This article was written by Richard Lancaster, Managing Director of Lustalux Ltd, who has been been installing window film nationwide since 1989.
How many people remember the momentous events that happened in 1989?
Chances are, if you’re in your 20s or younger, you may be unaware of the historic happenings that occurred such as The Fall of the Berlin Wall, the Hillsborough Disaster or Tim Berners-Lee inventing the World Wide Web.
A lot has changed over the years with the creation of new, evolving technologies that have changed sectors across the UK; not just the facilities management market.
However this sector in particular has adapted considerably over the last 30 years. It is now estimated to be worth £121.8 billion, according to the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM).
I’ve been working extensively with facilities managers for almost three decades; providing effective, low maintenance solutions to buildings management. I understand how crucial it is to provide a safe and healthy environment, especially in relation to windows, energy efficiency, safety, security and employee satisfaction.
Window film isn’t a new concept in the Facilities Management sector but how has it evolved over the years; what has changed?
Whether you’re responsible for a single building or a large portfolio, window film can:
- Ensure properties are fully compliant with building safety regulations
- Protect personnel in the event of spontaneous glass breakage (blast mitigation)
- Keep tenants happy by minimising overheating and solar glare
- Ensure sufficient insulation in winter months
- Improve energy efficiency
Window films have become more long-lasting and durable. Some externally applied films are now warrantied for a minimum of 10 years whereas a decade ago they’d be warrantied for two-three years which certainly helps when the purse strings are being reviewed.
We’ve found that more and more facilities managers are also acknowledging the benefits that solar control film offers in reducing running costs of air conditioning, in addition to the projections detailing payback as little as two years. We can now even run trials using data loggers to show improvement in solar heat reduction!
How else has window film changed over the last 30 years? Well despite a fall in workplace incidents, employers’ liability claims are on the rise, as reported by AXA. Almost 25% of SMEs have had to claim on their Employers’ Liability insurance in the last five years despite the fact that the number of reported workplace injuries and accidents has fallen.
And when asked why this spike had occurred, 84% of respondents blamed the UK’s compensation culture, in addition to over 75% blaming the role of claims management companies.
These figures correlate with our industry observations and the surge in requirement for glass containment for unexpected shattering. As we’re all aware, window film can do much more than reduce heat, glare and UV. It can also protect personnel from injury in the event of glass breakage.
It can be extremely challenging when dealing with spontaneous glass breakage- otherwise known as Nickel Sulphide Inclusions. Glass is a fragile material, which, if not protected correctly, can pose a hazard to yourself and the people around you. In the case of toughened glass, the effect of the granulation of any given pane into thousands of tiny pieces can be extremely harmful to anyone in close proximity at the time of the incident.
In the last few years we’ve seen a spike in enquiries across the UK for the use of safety film to reduce the risk of injury caused by accidental damage as well as avoid the threat of legal action surrounding a glass-related accident.
Just looking to search engines like Google, one can see how the interest in window film has changed over the last five years.
Back in February 2004 the number of searches per month were at its all time highest. This has fluctuated over the years but been on the rise steadily since 2012.
We’ve installed window film all over the country from London’s tallest office block, and Grade I and Grade II listed buildings in Preston to an oil refinery in Cheshire.
From where window film was in 1989 to where it is today is astonishing. And it’s only going to change even more so with the introduction of new products and trends such as Architectural ‘wrapping’ vinyl surface film.
One thing has remained though; and that is to operate to the highest standards, using the best quality materials whilst delivering outstanding customer service. We’re excited to see what the next 30 years hold for the window film industry!
How Has Window Film Evolved Over The Last 30 Years?