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Bristol Bifold: The Best of The West & Why?

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How to get exactly what you want...

It is surprising how many customer s are unaware of their options when it comes to bifold doors, especially those who have been in the market for their doors for a while and still aren't aware they've been missing out on products which not only make the doors more practical but increases their security and makes them more economically efficient.

Okay, so first things first, you should know that bifold doors (ours at least) are not really an ‘off the rack’ type purchase.

Almost every element of the doors is customisable, from the vital aspects such as width, height and configuration, to smaller details like door furniture and colour.

Another quite important part of your doors that is changeable is the glass. A lot of people (from my experience anyway) seem to only base their expectations around standard double glazed units, which, to be honest are our most popular option.

A cut above the rest?

 BUT, for those looking for that extra something, we are able to offer a variety of glass options, from Celsius (thermally efficient – ideal for south facing properties) to integral blinds (blinds which operate from within the double glazed units).  

I think this is what separates us from the norm, our ability to offer above and beyond our customer’s expectations. 

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There are several other considerations to make when choosing doors, such as their security and ease of use. Our doors are fitted as standard with an anti-bump lock, and are all complete with finger safe gaskets to avoid any trapping!

We try our best to always provide not only a product, but a service that goes that little bit extra for the customer.

Our doors are bespoke to each individual customer, and so is the service provided. We want to make sure you purchase exactly what you want, down to the last screw-cap!

 

Of course we are proud of our company as a whole – from our installers to our team in the office, we make sure that everything runs smoothly from quote to installation.

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But something else that we pride ourselves on as a company is our diversification and our ability to offer that little bit extra as standard with our products.

An Autumnal Update & Bifold Advice!

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Although chilly, the weather certainly hasn't been putting people off their build projects. We're still booked through to the last week of October currently, with new fits being scheduled daily.

I think now especially, people want to have everything done in time for Christmas and those that have planned accordingly are getting the majority of their projects finished early on.

That's not to say we won't still be fitting bifold doors in December!

You can see a glimpse of some of our recent installations in the picture above. We've been fitting in rain, wind and, more recently... floods.

For the past few weeks there has been severe flooding in and around Bristol due to the bordering-on-ridiculous amount of rain we've been experiencing lately.

We are proud to say however, that we only had to postpone one installation due to the floods (two days later) and that was because there was a 'puddle' (more like lake) outside our premises that was swallowing cars by the minute!

Look out for #bifoldadvice!

We are also in the process of creating a bifold door advice hash-tag on Twitter. At least once a day, from today onwards, we will be sharing a snippet of our wealth of bifold knowledge with you all! From cills to handles and door furniture – no bifold stone will be left unturned!

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So if you fancy learning a bit more about the ins and outs (pun intended!) then keep checking #bifoldadvice – and learn something new everyday!

Or you could cheat...

And learn all about bifolds in one go by downloading our bifold buyer's guide below this post....

Am I the only one who feels like Autumn is hitting especially hard this year? No slowly falling leaves and mild evenings, more like ever present grey clouds and unpleasantly crisp mornings. This may be a direct result of having little to no summer, but still... it would be nice to have a few days where it wasn't necessary to wear a million layers.

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This post will be giving you a peak at some of our installations recently, and telling you what we've been up to (a lot!) over the past few weeks and how we're finding the initial stages of the run up to Christmas.

The Future (of Fenestration) is Bright!

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2012 has been a year of beating the odds...so far at least.

The window and door industry were expected to do fairly poorly, given the poor economical state of the country and the construction trade doing equally poorly.

So far however, this has not been the case – and as I, and many other observers have pointed out previously, this is not because are economy 'isn't that bad' it's because people are spending their limited funds on improving what they already own instead of purchasing anew.

I think this is the beginning of what will be an important factor in the modernisation of the fenestration industry. It will become less of a case of replacing windows with windows and doors with doors, and more about the gadgets and innovative design systems that accompany the new doors and windows.

That's not to say people won't still have a need for what the industry has traditionally sold...we will always need windows and doors – denying that is ridiculous!

We'll always need doors and windows....but..

But what I do think is that the market will be much more focused on the high-tech pieces of equipment, such as integral blinds, intelligent glass, electric window systems and energy saving structures, instead of simply the doors and windows themselves.

We are seeing a huge increase in customers that don't want your bog-standard door fitting anymore; they want bifolding or sliding, performance, energy-saving, economically engineered doors with integral blinds and electric window openers.

And, in the future, this list of 'high-tech' extras will become the norm, and the new list of extras will be the futuristic looking equipment that is still currently inaccessible for UK installers.

For example, intelligent window systems using products such as Smart Glass which promotes the idea that the possibilities of glass technology are endless.

With transparent glass monitors, and electronic touchscreen displays within the glass, it really is a product of science fiction!

But fairly soon (hopefully!), products like these will be a reality for the window and door salesmen of the UK and the industry will continue to modernise, evolve and sell products which people not only need, but want.

Want a piece of the action? Take a look at our bifold guide below, and enjoy the benefits of technology in your own home. 

With technology speeding along at a somewhat alarming rate, it would be impractical to be part of an industry that couldn't keep up with these changes.

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With the recent release of the iPhone 5, and computer tablets being a much more widely recognised asset to the workplace (especially in sales) it is easy to make the fairly safe prediction that the future of any office is going to see technology being used to improve everyday systems.  The real question for the fenestration industry is how is the market going to adapt and sell products that fit in with this technological advance?

What IS a Bifold Door?!

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The in's and out's of bifold doors...

By definition, bifold doors are capable of being folded into two parts – but in reality this can be more like 5 or 6. The most popular configuration being 3 leaves, with a traffic door (allowing you to still use the door as a throughway when you aren't opening all leaves).

bi•fold
• [bahy-fohld] adjective
capable of being folded into two parts, as with leaves that are hinged together: a bifold door; bifold shutters.

Another common misconception is that the bifold mechanism is only available on shutters (see definition above...), wardrobe doors, or on internal doors.

This is outdated information, bifold doors are a great way to combine your indoor and outdoor living spaces – and they are fully equipped to provide security, protection from the elements, and energy efficiency for your home.

Visually pleasing AND practical..

Visually, they are a lot more interesting than bog-standard patio doors, but I think there's a bit more to it than just aesthetics. They add an element of fun to your home.

You can either open one door (your traffic door) and have it function as a main exit or entrance (ours are fitted as standard with anti-bump locking cylinders), OR, you can open your traffic door and then proceed to slide all of the hinged door leaves to one side, forming a concertina to one side of your door opening.

As each leaf is effectively a floor to ceiling glass window to the outdoors, bifold doors function as a brilliant way to make the most of your view.

With minimal sightlines (the hinge between each door leaf) you are able to create an almost seamless window on your outdoor space - even when the doors are shut. 

Buyer's Guide

We think bifold doors are great (as you might have gathered...) but we are bifold specialists, of course we do! We want you to feel the same way! But also to understand what bifold doors are, how they work and what their practical benefits are.

Please download our bifold buyer's guide below for our wealth of bifold knowledge! Or give us a call on 01454419310 for any other questions you have about bifold doors.

I know what you might be thinking...surely this should have been my very first post? After explaining all the variables, all the benefits and all the reasons to have them installed, why am I now going back to basics and going over what they actually are?

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Mainly because whilst they may not be a new product, they are growing immeasurably in popularity and are being installed more and more frequently into extensions and new buildings as an alternative to French doors. However, the only people who seem to know about them are builders/architects/tradespeople, which to us is a big shame. We want YOU the consumer to be as knowledgeable as your architect, so that you can make a considered and informed decision.

Why Season Change = Priority Change in the Bifold Door Market

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Hello Autumn...

As most of Britain was busy complaining about our lack of summer we seem to have failed to realise that whilst it wasn't blue skies and sunshine everyday, it was at least mildly warm.

With the very sudden and noticeably colder appearance of autumn, I think it's safe to say we wish we had our damp July back.

As with any change of season, the colder weather brings forward new issues in the door and glazing industry.

As featured in my last post, external condensation becomes a more frequent occurrence, and the weather changes the priorities of our customers – the majority wanting (and needing) their projects to be completed before the real biting cold sets in.

A general guide...

Priorities of our customers are usually design, price, lead time, and energy-efficiency – maybe not always in that order.

But throughout the year, there are factors which alter the leading priority of clients. For example, at this time of the year – as I mentioned above – lead time is much more important than say the spring, when people are safe in the knowledge of a long hot (or not as we've found this year...) summer ahead of them.

The closer to Christmas we are, the more urgent order's become as everyone wants build projects completed and decorated by December 25th! Not just for impressing their festive guests, but to ensure that they are well sealed against the snow (or sleet for England) and not losing heat.

So really, as the nights draw in lead times and energy efficiency are the key factors our customers are concerned with.

Fortunately for us, we are able to dispel both worries instantly.

Firstly, with our standard colour aluminium bifold doors we are able to provide a 2 week turnaround time = big smiles on our customer's faces come November!

Secondly, we are able to provide performance glass – making their heat loss worries a thing of the past and in fact making their homes MORE thermally efficient.

Things to keep in mind...

1. Remember to keep your schedule on hand, and make sure your installer knows exactly when you need your doors.

2. Always ask about other glazing options, you'll be surprised at the choice available and benefit of having an alternative to standard double glazing.

3. Keep a price figure in mind when deciding on an installer, but be flexible – and remember that you get what you pay for – don't fall for false economy.

4. No matter what time of year, design is important. Make sure you are purchasing something suitable for you, and your home and that your installer is aware of what you want the finished outcome to look like.

5. Don't rush into a sale! Take your time, go through your options and make an informed decision – you'll thank yourself later!

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If you want to get your project started now, please feel free to give us a call (0117 992 3101) to arrange a home visit, or pop into our showroom and we'll show you our doors!

If you want to know a bit more about bifold doors first, or how we operate as a company have a roam around our website or download the bifold buyer's guide below this post.

Prioritizing is important in all aspects of life, but when making a change to your home, or a purchase such as bifold doors, it's pretty important to have some idea of what you are looking for and why. And, of course, priorities change.

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This post comments on the effect of the change of seasons in the window and door industry, and what you should be aware of as a customer.

Why Condensation on Windows Isn't Always a Bad Thing

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External condensation is commonly confused with internal condensation...

...which is a legitimate problem where droplets form between the double glazing.

The issue lies with trying to explain this clearly when making a sale – the VAST difference between internal and external condensation – as saying there is a chance of condensation in cold spells is often confusing and worrying to a potential customer.

As @glazingblogger points out, previous customers often call us around this time of year (or anytime of year where there is a noticeable change of temperature) saing that their units have failed as there is condensation clinging to the external part of their glass (ie. The bit that faces the elements).

What we then have to do is try and clarify that this is not a sign of glass failure, but actually a great sign that the glass is doing exactly what it's meant to.

Droplets on the OUTSIDE = glass performing well

The colder the weather outside (or the bigger the difference between the air inside, and the air outside) the harder the glass has to work to keep the heat inside.

This often results in the appearance of condensation, however, the fact that the condensation in this instance is forming on the outside of the glass (as opposed to the inside, between the glazing) is a sign that the glass is performing correctly and retaining it's heat.

Meaning that the only opportunity water beads are given form is located on the outside of both the glass, and the property.

Loft insulation analogy...

I've also read a great analogy written by the guys over at Lister Trade Frames  , comparing the situation to loft insulation...

On a snowy day, the customer of a loft insulation company may ring them querying why the snow has settled on their roof, when it's melted off all of their neighbour's roofs.

Simple answer – the reason it's melted from the neighbour's roofs is because all of the heat escaping through the loft from the central heating of the house has melted the snow – clearing the roof.

The only reason the snow has not cleared from this particular customer's house is because their loft is so well insulated that very little heat has escaped through the roof, meaning that the roof isn't warm enough to melt the snow.

This is the same reason condensation forms on the external part of a double glazed unit – the glass is doing it's job so well that the heat from inside isn't escaping at all.

Meaning that the only place condensation can form is the outside.

Stay warm this Winter!

So this Autumn, feel safe in the knowledge that those tiny droplets forming on the outside of your glass means that its WORKING!

And you can keep all of your heat where it should be, inside! 

I think this explains the situation pretty well - but of course, if you have any further questions about double glazing or any of our other glass options.. (Ie. Celsius performance glass) please call us on 01454419310 and we'll be happy to talk to you about this issue or any other bifold door queries. 

 

External condensation – doesn't sound like a good thing does it? It's easy to see how this could be misconstrued as something negative, or even a sign of failure of a window.

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 This blog post is inspired (again) by a recent point made by DGB and aims to get rid of this myth surrounding double glazed units that condensation on the OUTSIDE of a glass unit is a bad thing.

The Importance of Being A Specialist

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Decision making...

Making any kind of dramatic change to your home requires some well thought-out decision making regarding the product you're purchasing or having built – be it bifolds, decking or a complete new extension, and also the way you want the item installed or built (as I mentioned in my 'Do's and Don'ts' post last week).

But what I think is often overlooked by the customer, is who is actually building/fitting/constructing this exciting project that you've spent so much time and money on!

Especially in this economic climate, business is business and many companies are expanding their capabilities so they are able to complete as many jobs as possible.

And while this may be benefitting them in the short term financially, it would certainly make me wonder (as a customer) if they truly had in depth knowledge and experience of every single product they were selling/installing.

For example...

If I were to buy a watch – I would much prefer to buy a watch from a company that specialised in watches and were dedicated to that particular product, rather than a company whom I could also buy my week's shopping, some new clothes and a TV from.

What I'm getting at is I would rather by my watch – or bifold doors – from a company who were experts in their field, and knew everything there was to know about their watches.

Rather than a company who knew a tiny bit about a lot of products.

Know your installer!

So really, all I'm saying is – get to know your installer! Make sure they know bifold doors inside out, and can answer all of your questions.

For example, our fitters and staff are constantly re-trained by Origin Origin, the manufacturer of our Bifold doors.

This means that our standard of bifold fitting is consistently at the highest level. They also fit bifold doors every day of the week. No exceptions.

This is why we are happy to call ourselves bifold door specialists because it is WHAT WE DO.

This week's blog post will be short, sweet and informative. It's main purpose is to emphasize the importance of choosing the right installers for your doors (I touched on this topic last week).

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But I'd also like to talk briefly about the industry in general and how 'specialist' companies seem (to me at least) to be being wiped out by companies claiming to 'do it all'.

Essential Do's and Don'ts When Purchasing Bifold Doors

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We want your project to run as smoothly as possible...

...and whether you choose to purchase your doors through us or not – we've come up with a general list of do's and don'ts when buying bifold doors that we would DEFINITELY recommend having a browse through before committing to anything.

The full list is featured on our website (here) but I've pulled out a few of (what I think are) the most important points to remember and gone into just a little more detail on why we think these precautions are so important.

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So lets start with a few 'Do's' – things you really, really, really should consider (we think) before making any decisions regarding your doors.

View the actual door you intend to buy.

• Sounds pretty obvious right? But the last thing you want is something turning up on the day of installation that is completely different to what you envisioned. A good company should have a showroom, where they will be able to give you a working demonstration of the doors and talk you through all of the moving parts. (Fancy coming to see our showroom? Give us a call and book an appointment as we tend to get quite busy..).

Get an insurance backed guarantee.

• I cannot stress this enough. It doesn't matter how reputable a company is, if they don't have insurance backed guarantee's covering their installations then you are putting your finances in danger should anything happen to the doors or worse - the company. It won't cost you any extra, and it should come as standard with your contract for a door set. We're backed by DGCOS, BM TRADA and also use IPWFI insurance backed guarantees to ensure complete peace of mind for our customers.

 These are just two of a fairly long list of things to check before using an installer (see the full list HERE) but they are crucial to choosing bifold fitters.

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 Okay, now for the negative stuff...here's what not to do...

Avoid bifold doors with an external track.

• Don't know what this means? Let me explain...an external track is one that is bolted on to the bottom frame of the door – instead of being an integral part of the frame. When the track has been bolted on to the front of the frame (or on top of the frame) it's unlikely that the doors are purpose made, bifold doors. All of our running gear (the bits that make the bifold move) is enclosed within the frame and bottom track, making the doors much more secure - especially as an external track could possibly be levered from the frame.

You get what you pay for - don't base your decision on price!

• An age old saying but especially relevant to the bifold door industry. There are plenty of cheap systems and plenty of expensive systems, but to ensure you receive the best quality doors – do not base your decision purely on price.

Avoid 'floating mullions'.

• Basically, a floating mullion is an extra piece of material that is fitted between each door leaf. Pointless, unattractive and will make no difference to the operation of your doors – it may even hinder them as these extra pieces can cause the doors to drop.

Don't pay the balance until you're installation is complete.

• ...and you are satisfied with your doors. A lot of companies (including Bristol Bifold) don't ask for the final balance until the doors have been installed – I think this is common practice for any installation company that is sure of their fitters and confident in their product. If you have paid full balance in advance (which some installers do also ask for) then you have less chance of a fast and efficient solution to any remedial work that needs doing after the doors have been fitted – ie. Any adjustment to the doors.

Again – please read our list in full as there are several equally important issues that I haven't been able to cover in this post and would hate for you not to see these do's and don'ts before you go ahead with a purchase!

If you are thinking of getting some bifold doors installed at your property – whether it's with us or not – you should have a look at our buyers guide (the download is in the link below this post..) which will answer any questions you have before you buy. If there's anything we've missed – give us a call at the office on 0117 992 3101and we'll be happy to talk to you.

When taking the leap and getting any kind of home improvement work done, you really want to be sure you are doing things safely, properly, in the most efficient, cost-effective and stress-free way possible.

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You want your installer/builder/architect/contractors to not only know what they're talking about when it comes to their trade, but know what you want to achieve within your project.

How We Keep Our Customer Reputation Glowing

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To begin, let's just take a moment to mourn the British summer – this year it has been, for the most part, non-existent.

Rain, wind, temperatures all over the place; not ideal.

Interestingly, this hasn't put customers (ours at least...) off completing their home improvement projects or getting on and finishing their extensions.

Since the end of May we have been booked solidly, and although several jobs have been held up due to rain, it is good to see the British public aren't letting the weather ruin their plans.

If anything, now is a great time to improve your home (particularly installing new windows and doors).

Because if the weather stays this miserable the best way to enjoy your garden/patio/views will be through some weather-proof glass!

Now to move on to the main point of this rambling post...on my return to the office I caught up with the other industry blogs, and was interested by the moral of the short story DGB mentioned in his post (click here to read...it's pretty relevant to this post so you probably should).

He is basically trying to enforce the age-old rule, that as a retailer you must stay in touch with your customer throughout the sale, good news, bad news and even when there is no news.

This is especially important in the door and window industry.

Whether it is installing windows and doors into a brand new extension, fitting bifolds to replace tired patio doors or just replacing a lock – decorating and changing an aspect of your home is a personal thing and a simple exchange of money and signing of contracts isn't good enough.

We expect the customer to want us to update them every step of the way.

And it pays off. Reputation is everything and we are both protective and extremely proud of ours. We are frequently reassured that we are going about things the right way when we receive testimonials like the one below that we were sent from a family we installed some bifold doors for.

I've highlighted the points the customer makes that I think are relevant to what I've been talking about...

Testimonial:

"We cannot recommend Bristol Bi-fold highly enough.

We were very impressed right from our first visit to the Bristol Bi-fold showroom where Simon looked at our sketchy renovation designs and discussed different bifold options and the installation process over a cup of coffee and box of baby toys!

His friendly and professional manner filled us with confidence that we would arrive at the best products and design for our needs without us feeling under any pressure to buy.

When our building work did eventually begin, the pricing and ordering procedure was very clear and we were very well supported throughout the whole process. We were also impressed and relieved at how quickly emails were answered, and how reliable the survey/installation timescale was, given that our builder was on a tight schedule........

......A year on, the doors still look and perform as new, despite getting a pretty good hammering from our now 3 year old. We would not hesitate to recommend Bristol Bi-fold, as we are very impressed with the design and quality of the product, the seamlessness of installation, and the excellent level of service and support we received from the team.

Thank you.
Sarah, Dan and Chip."

I think this testimonial says more about how important customer communication is than anything I could write.

It's not just the product that needs to be of outstanding quality, to secure a good reputation within the consumer base, and the industry, the customer service needs to be equally outstanding.

To wrap up, I suppose the overall messages of this post are basically: English weather is dismal but we don't really mind, I agree with DGB and... TALK to your customers!

Time to apologise to the blogosphere. Having been out of the office (shock horror) for over a week, I have somewhat neglected this little corner of the bifold blogging world. Time to remedy that!

Chip and the Bifoldsblog

This week's post covers a mixture (but an organised mixture) of topics – focusing on a thread I found interesting over on DGB's blog, a little company update and a peek at a particularly pleasant customer testimonial – and my opinions (of course) on the above.

Don't Adapt To Suit Your Home: Adapt Your Home To Suit You!

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Bifolds and more...

I should note, this blog post isn't just focusing on the easifold aluminium bifold doors this customer (a gentlemen in Gloucestershire) has had installed by us – there are a million improvements that have been made to the property that just look outstanding.

I'll start with the lit, glass covered well entrance in the kitchen that reminds you of the property's age whilst standing in their luxuriously updated kitchen.

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The whole room has been modernised from traditional farmhouse kitchen – to something sleek, modern yet still entirely fitting of the property.

They have been able to retain the outdoor aesthetic of the house by extending using an almost exact match of red-brick, and by matching the colour of their bifold doors to the existing traditionally white windows.

Before and after...

The main difference in the property is the change from a traditional long, narrow farmhouse kitchen, to a spacious L-shaped extension adding extra space to the kitchen and dining areas. You can see in the 'Before and after' pictures below, just how much of an impact this has made.

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I think the main point I'm trying to make with this post (and the point that I'm being distracted from by all the photos..) is just how much of a change you are able to make in your own home – instead of moving house.

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This property – post renovation – looks entirely different, not only in style but in structure. There is an alternative! You may not get a new location, but there is so much you ARE able to change about your property with less of a financial strain, and without having to leave your home.

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If you're interested in doing something similar, or you've recently been inspired to make more out of your property, have a browse through the different options on our website...or to get a real feel for bifold doors, download our buyers guide below. Happy renovating!

I couldn't help but share a sneak peak of these photos on twitter before writing this blog post, as the property featured is so stunning. But that wasn't my reason for blogging about it. Instead of moving into a new-built modern home, this customer has used their current property as a base and adapted and modernised the farmhouse to suit him. 

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Although it is a truly magnificent renovation, the main wow factor of this particular project is the level of transformation that this property has undergone.

How To Heat Your Home Without Central Heating

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The couple in this episode were creating an eco-friendly (aren't they all?) 'Green' house made mainly out of natural materials, but the focus of this blog will be glazing. The glass this couple used for their sustainable new build was a thermally efficient, heat radiating glass.

Each glass pane also acts as a radiator..

This excludes any draft, and increases the energy efficiency of the build and removes any need for free standing radiators.

This new level of thermal efficiency is what I found intriguing. We provide a range of 'Celsius' glass, which effectively keeps your warm air indoors, and the cold air out – and also adapts to do the opposite in hot weather.

However the glazing used on Grand Designs wasn't only to maintain and optimise the temperature of a property regardless of the weather.

It was being used in some cases as a replacement of traditional central heating and was stated as being even more efficient than under-floor heating.

Personally, I think this is a great example of how the glazing industry – once thought of as fairly traditional and quite closed to modern technology and maybe even environmentally friendly products – is changing with the times not just in it's sales technique (as discussed here...) but in the product it's selling.

Luxury item?

Having said that, I can't imagine many customers who would find this glazing option necessary or even have the financial means to justify it. It is a luxury item, something which the industry is slowly moving towards.

I guess it could also be argued that bifold doors are also somewhat of a luxury item – albeit a much less financially demanding and much more practical solution to modernising your home.

This week's blog post (along with a vast majority of home improvement blogs I assume!) was inspired by none other than the popular property development TV program – Grand Designs.

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Reason being, I was drawn to some of the innovative products they were using for the build – and being a bifold door blogger (and interested in all things revolutionising the home improvement industry) I thought this was relevant to Bristol Bifold, and probably to a few of my readers as well.

Take A Break - Meet The Bristol Bifold Kitten

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Bifold Kitten...

Having Thomas around the office, and the showroom so much has also brought to my attention how bifold doors do effect pets – it might sound silly and obviously this isn't a very common reason for purchasing them, but there are undoubtedly some benefits for cats (and probably all pets alike..)!

Thomas is definitely enjoying the benefits of staying warm and dry whilst having full, uninterrupted view of the 'exciting' torrential downpour outside!

And he's pretty taken with keeping an eye on the showroom when it's empty, and making sure all doors are in working order.

I'll keep this post short and sweet, as I think the video below says it all. He has captured the hearts of most of our staff here, so if you're having a tiring day – have a break and let him entertain you for a minute!

 

I thought I'd take a break from "serious" blogging this week, to introduce you to our frequent office visitor – Thomas, Bristol Bifold's very own resident kitten. You will find him either sleeping in Claire's lap, batting rolled up post it notes across my desk, or patrolling the showroom.

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He is about 6 weeks old (at a guess) and was found on a farm near our offices. He did have a brother or two , but sadly he is the only surviving kitten of his litter, probably why everyone spoils him so much! He's definitely made a difference here....

Sales: An Honest Opinion

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To start with, I'll need to introduce Mike...

It's Mike that is most likely to be the person that you would have first contact with in attaining a quote, or simply talking over your project. Initially he will take you through the very first steps of your door purchase: prices, components, configurations, styles and lead times.

He'll also offer any guidance that you may need when making these decisions – in terms of previous customer choices and selecting the best type of doors for your situation – be it a south facing sun-trap that would benefit from performance glass or a sea-front facing property that needs more weather proofing than standard.

After quotation (or several if necessary) Mike will then arrange your site survey with our surveyor and finalise the details of your order, which he will then pass on to me (Chloe...) to order and schedule the installation or delivery.

I'd like to point out...

...something that may differ slightly from how other companies operate – is that Mike is not just selling our product, but he is a point of information for our clients. He is also available to talk to about other areas of the project, to recommend local builders or to discuss different options – and he will always try and accommodate the needs and price range of the customer, often going out of his way to give a price that fits in with their budget.

There is a lot of debate (in the blogosphere) regarding the 'hard-sell' – having personally never witnessed a 'hard-sell' I'm not completely familiar with how it works. But I imagine that it's something along the lines of a 'One day only, £1000 drop in price' etc.

For one, I think its pretty patronising to the customer, and two doesn't it completely degrade the quality of the product, if you're willing to sell it at such a loss?

Of course, everyone tries to keep the price as low as possible for the sake of the sale, but at the same time dropping the price so (in my opinion) ludicrously low you are more likely to put off a prospective customer than entice them to buy as you are so clearly employing fast-sale and frankly unprofessional tactics.

By dropping your price so far or using these methods you are essentially telling the customer that you don't think your doors are worth paying full price for, which I think is ridiculous.

We want to sell our product because the product is good!

And we believe the price reflects that. We also think our price reflects our service and the benefits from buying with our company (which I've talked about here, and will go on to talk about even more! ). Meaning that it doesn't matter if a customer takes 3 days or 3 months to come to a decision and sign up the order.

So I guess I completely agree with DGB on this issue, that 'hard-sales' are a thing of the past, and that the industry (along with the rest of the world) has modernised and updated it's sales techniques.

Instead of pressuring a customer to buy just for the sake of making a sale, the emphasis in this economic climate needs to be on the customer being completely happy with what they're buying – so that they are getting precisely what they want, the best value for money and the best service possible.

Yes, this does mean that it's impossible to sell unbelievably cheaply, but - to coin a phrase – you get what you pay for, and I think in this industry it really does ring true.

As a blogger for the bifold door/double glazing/window industry, I do try and read as many other blogs concerning the same issues. Not just for ideas! But so that I can voice my own (and Bristol Bifold's) opinions on current and important issues in the industry and create a dialogue between the blogs.

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For example, for this blog post I've decided to tackle the tricky topic of sales -recently discussed by fellow blogger DGB (Double Glazing Blogger). I say tricky, I simply mean that there are a lot of differing opinions on the subject. As I have found, after seeing comments on DGB's blog from those in the industry and also after having not lived under a rock my whole life; its common knowledge that sales in this industry is a complex matter. So I thought I'd take the opportunity to explain how we sell, as a company and what our values are when it comes to selling.

July Bifold Q&A Session

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What are seals, gaskets and D-handles?

To start with, let me direct you over to our glossary pages in the website help centre, as I'm sure if I start discussing seals, gaskets and D-handles it might leave some of you a little confused. Head over to the glossary for a detailed description of what each bifold component is, and how they affect the doors. 

 What is a RAL colour?

Next– I'll move on to what may sound like a less exciting topic – RAL colours. Think again, the colour of your doors is an important decision, a decision that impacts the colour of the door furniture such as handles and hinges and also the colour of the surrounding seals. With all of Origin easifold doors, you are able to choose any RAL colour for your doors –and then co-ordinate this with the furniture. In fact, it's such an exciting topic that the App Store has created RAL iColours! This is an app that allows you to re-colour any of your photos with your desired RAL colours, making it even easier to see how a certain colour door would fit in with your colour-scheme.

What are the possible configurations for my doors?

This is a common question asked by our prospective customers. It's a very important part of the decision making process – most door systems will have a lead door, you will then need to choose the directions of the rest of the door panels. This can make a huge impact on the effect of the doors in your living space, in fact simply choosing whether the doors open inwards or outwards can make a big difference to the look of your property. The lead door will be the door with the lever handle on, and the door that with most configurations, you'll be able to open separately – without disturbing the rest of the panels.

There are lots of different options for configuration – and only a few that aren't possible, meaning that you can pretty much have any formation you like! But to save me a lot of time and effort trying to explain each configuration (it would probably take at least 3 blog posts...) we have come up with a 3D configuration generator. It's amazing. You can even have a play with different colours, drag your mouse across the doors to open and close them and spin them around (if you feel like it). On a serious note, it is well worth tapping in your specifications to this 3D design tool, it really helps our customers get a feel for the many different things you can achieve with the doors.

What happens once I've placed an order? 

This is where things get slightly more exciting! After you have had a site survey, signed an order form (which will be filled out with you, usually with our surveyor at point of survey) and paid your deposit, your doors will be ordered. We will then contact you as soon as we have a delivery date to us for the doors, depending on the specifications of the doors this can be as soon as a week since the survey. Once we have a delivery date we will then arrange an installation or a delivery date that is convenient for you. In the mean time, you will be sent a full schedule of works via email, you can also ring the office at any time if you require more info or simply want to chat to someone about your project. 

More questions....

Of course there are still a millions questions left to answer, but I aim to do 'Q&A' post once a month, so please tweet me @BristolBifold so that I can answer you personally! Alternatively, give me a call at the office on 0117 992 3101. Or why not download our bifold buyers guide below if you want to learn in your own time. 

Now that I've pretty much covered all that is Bristol Bifold in my last post, I thought I'd move on to answering the more specific questions about bifold doors themselves, and all of the decisions that need to be made before they are bought...and believe me...there are a lot of variables! 

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What I'm saying is that, most things on our bifold doors are customisable if you want them to be – from the overall colour, to matching handles, seals, trickle vents and more. If you wanted to, you could match your entire door – from handle to rubber gasket.

10 Things You Didn't Know About Bristol Bifold

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DGCOS explained...

Next thing you may not know about Bristol Bifold is that we are a member of the Double Glazing & Conservatory Quality Assurance Ombudsman Scheme (yes it's a bit of a mouthful...). DGCOS is solely there for the protection of the consumer – essentially an independently backed guarantee for your doors and windows. There are a lot of unclear and confusing associations and logos in the home improvement sector – but very few offer the peace of mind that comes with DGCOS.

DGCOS membership is not given out to just any installer!

There are strict regulations to comply with, and all installers are screened before they are given the accreditation. Basically meaning that if you choose an installer that has been accredited by DGCOS, you can be sure that they are respectable and not just recommended by customers but by an integral part of the industry itself.

Now for a few technical facts, we like to make ourselves stand out. We don't just want to offer the customer the standard service that a million other installers also offer. I think personally, this is another thing you as a potential customer should be looking for in an installer. I think offering 'free extras' as a special deal seems a little disappointing, when really, I would want to be offered that 'free extra' as standard. This is exactly how we operate. We provide a free anti-snap, anti-bump lock cylinder (that you can read more about here)  as standard, and we are continually improving our service and looking for new ways to upgrade our doors - giving the customer as much as we possibly can – as standard.

Last things to mention...

We're local. We know Bristol, we know the areas around Bristol – in fact, we travel to install up to 50 miles outside of Bristol. We also offer free online guides for all things Bifold related – actually you can download the buyers guide under this post. And finally, all importantly – we want to give your home the wow factor, we want to get as excited about your home improvement as you are! So if you are in the process of choosing an installer – or even if I haven't answered all your questions with this post – either drop me an email (it's This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or ring the office on 0117 992 3101– we'll all be happy to talk to you. If you want to find out more about DGCOS you can call us of course, or you can visit http://www.dgcos.org.uk/

Okay – so this post is a tiny bit self-indulgent, but honestly how many potential customers are there that have questions when using a company for the first time? If I were a customer, I would want to be completely aware of everything an installer had to offer so...I want you (the blogosphere) to know everything about Bristol Bifold!

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There are several obvious points to be made initially – like the fact that we are bifold door specialists (hence the name!) meaning that bifold doors are what we do and we take pride in being bifold geeks. We know all there is to know. Secondly, we have a showroom. Simple, but effective. It's almost essential to see what you are buying and have a play with the doors before they are a part of your home.

Supplying and Installing Bi-fold Doors & Sliding Doors to the South West & Wales

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Name & Registered Office: Bristol Bifold and Sliding Doors, here on in known as Bristol Bifold - which are both trading names of Crystal Clear Bristol Ltd, 24 Emery Road, Brislington, Bristol, BS4 5PF (Company number 03874720) :: Tel: 0117 992 3101 :: Web design by ProfitReach - About this website