other related accessories, and it also provides turnkey solutions across residential and commercial sector. He adds, "Apart from being elegant, these products are noise free, smooth sliding, and fitted with proper locking that ensures safety from unauthorized opening of the shutter from outside."

Aluminium Fenestration

Santosh Jena
Highlighting the importance safety, Mr. Santosh Jena, Head Marketing of aluminium fenestration specialist Technal, states, "Burglar resistance, endurance, and weather proofing are the three vital attributes of good fenestration. Under the Titane range, we offer intensive-use doors for public buildings, residences, and schools, with elliptical shapes, 63 mm module, and reinforced security options. Meanwhile, our sliding systems, which are meant for the residential segment, are available in the Cital, Topaze and Topaze+ ranges. These solutions are suited to the tropical areas, which makes them highly weather proof. Aesthetics and durability add to the high performance." Technal also offers partition systems, and lifts and slide systems that are marketed under the category of Opale and Galene respectively.

He is of the view that quality consciousness is on the rise among Indian consumers, and aluminium fenestration has played a key role in this. Creating consumer awareness has been one of Technal's success mantras. Nevertheless, Mr. Jena observes that a structured ethos in the form of an apex body can do wonders in promoting fenestration segment to higher levels. "A regulatory entity that can implement building codes enforcement and monitor the performance, standardization and functional aspects of aluminium fenestration industry is required in India."

Wood and Wooden Synergies

The first choice of carpenters and a historical favourite, wooden fenestration has its own allures such as ease of manufacturing and installation, aesthetics, rust resistance, and durability. And despite the growing competition from its aforementioned counterparts - uPVC and aluminium- wooden doors and windows not only continue to don innumerable dwellings, but are also undergoing a transformation of sorts in the form of compliance with the 'green' requisites.

Glazed Windows

Mumbai-based Ritikaa Wood designs, manufactures, and installs high performance solid wood products such as glazed windows and doors and solid wood doors. All the products are made from Accoya, the world's leading high performance wood. Mr. Niraj Thakkar, Business Manager, apprises, "Our range includes casement, vertical sliding, horizontal sliding, louvered shutters, Lift- &-Glide / Slide-&-Fold sliding balcony doors (extra large windows), hinged balcony doors (large doors) and special shapes. We use 100% FSC/PEFC certified real-wood in all of our products which can be customized according to the varied requirements of clients. Architects and designers are instrumental in our growth. Pan-India, our trained installers leave no stone unturned in ensuring perfect workmanship. No wonder, we have executed more than 250 projects across the country."

Wood, as we have learnt, continues to be revered as a door and window raw material. It's akin to a motif that allows the artist to portray his thoughts freely. This freedom of creative expression is a USP of aluminium as well, perhaps that's the reason why they gel well. In fact, some fenestration majors specialize in this aluwood combo wherein aluminium windows and doors are fitted with wood panels inside.

Neeraj Singhal
Ghaziabad-based Kalco offers innovative solutions in this segment, and its Alu-Wood range is an embodiment of aluminium and wood. Mr. Neeraj Singhal, Managing Director, Kalco India, apprises, "We manufacture these products at our state-of-the-art factory in Ghaziabad with Italian technological collaboration, with 100% components sourced from Italy. While high grade aluminium profiles on the exterior give durability to the products, the wood panels add richness and elegance to the interior ambience, whilst the European hardware provides strength and security to the home. Alu-Wood stands out with respect to thermal as well as acoustic insulation, and aesthetics. Sound/noise absorption property of wood further helps in blocking echo and achieving excellent acoustic properties for the room. All the products use sealed units for the glazing to meet energy saving objectives. And where very high energy efficiency is required, one can further opt for thermal break aluminium profiles." Notably, the Alu-Wood range encompasses; Zaffiro two and three track sliding doors; Rubino inward opening (including Tilt & Turn) windows and doors; Diamante outward opening windows (including Top Hung) and doors; and Topazio Lift & Slide doors where each sash can go up to 250 kg.

Aris Dimou
On the other hand, Germany-based Unilux, which is charting growth routes in India, provides aluminium clad wooden windows. Shedding light on Unilux's solutions, Mr. Aris Dimou, Director Sales CEE, unveils, "Architectural elegance and state-of-the-art energy efficiency are our USPs. Uncompromising in terms of aesthetics, it is designed for highquality residential buildings and building complexes for customers not wanting to waste heat or A/C. Security accessories, sound proofing solutions and the use of PEFC (chain of custody of forest based products) & FSC-certified / FSC-controlled wood, the water based paint with low VOC (volatile organic compounds) bring us into a top position in real & ecologic green windows solutions. With a high aesthetic and a lifetime satisfaction for our clients, fulfilling the 5 s-principles of sustainability, safety and security, sound insulation, and last but not least saving energy, we meet all demands of international architects & designers, creating amazing homes and happy individuals and making a big step into supporting a healthy environment."

Aluminium Clad Wooden Windows

Well, influx of diverse technologies, evolving consumer mindsets, and a structured approach by manufacturers are transforming the Indian definition of doors and windows. The options are quite broad and it's the joint prerogative of the customer and the architect to opt for a particular fenestration. So the coming years will surely witness a surge in these choices!

MGS Architecture July 2014